Democrats Establish ‘Iowa War Room’ Ahead of Caucuses

By ABC News

Jan 2, 2012 6:50pm

ABC News’ Josh Haskell reports:

DES MOINES, Iowa – A small team of Democratic operatives has descended on Iowa for caucus week, setting up a “war room” to defend President Obama against the slew of attacks issued by the Republican presidential candidates.

Providing what they call “on-site rapid response,”  staffers from the DNC and Iowa Democratic Party are based in a modest conference room in the Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel. There, they sit  glued to their laptops and five televisions, on the lookout for any mention of the president or his policies.

“A lot of what Republicans are saying is not really nice about the president, so we definitely want to be here,” said Brad Woodhouse, the DNC communications director. “We want to respond and set the record straight.”

Most of their response has been aimed at Mitt Romney. The DNC held a news conference Sunday evening that featured Randy Johnson, a former employee of Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by the former Massachusetts governor. Johnson worked for American Pad & Paper, or AMPAD, when it was bought by Bain in 1992. Eight years later, AMPAD went bankrupt and, according to the Boston Globe, investors made $100 million. But, Randy Johnson and about 200 other employees were laid off a few months after the deal closed.

“It’s probably done very legal, done the right way,” said Johnson. “But it was all about profit over people.”

Johnson took his message Monday morning to Davenport, Iowa, where Romney was holding a campaign event. The DNC said inviting Johnson to Iowa was just one of the ways they can inform voters about who the Republican candidates are.

At a Monday news conference with Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald and Woodhouse, Romney was once again the focus.

“He’s been spending most of his time attacking the president,” said Woodhouse. “He’s acting like the presumptive nominee and we’re going to treat him like that.”

The most recent poll from the Des Moines Register shows Romney as the front-runner in Iowa with a two-point lead over Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

On caucus day, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz will be in Des Moines, Iowa, hosting an event in the “war room.” DNC staffers said she’d most likely be taking aim at Romney.

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