5 Days Out: Good Morning Iowa

Good morning from Cedar Rapids. We are 5 days out from the Iowa caucuses. We here at Good Morning Iowa are always open to news tips, suggestions, and praise…critiques too. Thanks to the other morning notes that this takes much of its inspiration from. We love all the suggestions and tips we have received since we started…and all our new readers! 

Again all six of the candidates competing in Iowa are here in the state today. Michele Bachmann will start her day this morning with an avail in Des Moines to discuss how State Sen. Kent Sorensen, her Iowa co-chair defected to the Ron Paul camp just hours after being at campaign events with her. She says he got a payday, but he denies it. Much more below. GMI will be watching the tweets from the avail very closely! After the press conference she holds two more campaign stops in Des Moines before an afternoon event in Marshalltown and her final event of the day is in Nevada at the Snack Time Family Restaurant, which will mark her 99th county in the state. The Sorensen news will follow her all day though and undoubtedly drown out the feat that is 99 counties in 11 days. Mitt Romney had a much better day yesterday solidifying his frontrunner status coming in first in the new CNN/Time poll. He has an early morning event in Cedar Falls before stopping in Mason City this afternoon. He has a rally later this afternoon in Ames. Rick Santorum also had a very good day yesterday scoring his biggest numbers in the CNN/Time survey and coming in third behind Romney and Paul. We have his reaction to the news below. He holds a town hall this morning in Coralville before visiting the Wilton Candy Shop ( GMI is very excited about this). This afternoon he holds a town hall in Muscatine before an evening rally in Davenport. Last night's was two hours, could tonight's be three? Stay tuned. Newt Gingrich has three stops in Sioux City this morning and then travels to Storm Lake. He has a tele-town hall before stopping in Denison and this evening holds an event in Caroll at the Santa Maria Vineyard and Winery. Rick Perry stops in Washington and Cedar Rapids today  before holding a town hall in Marshalltown later today. Ron Paul had a  big crowd last night for Sorensen's ship jumping. Today he holds town halls in Perry, Atlantic, and Council Bluffs.

Weather: It's 35 degrees here now in Cedar Rapids. It will warm up to the high 40s later today. There will be rain tonight here, but overall…quite nice! And it should stay that way through Tuesday.

Make sure to read The Note from Michael Falcone  (@michaelpfalcone) and Amy Walter  (@amyewalter):   Mitt, Meet Expectations In Iowa  http://abcn.ws/sRtuGo

This is the front page Des Moines residents are wake up to today: http://bit.ly/vHntaZ

What's In The Register?

The Bachmann vs. Paul showdown: Jason Noble (@jasonnoble1) and Mary Stegmeir (@MaryStegmeir) have the defection news: The defection of Kent Sorenson, an Iowa state senator, came just six days before Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses, and caught the Bachmann campaign by surprise. Sorenson had chaired Bachmann's caucus efforts here for months, and even attended a Bachmann event in Indianola on Wednesday afternoon just hours before appearing at a Paul rally in Des Moines to announce his endorsement. "I believe we're at a turning point in this campaign," Sorenson said in his announcement at the Paul rally "… I thought it was my duty to come to his aid, just like he came to my aid during my Senate race, which was a very nasty race." Sorenson, an Indianola Republican, was elected to the state Senate in 2010 with support from Paul and his legion of Iowa backers. His announcement was greeted with sustained applause from a crowd of roughly 500…Sorenson told the Register he had been thinking about supporting Paul for a couple of days, but that he didn't make the decision to switch campaigns until Wednesday evening. Sorenson said he drove to Paul's 7 p.m. event, called a Paul staffer and asked: "Do you guys want me on board?"Sorenson declined to talk about the Bachmann campaign, instead saying he was basing his decision on the strength of Paul's efforts in Iowa. "The fact of the matter is that I believe we have a clear, top-tier race between Romney and Ron Paul," Sorenson said…"We have a choice where we can elect more of the same … or we can elect someone who's going to transform this country to get it back to what our founding fathers wanted, and I believe that's Ron Paul," he said. Sorenson gave little hint of his looming exit during an appearance with Bachmann at an event Wednesday in Indianola. He walked with her as she met voters at the Pizza Ranch there. Upon learning of Sorenson's announcement hours later, Bachmann struck back with a sharply worded statement accusing him of selling his endorsement to a higher bidder. "Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign," Bachmann said in a hastily arranged news conference outside a Pizza Ranch in Boone, where she held her 11th campaign event of the day. "Kent campaigned with us earlier this afternoon and went immediately afterward to a Ron Paul event and announced he is changing teams," Bachmann continued. "Kent said to me yesterday that 'Everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn't I?' then he told me he would stay with our campaign."  http://dmreg.co/sZW7og

TheIowaRepublican's Craig Robinson (@IowaGOPer) has more of the back story on Sorensen and Bachmann http://bit.ly/vSPlq4

Timmy Talks:  Albrecht's   (@TimAlbrechtIA)  insight and wisdom for the day:
Yesterday, we examined the evangelical vote and how some candidates are focusing heavily on social issues in a year when government spending and the economy trump all else. Additionally, candidates are hoping to find some of that "Huckabee magic" from four years ago. But it isn't that simple. Too often, Mike Huckabee is defined by his supporters rather than Mike Huckabee the candidate. If you look at his supporters, they comprised heavily of evangelicals who rallied around him, catapulting him to national significance. However, Iowans saw it differently. In Huckabee they saw a governor who was affable, likable, telegenic and didn't have that hard edge that too often defines today's politics. 3 years later, Huckabee was at or near the top of every national poll, because Iowans saw first what the rest of the country came to learn later. The bottom line is, Mike Huckabee caught lightening in a bottle because of who he was as a candidate, not who his supporters were. Successful Iowa caucus campaigns would be wise to define themselves first, rather than defining the supporters they want.
  Paul: Register Columnist Kathie Obradovich (@KObradovich) talks to Ron Paul about winning next week and the newsletters: He said Wednesday that he can win the Iowa caucuses."I think obviously so," he said. "I don't make any bold predictions, but obviously, we can. I think people certainly are anticipating that possibility. They're getting a little bit nervous and annoyed, so I guess that's what they're worried about."…Paul has also seen continued media reports based on newsletters published in the late 1980s and early '90s under his name. Paul has said he didn't write the materials and has disavowed inflammatory racial and anti-Semitic statements that the newsletters contained. He said he's bothered by allegations of racism. "I don't think there's an ounce of truth in it," he said. "I think there have been mistakes made in the past, but I don't think there's an ounce of truth into these charges." He said those who are digging through his record are "frustrated, because they couldn't find one flip-flop in the 30 years. They had to find something else, so they found about 10 sentences that I didn't write."  http://dmreg.co/rZN9iG

More Paul: ABC's Jason Volack (@JasonVolack) reports from the Veterans' rally last night: Ron Paul told a room full of veterans Wednesday night that he plans to drastically cut overseas spending. "It would mean that we would bring the troops home," Paul slowly said, smiling as he touted the economic benefit during a salute to veterans rally in Des Moines, Iowa. Earlier in the day, Paul again questioned why the United States needed to maintain a military presence in Australia, Germany, Japan and South Korea - even as the death of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il raised concerns about the region's stability. "How long do we have to stay in Korea?" he asked at a campaign event at the Iowa Speedway in Newton. "We were there since I was in high school."  http://abcn.ws/utG6wH

Romney: Romney solidified his frontrunner status yesterday coming in first with 25 percent in the CNN/Time poll. Tony Leys (@tonyleys) on Romney's crowds: Mitt Romney's staff scrambled here Wednesday to cobble together a solution to an unexpected, welcome problem.Romney, who had campaigned only sporadically in Iowa for much of the year, is drawing strong crowds and rising poll numbers as the Iowa caucuses approach. At midday Wednesday, his aides realized they'd seriously underestimated how many folks would come out to see him at Homer's Deli and Sweetheart Bakery, which holds fewer than 200. About double that many had shown up, and though campaigns always try to play to full halls, they never want to turn away voters seeking to hear their candidate. So the Romney campaign rushed to set up another rally across the street at Rastrelli's restaurant. The candidate appeared first at the overflow spot, where Romney and his wife, Ann, thanked voters for being flexible. "I feel like we have to speed talk," she told the crowd. "We've got double duty to do in this town." After warming up that audience, Ann Romney handed the microphone to her husband. Then she walked across Main Avenue to Homer's Deli and Bakery, where another audience was waiting. Romney: 'I want to get America working again'  http://dmreg.co/tLQH6Q

More Romney: ABC's Jake Tapper  (@jaketapper) reports on Romney's momentum here just five days out:  http://abcn.ws/u3c0if

Even More Romney: The candidate reacts to his lead in the poll to ABC's Emily Friedman  (@EmilyABC): There's so many polls," said Romney, as he shook hands with a line of voters that snaked around the perimeter of the plastic manufacturer where he held a town hall this evening. "I look at all the polls." Asked specifically about  his lead in today's CNN poll, which has him five points ahead of Ron Paul, Romney spoke to the frequent fluctuations inherent in polls. "Some have me down by five, some have me up, who knows?" he said, shrugging. "We're moving upward, though," he said. "That's a good sign."  http://abcn.ws/uBxp8S

And Even More: TheIowaRepublican's Kevin Hall looks at Romney's chances (and they look very good) in Eastern Iowa:  http://bit.ly/v88ww8

Santorum-mentum: The former Pennsylvania senator got a big boost out of the CNN/Time survey rising to third place with 16 percent support. GMI was at his event in Cedar Rapids last night and he reacted to the big change in the polls and went after Ron Paul: "Ron Paul says he's going to eliminate five departments. Ron Paul passed one bill in 20 years. What give you the idea that he can eliminate anything? I mean, he has absolutely no track record of building any kind of coalition to get anything done anywhere," Santorum said. "I understand the appeal that Ron Paul has: it's simple, it's short - but there's no track record there."Santorum also went after Paul on his foreign policy stances, calling him "far to the left of President Obama." "I mean he's out in the Dennis Kucinich wing of the Democratic Party. Don't laugh!" Santorum said to the crowd as they began to chuckle, and they immediately got quiet. "That's where he is. He may be left of Dennis Kucinich, okay? So that's where he is. This country is not going to elect Dennis Kucinich to be President of the United States. I don't care how much government he wants to cut. "What people in Iowa like about Ron Paul is all of his economic talk which requires Congress to act of which he has showed no ability to get them to do," Santorum added. "What they don't like about Ron Paul is this craziness about cutting the military in half and getting our troops out of everywhere. He can do that. He can actually order that on day one - all our troops around the world to come home." He said the "danger" of Paul's international policies "should just chill every Iowan." "People say, 'Well he won't really do that.' Well he'll be 78 years old. How many 78-years-olds say - after saying this for 30 years - are going to change their mind?" …After the event, Santorum told reporters that despite the clear boost in support the CNN/Time poll showed "we have a lot of work to do" and pledged to keep "working hard." "We're not first, and those polls have been all over the map and it shows we've made progress - it shows the people of Iowa are getting down to making the tough decisions to who they are going to support in their final analysis," Santorum said. "And I feel very, very good that all of the work that we paid here, the strong message we put forward, the background and record we have, people are searching and looking at right now and trying to determine who can we really trust."

GMI Flashback: Six weeks ago, while riding in a campaign aide's car from stop to stop on a marathon day Santorum predicted his boomlet would be the last one:  Deep in the middle of a  Newt Gingrich boomlet , Santorum is convinced he's up next, and he will benefit from this traditional grassroots campaigning the others aren't doing. Having the last burst of attention right before the caucuses could give him the momentum he needs to win Iowa - so, why is his boomlet next? "Some would say because I'm the only one left to get a boomlet," Santorum says while laughing. "I would say because if you look at the attention that's been paid to the other candidates, and the knowledge that people have of other candidates, I think we are probably the least known candidate in the race here in Iowa and so as people are looking around … my strong sense is that people are going to start examining the only candidate they don't know much about, and I think when they do, obviously I feel confident that we will do well." Read and watch here:  http://abcn.ws/vdReCw

More Santorum: Despite letting loose on Paul last night, earlier in the day he said he would vote for him if it was Paul vs Obama and don' t miss this quote on his 99 county tour vs. Bachmann's: "But we did a courtship, we didn't speed date," he said, referring to his own campaign. "I mean, we went out and talked to folks and had coffee with them and talked to them and answered their questions.   http://abcn.ws/tpt9tc

More Bachmann: Noble also reports she discussed the controversial Bob Vander Plaats endorsement: Bob Vander Plaats and the suggestion that he linked fundraising to his Iowa caucus endorsement also came up at Michele Bachmann's  press conference earlier this morning. Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, said Vander Plaats did not ask her for money during a conversation concerning his endorsement. But she described - in Biblical terms - the incident as an example of what's wrong with politics. "I would not take money nor would I pay money for an endorsement," Bachmann said during the press conference in Creston. "I am going to the White House because I want to overturn the money-changing tables that are set up in Washington D.C. I can't be bought because I'm not for sale and I wouldn't sell out for 30 pieces of silver. I can guarantee you that." Jesus chased money changers from the temple in Matthew 21:12, while 30 pieces of silver was Judas' price for betraying Jesus, according to the Gospel of John. Vander Plaats is CEO of the Family Leader, a Christian issues-advocacy group based in Pleasant Hill. GOP candidate Rick Santorum has said Vander Plaats raised the issue of fundraising while discussing his potential endorsement.  http://dmreg.co/rUjtFg

Even More Bachmann:ABC's Russell Goldman (@RussellGoldman) reports on Bachmann's focus on Paul (and Perry) even before she knew about the defection: "Ron Paul would be a dangerous president. He would have us ignore all of the warning signs of another brutal dictator who wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. I won't. He would wait until one of our cities is wiped off of the map until he reacted. I won't wait," she told reporters…In turn, Bachmann went on the attack, assailing Perry for being a "crony capitalist," who simultaneously collects a Texas state pension as well as his governor's salary. "Just because he's held office outside of Washington, D.C., does not mean he is not a political insider. It's what you do in your office that matters," she said outside the same coffeehouse Perry visited the day before. "There aren't very many politicians who have spent more time paying off political donors than Gov. Rick Perry has."

Air Wars:

Romney: The Register's Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) has the info on Romney's new and final television ad being released here today:  His new 60-second TV spot, called "Freedom And Opportunity," is built on sound bites from his announcement speech on June 2 in New Hampshire, and is intended to convey his desire to defend economic freedom and opportunity. "It's the Iowa closer," said Gail Gitcho, the campaign's communications director, "and Governor Romney has the same message at the end of the campaign as he did in the beginning." Images flash by on the screen - cornfields and cattle, an iPhone with a map of Des Moines, manufacturing equipment, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, military graves, Romney meeting with voters. "I believe in that America," Romney says in the ad. "We stand for freedom and opportunity and hope. The principles that made this nation a great and powerful leader of the world have not lost their meaning - they never will."  http://dmreg.co/uIyxcx

Perry: ABC's Arlette Saenz (@ArletteSaenz) reports on Perry's new ad here out this morning: Five days before the caucuses, Rick Perry is looking to drive home the point that he's the "outsider" in the race releasing a new television ad, titled "Fox," specifically slamming candidates who served in Congress for a second time on Iowa airwaves. "The fox guarding the henhouse is like asking a congressman to fix Washington: bad idea," a voice reads in the ads as pictures of Bachmann, Paul, Santorum, and Gingrich and graphics pop up on the screen. "Their years in Congress left us with debt, bailouts. Congressmen get paid $174,000 a year. We get the bill. We need a solution." This is the second advertisement released by Perry which hits his opponents for serving in Congress.   http://abcn.ws/uiKxSb

Paul: TheIowaRepublican's Craig Robinson (@IowaGOPer) has a new ad out from the National Organization of Marriage blasting Ron Paul:  http://bit.ly/uEs2Fn

Santorum: TheIowaRepublican also has the new television ad out from Santorum's SuperPac, the Red White and Blue Fund: The Red White and Blue Fund, a FEC registered Super PAC, has announced a new television ad that will begin airing statewide in Iowa later today.  RWB Fund also is adding an additional $225,000 to air this new ad statewide the final week of the campaign.  http://bit.ly/s0yScp

More Santorum: The former Pennsylvania senator tells the Register's William Petroski (@WilliamPetroski) that a merger between his campaign and Bachmann's is not happening and Bachmann tells Jason Noble (@jasonnoble1)the same: Santorum flatly rejected a plea on Wednesday from several evangelical Christian pastors to merge his Republican presidential campaign with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's in an effort to widen the influence of social conservatives in next week's Iowa caucuses. Asked about the merger idea after he gave a noon-hour talk in downtown Dubuque, Santorum chuckled and said, "No." "I trust the people of Iowa to make the decision. I think we need to run this campaign out and let the people of Iowa decide who is the best candidate," said Santorum, who has seen an upward surge in Iowa poll numbers that's made him optimistic about a strong finish…Bachmann, who was interviewed on her campaign bus while it rolled down Interstate Highway 35 in southern Iowa, said the pastors who have endorsed her candidacy want to see her as the next president. "If anyone wants to merge and fold into my campaign, we're more than delighted to have them come in. But after all, there's been one statewide election in this race so far - it's been the Iowa straw poll. I'm the only one that's won of all the candidates," Bachmann said. The merger idea was pitched in a statement issued Wednesday by three prominent clergymen. They are Pastor Cary Gordon of Sioux City's Cornerstone Church; the Rev. Brad Cranston, pastor of Burlington's Heritage Baptist Church and head of Iowa Baptists for Biblical Values; and the Rev. Albert Calaway of Indianola, a retired Assemblies of God minister who is president of Truth, Values and Leadership, an organization that serves about 200 Iowa churches and pastors.  http://dmreg.co/uud9KV

Perry: Jason Clayworth (@jasonclayworth) is on the front page of The Register with a look behind the Perry curtain and how politicking here and in Texas are very different. Worth the whole read:  http://dmreg.co/sliyf1

More Perry: ABC's Saenz also reports Perry refined his stance on abortion yesterday, clarifying to reporters outside an event in Indianola that he would support abortion if the mother's life was in danger.  The previous night, Perry revealed he now opposes abortion in cases of rape and incest after watching the DVD "The Gift of Life" and personally speaking with one of the women featured in the film who was conceived as a result of a rape.  http://abcn.ws/srvHVl and Perry spent the day Wednesday selling his conservative message to voters and tried to capitalize off President Obama's unwillingness to hold a homecoming parade for the troops returning from Iraq this month by slamming him for it at each event.   http://abcn.ws/uIFAmA

Occupy: On the front page is also yesterday's arrests and more plans for the week. Jesse Jackson is scheduled to visit the Occupy HQ this evening:  Protests that sought to highlight the role of corporate cash in politics resulted in the arrests of 10 people Wednesday outside Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign offices and a Wells Fargo branch office. Organizers said the "Occupy Iowa Caucus" demonstrations will be followed by protests, and perhaps more arrests, at President Barack Obama's campaign office today, and other Republican candidates' offices Friday. Demonstrators, aware of the national spotlight on Iowa leading up to Tuesday's caucuses, focused on a simple message - corporate money in politics - they hoped would resonate in households nationally and create fresh momentum for the Occupy Wall Street movement. To draw a direct line between Romney and Wells Fargo, about 75 chanting demonstrators Wednesday from at least six states asked both Romney and the bank to make their tax returns public. They also asked Romney, a multimillionaire former businessman, to return $61,500 from political action committees and individuals with ties to Wells Fargo, according to figures compiled by OpenSecrets .org.  http://dmreg.co/v1OP7w

Gingrich: He plummeted from 33 to 14 in yesterday's CNN/Time poll and he also criticized the Strong America Now SuperPAC supporting him from sending negative mailers. Clayworth has the story:  A political action committee that sent fliers this week condemning Mitt Romney is wrong for doing so, Newt Gingrich said Wednesday after speaking to more than 250 people at Southbridge Mall. The flier comes from Strong America Now, a so-called "super PAC" that supports Newt Gingrich. It called Romney the second most dangerous man in America, behind President Barack Obama. Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts of money but aren't allowed to coordinate efforts with the candidates and their campaigns. Gingrich earlier this month in Ottumwa called for Romney to denounce such super PACs, despite Gingrich's own indirect ties with such groups. Gingrich's former longtime aide Rick Tyler this month joined the super PAC "Winning Our Future," which is set up to help Gingrich's presidential campaign. Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn on Wednesday disassociated himself from Strong America Now, noting that when he became its paid co-chair he didn't believe it would endorse a specific candidate in the primaries. Gingrich was asked during a news conference Wednesday about the group's attacks. "I would discourage them not to do that anymore," Gingrich said. "I think that's not right. Again, I don't control them, but I would discourage them from sending out that kind of negative information. That's wrong."  http://dmreg.co/sIpopQ

More Gingrich: ABCs' Elicia Dover (@EliciaDover) reports on the cash the campaign has hauled in: Newt Gingrich's campaign said it has raised somewhere around $9 million in the fourth quarter, but is holding off on paying earlier bills from the campaign to fund its homestretch drive in the Iowa caucuses. "The campaign for the fourth quarter has raised a similar amount of money to what John McCain raised in 2007 at the same point. It's about $9 million," campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said. On Wednesday morning ABC News reported the Gingrich campaign would be filing debt that was acquired from early in the campaign with the Federal Election Commission. When ABC News asked Hammond why the debt was still in existence, he said, "Because we're trying to win Iowa." The debt reported by the campaign last quarter was $1 million. The Gingrich camp said Wednesday it has paid back some debt to "mom and pop shops." Hammond did not know how much cash on hand they would have. The Gingrich team said they are using funds for campaigning, such as purchasing ad buys in Iowa  http://abcn.ws/sLfjqg

Even More Gingrich: And don't miss the chocolate challenge he gave Romney:  http://abcn.ws/rupUBE

The Media Descends on the Hawkeye State: Read this from The Register's David Elbert about how many reporters are expected in the state and how much money and attention it brings fabulous Iowa:   http://dmreg.co/vVmCpD

Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson (@okayhenderson) reports on the state of the race and where the candidates stand to date:  http://bit.ly/tiOb48

Gingrich: Henderson also reports on a caller to yesterday's teletownhall who accused him of polygamy:  Earlier in the evening, during a telephone town hall meeting organized by Newt Gingrich's campaign, a caller brought up Gingrich's two divorces and current marriage to Callista. "Jesus very specifically states in the Bible that divorced people are really still married, which I think technically means now that you're a polygamist and I'm wondering what you'll do to legalize polygamy in U.S. if you were to be elected president," the man said to Gingrich. Gingrich called it a "fairly unusual question" and then offered the following response: "Having a gone through annulment under the procedures of the Catholic Church, I don't meet the standards you just described, but I appreciate the question. It's certainly an unusual one and I can assure you that I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and that I would oppose any effort to legalize polygamy. But that's certainly a creative question on your part and I look forward to the next question."   http://bit.ly/tPaTQ3

ABC's Matt Negrin (@mattnegrin) reports on the fast approaching filing deadlines and what it really means in the age of the SuperPAC: "Aside from the Iowa caucus on Jan. 3, another date looms that might offer a measure of each presidential candidate's potential strength, and that date is Dec. 31, the deadline for filing fundraising reports for the final quarter of 2011…But those numbers won't tell the whole story about the amount of money spent to influence the outcome, campaign finance experts said, because of the rise of the super PACs that buy negative TV advertisements and aren't bound by the same rules regarding donation limits that candidates must follow. …  'The rise of the super PAC has put less pressure on the Republican candidate to raise money in large parts,' Corrado said. 'While they're always interested in raising money, the kind of demands that used to be the expectation of needing to raise $50 million or $100 million by the time you get to year-end haven't been so intense.' That also means that the seven Republican presidential candidates can slog through several primary battles and not have to worry as much about missing out on money they could scoop up in a general election." http://abcn.ws/tL8UX2

Obama: ABC's Devin Dwyer (@DevinDwyer) reports on the president's plans for caucus night: On Jan. 3, Obama will deliver remarks and take questions live-streamed over the internet exclusively to hundreds of  Democratic caucus sites in the Hawkeye State. Biden will use the same tool on Jan. 10 to host a webcast meant to rally Democrats organizing at house parties across the Granite State during the primary vote. "This is another opportunity for President Obama to reach out and speak directly to voters on the ground," said Derek Eadon, Obama's campaign director in Iowa. "For Republicans this year, the caucus is an electoral contest, but for us the caucus is an opportunity for our supporters to have a conversation about the president's continued vision for a job-creating economy." Only attendees of the events in each state will be able to view and interact with Obama and Biden, a campaign official said. The video teleconferences will utilize a  proprietary software program developed for the Obama campaign by Adobe Systems Inc.  http://abcn.ws/t4JuBi

Dems Speak: From the Iowa Dems: "On Thursday and Friday Democratic National Committee Vice Chair and Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak will be on the ground in Iowa to bracket the Republican candidates campaigning around the state. On Wednesday ahead of his trip, Rybak released a memo on Romney's record to coincide with the launch of Romney's campaign swing around the state. While in Iowa, Rybak will participate in multiple press events - including a press conference in Ames prior to Romney's event on Thursday, and a pen & pad in Des Moines on Friday. He will also meet with Democratic Party activists and do a host of local and national cable interviews."

Poll-tastic: Here are all the CNN/Time numbers that shook up the race yesterday: http://bit.ly/u7hAkI

Paul: The NYT's Richard Oppel reveals the marching orders Ron Paul's given to his army of national volunteers set to descend on Iowa in the coming days before the caucuses.  Paul has ordered the college-aged volunteers to look clean cut - well shaven, no tattoos, business causal gear - and one other directive: Don't tweet! nyti.ms/seHxZo

More Paul: Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics (@RealClearScott) takes a look at the young volunteers spanning from the east to the west coast and one claiming to have flown in from Brazil that are infiltrating Iowa this week to give Paul a final boost before the Tuesday's caucuses by knocking on doors, making calls at phone banks, and basically doing anything they're asked to do. http://bit.ly/tktzdt

AP's Tom Beaumont (@TomBeaumont) also reports on the Sorensen defection and has this: Susan Geddes, a veteran operative in conservative GOP political circles who managed Sorenson's 2008 and 2010 legislative races, said Sorenson had told her several times, as recently as last month, that the Paul campaign had offered him money to leave Bachmann's campaign for the Texas congressman's. Geddes said Sorenson had damaged his political future in Iowa by abandoning Bachmann's campaign less than a week before the caucuses. "He just committed political suicide," she said.  http://bit.ly/vTphIe

The L.A. Times' Seema Mehta (@LATSeema) and Robin Abcarian  (@rabcarian) take note of the increased attacks Republican hopefuls are lobbing at each other in the days before the caucuses with most of the fire being sent towards Ron Paul.   http://lat.ms/siUhKv

Palin? Some supporters of the former Alaska governor just won't give up and are out with a radio ad urging Iowans to write her in:   http://bit.ly/w0FBAd

Who's Tweeting? (thanks to Arlette Saenz)

@ bethreinhard  Ron Paul at Embassy Suites bfast buffet. By himself. "Rt now the only thing that bothers me is people who don't respect my privacy enuf…"

@ hollybdc   Romney adviser Stuart Stevens is standing outside packed event in Cedar Falls. "Claustrophobia issues," he says

@ JenniferJJacobs Asked a Cedar Falls firefighter waiting to  @MittRomney at a Cedar Falls, IA diner for crowd count. With a grin: "Too many. Well over 100."

@ GovernorPerry  Very nice running trail around Oskaloosa, Iowa. Go get em today..whatever it may be!!  yfrog.com/obhyibvj

@ AriFleischer  12 yrs ago, I was in Austin, TX, as Bush camp spokesman, getting ready 2celebrate Millenium. Iowa Caucus wasn't until 1/24.

 The Schedule:


7:05am CT - Cedar Falls, IA: Will meet with voters and discuss jobs/economy at J's Homestyle Cooking (1724 West 31 st Street, Cedar Falls, IA)

12:10pm CT - Mason City, IA: Will meet with voters and discuss jobs/economy at the Music Man Square (308 South Pennsylvania, Avenue, Mason City, IA)

5:30pm CT - Ames, IA: Grassroots rally at Kinzler Construction (2335 230 th Street, Ames, IA)


8:00am CT - Coralville, IA: "Faith, Family and Freedom" town hall at Coralville City Hall Council Chambers (1512 7 th Street, Coralville, IA)

11:00am CT - Wilton, IA: Will visit the Wilton Candy Shop (310 Cedar Street, Wilton, IA)

12:00pm CT - Muscatine, IA: "Faith, Family and Freedom" town hall at Button Factory Restaurant (215 West Mississippi Drive, Muscatine, IA)

7:00pm CT - Davenport, IA: Campaign rally at CASI Center for Active Seniors (1053 West Kimberly Road, Davenport, IA)


8:30am CT - Bus tour stop at Coffee Works (1920 Pierce Street, Sioux City, IA)

9:00am CT - Sioux City, IA: Bus tour stop at Newt 2012 Sioux City Campaign Office (708 Pierce Street. Sioux City. Iowa)

9:45am CT - Sioux City, IA: Bus tour stop at United Center (302 Jones Street, Sioux City, IA)

12:30pm CT - Storm Lake, IA: Bus tour stop at Regatta Grille Town Hall (1520 East Lakeshore Drive, Storm Lake, IA)

4:00pm CT - Tele-town hall

5:00pm CT - Denison, IA: Bus tour stop at The Boulders Inn - Rotary Room (2507 Boulders Drive, Denison, IA)

7:00pm CT - Carroll, IA: Bus tour stop at Santa Maria Vineyard and Winery (218 W 6 th Street, Carroll, IA)


10:00am CT - Washington, IA: Meet and greet at the Coffee Corner (125 West Washington Street, Washington, IA)

12:30pm CT - Cedar Rapids, IA Meet and greet at the Blue Strawberry Coffee Company (118 2 nd Street, Cedar Rapids, IA)

5:30pm CT - Marshalltown, IA: Town hall meeting at the Fisher Community Center auditorium (709 South Center Street, Marshalltown, IA)


10:00am CT - Des Moines, IA: Media avail at WHO Radio (2141 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA)

11:00am CT - Des Moines, IA: Town hall at Principle Financial Group (711 High Street, Des Moines, IA)

1:00pm CT - Des Moines, IA: Iowa Association of Mortgage Brokers Remarks at the Iowa Statehouse - Room 15

3:00pm CT - Marshalltown, IA: Meet and greet at Legends American Grill (2902 South Center Street, Marshalltown, IA)

4:10pm CT - Nevada, IA: FINAL bus tour stop at Snack Time Family Restaurant (1010 6 th Street, Nevada, IA)


12:00pm CT - Perry, IA: Town hall meeting at the Hotel Pattee (1112 Willis Avenue, Perry, IA)

3:00pm CT - Atlantic, IA: Town hall meeting at Cass County Community Center - Cass County Fairgrounds (805 W 10 th Street, Atlantic, IA)

7:00pm CT - Council Bluffs, IA: Town hall meeting at the Mid-America Center (One Arena Way, Council Bluffs, IA)

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