24 Days Out: Good Morning Iowa

Good morning from Des Moines. We are 24 days out from the Iowa caucuses and today is debate day! Sponsored by ABC News, Yahoo, the Iowa Republican Party, the Des Moines Register, and ABC 5 Des Moines we will see you this evening at Drake University. 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 over the past few days. Keep them coming.

Today and tomorrow are special additions of GMI, catch even more Good Morning Iowa in today's Note.

Almost all of the candidates are in the Hawkeye State today and holding events, no doubt while also doing some last minute prep. Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Michele Bachmann, are all attending the Veterans Presidential Candidate Forum in Des Moines. Gingrich is also opening up his new headquarters in Urbandale. Mitt Romney's wife and son, Ann and Josh Romney, along with Tim and Mary Pawlenty are holding a rally at their Des Moines headquarters. Rick Santorum is also holding a town hall in Jefferson and visiting a tree farm in Cumming with his family to select a Christmas tree for their Urbandale Headquarters. Ron Paul has a town hall in Marshalltown.

This is the front page Des Moines residents are wake up to today: http://bit.ly/c1CZ8U

Weather: It's only 5 degrees here right now, but could get up to a sunny, but cold 37 degrees later today. Rick Perry is in for some decidedly non Texas temperatures on that run this morning. GMI has been doing GMI for about a week now and she has lost all hats, gloves and scarves. Need to re-stock.

 What's In The Register?

Jennifer Jacobs has a must-read preview of tonight's debate with a handy what to watch for guide:

During the 8 p.m. event in Des Moines, watch for Gingrich's rivals to try to give Iowans an eye-opening moment by calling him more moderate than they are, campaign strategists told the Register. The overarching theme of the night will likely be "Who is the real Newt Gingrich?"

Jacobs lays out what to watch for. Here are some highlights:

Does Gingrich try to play it safe, does he roll out something big, or does he go on the attack?; Is Paul able to pull off a debate performance where he doesn't insult non-libertarian-leaning Republicans?;  Can Romney gain likability points while drawing necessary distinctions with Newt Gingrich?;  How many times will Bachmann say she's from Iowa?; If Perry doesn't make any major mistakes and stays on message, could he be one who benefits if conservatives leave Gingrich for some reason?; Santorum has a bit of on-the-ground momentum in Iowa with endorsements, so could a shining debate performance give him some mojo heading into the last few weeks?

Read the entire piece here: http://dmreg.co/w3WZiy

Timmy Talks: Here's Albrecht's insight on debate day

I'll be watching how Newt deflects his criticisms in tonight's debate. He's been masterful at using the "we shouldn't train our fire on fellow Republicans and should instead focus on President Obama…" which would yield a huge applause and be on a constant cable TV and talk radio loop over the following 48 hours. Can any candidate land a glove on Gingrich that shakes him off his "shame on you media/opponent" meme?

ABC News and Yahoo! News partnered again to bring you a pre-debate profile on conservative-and controversial-radio talk show host Steve Deace: "I want to make sure that the candidates get a thorough vetting to the point that they don't want to come back to Iowa again…That we gave them an ideological, moral proctology exam," Deace said.

Read the profile here  http://abcn.ws/uQtSSk  and http://yhoo.it/uavjfF and watch the companion web video profile here: http://abcn.ws/uLA6Ui

Dems Respond: R.T. Rybak, the mayor Minneapolis and vice chairman of the DNC, will be here in Des Moines today to give a Democratic response after the debate. http://dmreg.co/tirCO3

Here's part of Rybak's memo:

Tonight, the Republican presidential candidates will meet in Iowa for their next debate.  As we've become so used to seeing now, we can certainly expect to see the candidates fighting to prove to Iowa Caucus voters who can be more extreme while pushing more of the same Tea Party rhetoric we've heard in prior debates - particularly from frontrunners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. This hard-right turn for the Republican field begs the question we've all gotten so used to asking: when viewers tune in tonight, which Mitt Romney can they expect to see on the debate stage? With Mitt Romney still failing to gain traction among Republican primary voters who continue to doubt his conservative credentials and worry about his lack of core values - and Newt Gingrich's stock rising as the GOP's leading "Anybody-but-Romney" candidate - Romney has abandoned his general election playbook in favor of a sharp turn to the right designed to drum up support for his candidacy within the Republican electorate.  Will he keep it up tonight

What Else Is In The Register?

Mitt Romney met with the Des Moines Register's Editorial Board yesterday and suggested he had more experience leading than Newt Gingrich has had: "We'll finish with this, I'll get the nomination:

When asked how he would differentiate himself from Gingrich, Romney said: "Tell me about the person's capacity to lead. Has the person been a leader before, and how do they lead? What kind of job did they do? What did the people around them think about that job? What is the enterprise that they led? How did it do under their leadership?"…"Speaker Gingrich has spent the last 30, 40 years in Washington. Nothing wrong with that. It's just different." "I respect the speaker as a very bright and capable guy, but we're very different people," Romney said. "…Romney suggested that some of Gingrich's ideas are offbeat. He alluded to Gingrich's recent proposal that children in inner-city schools perform janitorial work. "I disagree with the speaker that we should eliminate some parts of the child labor laws so that kids can clean schools," Romney said. "I don't think that's a great idea." Romney added that he'd read that Gingrich suggested putting a permanent colony on the moon and using mirrors in space to light highways on Earth. "I think we've got some other priorities for our spending," he said…."My guess is that over time, Speaker Gingrich will follow a trajectory that will be unique to him but that will come down, and by the time we'll finish with this, I'll get the nomination," he said.

Kathie Obradovich's column today is an interesting look at the GOP and views on immigration: Realistic perspective and politics go together like peanut butter and jalapenos. It's not a bad combination, but good luck getting anyone to try it.Several surveys released this week of likely Iowa Republican caucus goers offer some much-needed perspective about immigration reform, an issue that politics tends to make indigestible. The most focused of these, done by Selzer & Co. for Partnership for a New American Economy, a nonpartisan group, suggests Iowa caucus goers have a far more nuanced view of the immigration issue than politicians imagine. It found that while strong majorities favor tactics to halt illegal immigration, most are also open to visa reform and other proposals aimed at expanding legal immigration in a way that would create U.S. jobs. Republican caucus goers are far more open-minded to a discussion of legal immigration solutions than they're given credit for, said John Stineman, an Iowa Republican who works with Partnership for a New American Economy… This should be good news for Newt Gingrich, who is leading the GOP presidential polls in Iowa, and to a lesser extent for Rick Perry, who has struggled with immigration issues during the campaign. http://dmreg.co/t6iJE4

Romney: Tony Leys has a dispatch from Romney's event in Cedar Rapids yesterday recounting when an audience member asked Romney about Islam: A man rose from the audience, claimed he had many Muslim friends, but said, "I have never heard one Muslim condemn Islamic jihad or terrorism. I see Islamic jihad as one of the greatest threats to America and the western world. Are you going to continue to give Islam and Islamic jihad in this country a pass like everybody before you continues to do? The only people that call Islam a religion of peace are the Muslims, and they are the most violent religion in the world." Romney said radical, violent Islamists pose a threat to Americans and others around the world. However, he said, "they take a very different view of Islam than the Muslims I know." He noted that he was raised in the Detroit area, which has a large Muslim population. "They are peace-loving and America-loving individuals. I believe that very sincerely. I believe people of the Islamic faith do not have to subscribe to the idea of radical, violent jihadism." http://dmreg.co/vmTftc

Bachmann: Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson reports that at Bachmann's event at Nationwide Insurance yesterday she went after both Romney and Gingrich:

Bachmann's hit @ Newt & Mitt: "This is just for point of clarity. I'm not here to speak ill of any of the candidates in the race, but just for the sake of the history of this issue I'm telling you this, in 1993, another Republican, Newt Gingrich, got behind this idea of forcing all Americans to buy health insurance and he said, 'I am for people having health insurance and being required to have health insurance.' That's what the struggled was back in 1993.  The American people were so upset about this, they made a decision they didn't want socialized medicine which was what was being proposed and it was rejected."…Even as recently as May of this year Newt Gingrich also said that he believed all Americans should be forced to have to purchase a health insurance policy. We need to look very clearly at what this means for all of us.  We've seen the model play out already. We've seen it played out in Massachusetts where Mitt Romney was the governor. They put this system in place. What did this mean?  The system in Massachusetts meant that health insurance policies went up dramatically for the people in Massachusetts. http://bit.ly/vzQYZw

Santorum: Henderson also has a report from Rick Santorum's event at the University of Northern Iowa: Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he's concerned some public school teachers may be discussing the topic of same-sex marriage in their classrooms, over the objections of parents. "The parents have very little ground to object, pull their children out of that because they don't want their children taught that that is normal, good and healthy behavior when they don't believe it is," Santorum says. Gay and lesbian couples have been legally able to marry in Iowa since April of 2009. http://bit.ly/uokhwB

This is the front page Cedar Rapids residents are wake up to today: http://bit.ly/bxTudH

What's In The Gazette?

Romney: James Q. Lynch was at the Romney event in Cedar Rapids yesterday and he notes that the candidates hasn't been to Linn County in more than six months:  Mitt Romney said he is the candidate with "the best ideas for the nation" and is the Republican best able to defeat President Obama and turn around the nation's economy."I will be best able to post up against the president if we're talking about the economy," he told someone who asked why he would be the better able than his GOP rivals to debate Obama. "I understand the economy, not just as an academic, not just as a politician, but as someone who has worked in the economy…."I will be able to demonstrate a record of leadership," he said. "The capacity to lead is what we need in America." http://bit.ly/s9ALeq

This is the front page Sioux City residents are waking up to: http://bit.ly/4V6xhj

Bret Hayworth has some more details on that brutal video calling Gingrich the "GOP's Kim Kardashian" http://bit.ly/f7OLX

Newt Gingrich's "Tea Party Charlie" Gruschow is headed to Sioux City area to address a tea party meeting and no doubt stump for Gingrich: http://bit.ly/f7OLX

Iowa Fact of the Day: New feature!

Iowa was the 29 th state and the first governor was Ansel Briggs.  State motto is, "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain."