Good Morning Iowa: Caucus Day
Good morning from Des Moines. CAUCUS DAY is here. A big GMI thank you for the wonderful response we've gotten during our month doing this morning note…thank you subscribers! Thank you to Amy Walter for such a wonderful idea, Jake Tapper who helped make this public, and all the brilliant reporters that contribute every day. A special shout out to the Des Moines Register team especially Jennifer Jacobs, Kathie Obradovich, Bill Petroski, Jason Clayworth, Jason Noble, Tony Leys, Mary Stegmeir and so many others who fill GMI every morning. Thanks to Tim Albrecht for the fun and smart Timmy Talks, Craig Robinson and Kevin Hall at TheIowaRepublican, and so many more Iowans who made GMI fun and informative, including the brilliant O. Kay Henderson and Tom Beaumont. And of course a big thanks to the incredible ABC News political team, including Michael Falcone and Arlette Saenz who helped with this every morning, but everyone else who contributed daily as well including John Berman, Jon Karl, Elicia Dover, Russell Goldman, Jason Volack, Emily Friedman, Susan Archer, Matt Jaffe, Zach Wolf and Sara Just. You all made it better and I will miss it! (Apologies to those I'm accidentally forgetting).
Welcome to the last Good Morning Iowa and the day we've all been waiting for: Iowans will caucus this evening. Some of the candidate have lighter schedules, but most are out fighting for every last vote. Mitt Romney has a rally in Des Moines this morning and will hold his caucus night event this evening at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. Newt Gingrich is the only candidate outside of Des Moines today making stops in Muscatine and Burlington this morning. He has a tele town hall this afternoon. This evening he will address the Black Hawk County Caucus Super-Site in Cedar Falls, as does Michele Bachmann, before holding his caucus night event at the Veterans' Auditorium in Des Moines. This morning, Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul all address the Rock the Caucus, part of Rock the Vote, at Valley High School in West Des Moines. Bachmann's evening event will be at the West Des Moines Marriott. This afternoon, Santorum will address the Des Moines Christian Assembly and his evening event is at the Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston. Ron Paul will be at the Courtyard Des Moines in Ankeny while Rick Perry is at the Sheraton West Des Moines. Today Perry greets volunteers at the Sheraton this morning and has employee town halls at the Principal Financial Group and Nationwide.
Weather: It's only 13 degrees in Des Moines right now and it feels like 4 degrees, one of the coldest mornings GMI has had here. It will warm up to the mid 30s in the afternoon and will stay that way until Iowans caucus. Not too cold and should help with turn out.
Make sure to read The Note from Michael Falcone (@michaelpfalcone) and Amy Walter (@amyewalter): Decision Day in Iowa: Why Mitt Might Win the Caucuses: http://abcn.ws/vplAuD
This is the fantastic front page Des Moines residents are waking up to today: http://bit.ly/s0wS1q
What's in The Register?
The brilliant and tireless Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) is on the front page with DECISION DAY: Iowa became the stage for electrifying political theater on caucus eve as six GOP presidential candidates tried to make a last-minute connection with voters - all while hounded by hundreds of reporters who documented their every move in mini messages on Twitter. An expected 115,000 to 120,000 Iowa Republicans will record their choices tonight, GOP strategist John Stineman of West Des Moines estimated. The race has shaped up as a three-way dead heat among Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, according to The Des Moines Register's Iowa Poll, conducted last week. But in a sign of how unsettled the race remains, 41 percent of those who have a first choice could still be persuaded to change their minds, the poll found. After 354 days of campaigning and more than 900 events, from the sweaty heat of the Iowa State Fair to skin-biting wind on Monday, the candidates are making their final arguments. They spent the final full day of campaigning before the first-in-the-nation vote in one last-gasp scramble, traveling from town to city. The words "mob scene" cropped up on Twitter throughout the day Monday to describe campaign events, but it was all relative. Read Jacobs' details about each candidates' events http://dmreg.co/rVWiDL
And here are their FINAL ARGUMENTS from Jacobs:
Michele Bachmann: "We have one chance to repeal Obamacare; of all of the candidates that are running, I am the one with the deepest level of resolve to not quit until Obamacare is repealed."
Newt Gingrich: "I am the only candidate who could successfully debate Obama in the fall, and I'm the only candidate who has an actual track record - twice, with Reagan and then as speaker - of actually changing Washington."
Ron Paul: "We have to change things today and bring back the traditional America, which means liberty, peace and prosperity."
Rick Perry: "I'm the one candidate who has a track record of executive governing experience to get America back working again, to create the jobs that will in turn create the wealth to get this country back growing economically."
Mitt Romney: "For millions of Americans, the economy is in crisis today - and unless we change course with a new president, it'll be in crisis for all of us tomorrow."
Rick Santorum: "America needs someone with bold, courageous leadership who can make a difference, who can change the culture in Washington and be a strong commander in chief."
Kathie Obradovich (@KObradovich) has a message for caucus goers: Don' t listen to pundits, trust yourself: By this time tomorrow, your phone will have stopped ringing with campaign robo-calls, the TV ads will be back to touting miraculous diets and your mailbox will fill up with post-holiday bills instead of political fliers. And you'll know who won the Iowa caucuses. Or will you? If you listen to the spin tonight and Wednesday morning, you may not be so sure. You'll know who won the vote tonight at the 1,774 precincts around the state. But you'll likely be hit with a barrage of punditry trying to tell you why your vote may not have mattered, why some candidate isn't viable beyond Iowa, or why the people of this state are unrepresentative, or some other drivel. Don't listen to it. If you show up and cast your vote, then you will have done what mattered. Don't let some talking head in the Beltway or in New York City tell you otherwise. They're invited to watch, and they'll say what they will. But they don't get to make a choice in Iowa tonight. You do. When you arrive at your caucus site tonight, there may be people waving signs and yelling that Iowa's process is undemocratic. It's their constitutional right, but they are wrong. Precinct caucuses, and the campaign that preceded them, are a starting point for moving candidates and issues through the political process. It's true that you have to show up to participate, but that's true of most things in life. http://dmreg.co/vrw4zH
Jacobs has the five questions that will be answered tonight: Who Wins? Who Gets Hurt? Were the Polls Right? Will conservatives, moderates or libertarian converts be the deciding bloc? and Will Iowa beat the turnout record? Read all the analysis here: http://dmreg.co/rVfArX
RNC Chairman Reince Preibus has an editorial in today's Register, The Case for a new President: http://dmreg.co/vZcgqK
Santorum: Before we get into all the Santorum news, GMI can report that Santorum will be a featured speaker at the American Conservative Union's CPAC in February. The non-endorsing Steve King will be there as well.
The Register's Bill Petroski (@WilliamPetroski) reports on the surging candidates massive crowds, especially compared to last week: The crowds and enthusiasm kept growing Monday for Rick Santorum as the Republican presidential candidate made an all-out sprint for the finish line in Tuesday's Iowa Caucuses. "We pick Rick. We pick Rick," a crowd of more than 400 people chanted Monday night at the Pizza Ranch in the Des Moines' suburb of Altoona. Santorum said that stop marked the 30th Pizza Ranch restaurant he has used for an Iowa campaign appearance and it was his 380th public event in Iowa. Santorum, who has been rising in Iowa polls, has been joined here by his wife, Karen, and six of their seven children. Their youngest daughter, Bella, 3, who suffers from a genetic disorder, stayed home…Santorum began Monday by making remarks to more than 100 people, including a throng of national and international news media at the tiny Reising Sun Cafe in Polk City. There were so many people that some stood on the street and watched him speak through the cafe's window. He drew about 100 people more at Perry, and then headed to Boone, where about 200 people stood elbow-to-elbow at a Pizza Ranch to hear Santorum. It was so hot and crowded in Boone that two people fainted. Then he drew a crowd of about 250 in Newton before heading to Altoona. http://dmreg.co/sbbn9J
More Santorum: Petroski reports the campaign and candidate are fighting back against 11th hour robo-calls: Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said today that an 11th-hour robo-calling effort is being waged against his presidential campaign in a false effort to claim that's he's against the rights of Americans to bear arms. Noting could be further from the truth, said the Pennsylvania Republican, who gave Weatherby over/under shotguns to two of his sons as Christmas gifts. He pointed out to a crowd of well over 100 people at the Pizza Ranch here today that he just went pheasant hunting last week near Adel with U.S. Rep. Steve King and bagged four game birds. His oldest son, John, 20, also had a successful hunting trip. Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley said Santorum had an A-Plus rating from the National Rifle Association during his two terms in the U.S. Senate. http://dmreg.co/rBuyxf
TheIowaRepublican's Kevin Hall reports on the robo-calls: http://bit.ly/rR3ZSn
Even More Santorum: ABC's George Stephanopoulos (@GStephanopoulos) interviewed Rick Santorum this morning on "Good Morning America." The former senator predicted, "we're going to do very well." http://abcn.ws/tSOYpF and http://abcn.ws/vcXGW4 and the candidate had this line: "I would say we've done this on shoestring but that would be insulting shoestrings."
And More: In an interview with ABC's Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) yesterday, Rick Santorum explained away his 2006 Senate loss, saying it was a historically bad year for Republicans who lost control of both houses of Congress. "It was the worst election year for Republicans in the history of the state, this isn't going to be 2006," said Santorum, who stopped between campaign stops in Iowa to talk to ABC News. "If I was the only guy that loss and everybody else won you could say that, oh well, that guy is in trouble, we stood up and didn't flinch. We stood up and said this is what we believed the problem are… I was prepared to stand up and fight for what I believed in, and I wasn't supposed to win any of the elections I ever ran, and I won the first four against odds no one would have ever taken. And they were decent election years, some good, some not so good. We were able to win those elections in heavily democratic districts, because we stood up for what we believed in, and you know what and when that went south in a big way we lost, its ok, this is not that election year." http://abcn.ws/uEZLfJ Watch Tapper's "World News" report on Santorum's surge: http://abcn.ws/t3JZir
And Yes Even More: GMI was part of the crush of media that trailed the candidate yesterday from a packed tiny diner in Polk City with a 49 person maximum to an evening event with a bullhorn it was quite a day:
Polk City: Riding a wave of last-minute momentum in Iowa, Rick Santorum told a packed restaurant here today that "going zero to 60 in polls" has helped his campaign raise more money in the past six days than he has amassed in the past six months… "I'm asking you to not settle" on another candidate; a not-so-veiled reference to rival Mitt Romney. "Do not defer your judgment to the pundits and to the polls," Santorum said, adding that the so-called pundits think that Iowa voters "only care about babies and guns." Iowans want "a president that's solid on all the issues," he added. http://abcn.ws/ubjrRI
Newton: During the question and answer portion of Rick Santorum's second to last campaign event of the day, a voter brought up a painful memory from the former Pennsylvania senator's past. At a Pizza Ranch restaurant in Newton, Iowa, a member of the audience asked Santorum to react to a controversial attack leveled by liberal Fox News contributor Alan Colmes, who called the Santorum family's approach to grieving for their dead baby boy, who lived for only two hours after his birth in 1996, "crazy." In a Fox News interview on Monday, Colmes characterized Santorum's decision to bring the deceased child home an example of "some of the crazy things he's said and done." But in Iowa this afternoon, Santorum explained that it was important for his other children to "know they had a brother." Santorum's wife, Karen, who was at the event and listened to her husband talk about the experience, began to weep, "It's just so inappropriate," she said as tears streamed from her eyes. http://abcn.ws/ubPDTw
Altoona: A large crowd of voters - many enthusiastic supporters - plus a mass of cameras and reporters turned a Rick Santorum event into a chaotic scene, but there was no doubt where the interest was. The former Pennsylvania senator spoke to voters in a side room of the campaign favorite, Pizza Ranch, Monday evening. Last week, there would be no need to occupy the entire restaurant, the side room would be enough. Monday, the day before Iowans kick off the voting process the entire restaurant was packed and cameras swarmed the candidate. Standing on a chair and using a bullhorn, Santorum gave voters waiting for him in the main part of the restaurant, who were not able to hear him, his final pitch… don't vote for someone just because others say they are electable. "They may not be able to do what American needs to get done and that's a victory that will feel very empty," Santorum said, wearing a gray sweater vest. "It will not be Pizza Ranch pizza, you will walk out of those caucuses hungry. Walk out of those caucuses like you just ate at a Pizza Ranch buffet."… "You will not only shock this country, but you will shock the world."
And the Duggar Family is backing Santorum in a big way. Check out the bus! http://abcn.ws/stCxP5
A Sweater Vested Santorum: The New York Times' Jeremy Peters has a great piece on Santorum's favorite clothing item: Rick Santorum is definitely pro-traditional sweater. It's just that in Iowa, he happens to like a smart, sleeveless V-neck number. Crewnecks, with their neck-hugging collars, aren't suitable for stuffy rooms crammed with voters who have little respect for personal space. Cardigans? Not his thing. Mr. Santorum prefers the sweater vest, that sensible, traditional choice of grandfathers and college football coaches. He owns them in navy blue, gray and tan, which he sported here on Monday for a voter meet-and-greet. Sensing they were seeing a political fashion statement in the making, members of his staff recently ordered vests embroidered with the Santorum campaign logo…In an interview here on Monday, Mr. Santorum insisted that he was not anti-sleeve. He harbors no bigotry toward extra fabric, whether it's cotton, cashmere or wool. He said the vests started gaining notice after a forum in Des Moines a few weeks ago with Mike Huckabee. Most of the other candidates were in suits. Mr. Santorum chose a sweater vest and unwittingly made a fashion statement.After that, he said, "It sort of took on a life of its own. So I started wearing more and more. My staff bought me a bunch more." He buys most of them from JoS. A. Bank. But he's been known to splurge on a vest at Brooks Brothers. http://nyti.ms/sVF6eM
GMI note: You might think Santorum was in a great mood yesterday because of the crowds, but as a witness to the sweater vest interview I can confirm he was also ecstatic to be chatting about the topic.
Romney: Tony Leys (@tonyleys) reports from the Romney event where he got Occupied…kind of: Mitt Romney's fans quickly drowned out hecklers from the Occupy movement Monday night in Clive. The handful of hecklers chanted "Stop the war on the poor!" They were immediately overwhelmed by hundreds of audience members chanting "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!" "Thanks, guys," the candidate said from the stage. http://dmreg.co/sh63z0
More Romney: ABC's David Muir (@DavidMuirABC) sat down with Romney in Iowa yesterday. Can the former Massachusetts governor seal the deal? http://abcn.ws/sMy6FQ
Even More Romney:ABC's Emily Friedman (@EmilyABC) reports on a very confident Mitt Romney: After days of saying he would not make any predictions about where he will place in Tuesday night's caucus, this evening Mitt Romney declared "we're gonna win this thing." "You guys, I need you tomorrow night, I need every single vote in this room, and I need you to get a couple of other vote from yours in your neighborhood and get to your caucus, I need a great showing in Cedar Rapids," said Romney, speaking at a rally at a Pate Asphalt warehouse, where more than 500 voters came to hear him speak. "We're gonna win this thing with all of our passion and strength and do everything we can to get this campaign on the right track to go across the nation and to pick up other states and to get the ballots I need and the votes I need to become our nominee," he said. "That's what we're going to get." A Romney campaign aide said immediately after the event that Romney was referring to winning the nomination, not tomorrow night's caucus. http://abcn.ws/swCg4O
Paul: Mary Stegmeir (@MaryStegmeir) reports that Paul defends his foreign policy stances and sets some expectations for tonight: Paul also defended himself against criticisms of his foreign policy positions, which include a call to withdraw U.S. troops from all overseas military bases and to open up trade with so-called hostile nations like Iran. "The current foreign policy does not make us safer," he said. "That is why I think we should change it." Paul also predicted that he would "do very well tomorrow night," noting that his campaign had motivated many Iowans who had previously been turned off my politics. http://dmreg.co/s5eOKK
More Paul: TheIowaRepublican reports on the amount of media non-Iowans at his event at the Des Moines Marriott: http://bit.ly/rZv4qe
Even More Paul: An amazing admission last night from Ron Paul when ABC's Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) asked him: "When you lay your head on your pillow at night, do you see yourself in the Oval Office?" "Not really," he said. He went on to say that he's not blind to the odds, but they are "not as slim as they were 25 years ago." Moran also asked if he thought he was too old to be president. He'd be 81 at the end of his first term. He said, "Freedom is a youthful idea," his health is good, and he challenges any of his rivals to a physical fitness test. He also jokingly accused Moran of ageism."Be careful," he said. "There are laws against that." http://abcn.ws/sMToSW
And Even More: ABC's Jason Volack (@JasonVolack) reports on the father-son tag team: Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, traveled with his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as they made a five-city tour of Iowa. Ron Paul was greeted at his first event by a crowd of 500 and an equal number of national media that packed a downtown hotel ballroom in Des Moines, Iowa. "This is almost like a real rally," Ron Paul said. "This is great!" The candidate was energized as he brought his message of "sound money" and "sensible foreign policy" to Iowa voters. "This is different from what you're getting from the other candidates who are part of status quo," Paul said.He never directly criticized his GOP rivals, but his son took an indirect jab at former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. "You've got conservative Republican, so-called Republican candidates for president traipsing around Iowa who have voted for foreign aid," Rand Paul told a crowd of more than 300 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the third stop in his "whistle-stop" tour. http://abcn.ws/rHqhIQ
Gingrich: Jason Clayworth (@jasonclayworth) reports Gingrich really didn't mean what he said back there: Newt Gingrich here tonight told a crowd that he made a mistake in saying earlier today that he wouldn't win the Iowa caucuses. He blamed the issue on what he said was a compound sentence structure that the media dissected. "I made the amateur mistake of having two compound sentences," Gingrich said to about 100 people who attended an event he hosted at the campaign's Davenport office. " I want to explain to my friends in the media and you." His full quote today when talking with reporters in Independence: "I don't think I'm going to win," Gingrich told reporters "If you look at the numbers, I think that volume of negativity has done enough damage. On the other hand, if The Des Moines Register is right in its 41 percent potentially undecided, who knows what's going to happen." http://dmreg.co/upLbn7
More Gingrich: In an interview with ABC News' Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl), Newt Gingrich said he will "draw a very clear contrast" with Romney "every day" immediately after today's caucuses. "Everything we say will have Romney's quote, Romney's videotape, Romney's record; it'll all be based explicitly on Romney," Gingrich said in an interview in Independence, Iowa yesterday. Gingrich has said repeatedly that Republicans should aim their attacks at President Obama, not fellow Republicans. But after getting hammered by millions of dollars in negative ads, Gingrich says he will now return fire, targeting Romney over and over again. "He set the tone of the campaign," Gingrich said. "By going after me negatively and dishonestly." But won't his plan violate Gingrich's promise to run a positive campaign? "Well, if the facts are negative, then that tells you about his career," Gingrich said. http://abcn.ws/t74YBa
Bachmann: Jason Noble (@jasonnoble1) reports Bachmann was mobbed by media yesterday: Michele Bachmann met dozens of voters and a horde of media Monday during an afternoon stroll through the Valley Junction shopping district in West Des Moines. The Republican presidential candidate met potential supporters at Paula's Restaurant amidst a literal crush of reporters and TV cameras, posing for snapshots and imploring voters to turn out for her at tonight's caucuses, the first contest of the 2012 presidential nominating process. The mass of media followed her to the Floral Touch flower shop and the Diggity Dog pet supply store, where Bachmann chatted up the owner and her husband, Marcus, bought dog treats and sunglasses for the family beagle, Boomer. http://dmreg.co/tZjsiA and last night at her headquarters she had a message: "Tell your friends to multiply, multiply, multiply!" she said. "Tomorrow night we are going to see a miracle because we know the one who gives miracles. We can't wait for tomorrow night. It's going to be exciting." http://dmreg.co/tLDh9u and the Coffee Bean Caucus Results are in and Bachmann is the winner: http://dmreg.co/rpB8cp
More Bachmann:ABC's Russell Goldman (@GoldmanRussell) reports on Bachmann's final argument and a hit at Santorum: In a closing argument to Iowa voters, GOP contender Michele Bachmann on Monday stressed her Iowa roots and took a final parting shot at the latest Republican frontrunner former Sen. Rick Santorum…"If you look at Rick Santorum he's a wonderful guy, as all the candidates are, but there are points of clarity between us. I'm a limited government, fiscal conservative. Rick Santorum voted for the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' he defends the practice of earmarks, and I've taken a no earmarks pledge," she told reporters. "He also supported Arlen Specter and endorsed him. Arlen Specter gave us the 60th vote that gave us Obamacare, and taxpayer-funded abortion. I never would have supported Arlen Specter, a pro-abortion candidate. There are differences between us, " she added. http://abcn.ws/ugyI9v
Perry: Jason Hafner (@jasonhafner) reports the Texas Gov is ready for the long haul: Rick Perry argued with renewed passion on Monday that Iowa is merely "mile one" of a marathon primary season, one his organization is uniquely able to survive in a long primary season - if caucusgoers give him the chance. Perry, fifth in The Des Moines Register's final Iowa Poll at 11 percent, told voters at a Sioux City hotel to look not to the polls, but to their common values. http://dmreg.co/uuiPN7 and his surrogates gave a personal appeal yesterday: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told a spirited crowd of around 200 people at the Hotel Pattee - some Iowans, others Texan volunteers - that ensuring a Perry White House is crucial. "It is time for us now to take all of this excitement and energy and turn it into real work," Jindal said. "It is time for us to get our neighbors, friends, family, everybody we know out and make sure that we help to elect Rick Perry as the next president of these United States of America." Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback shared a bit of personal history with the candidate. "When I first met Rick Perry, he was running against an incumbent for ag commissioner in Texas … and nobody thought he could win," said Brownback. "Well, he did and he moved forward in Texas politics to produce a state that is on a roll … the way we need to be on a roll in the United States of America." http://dmreg.co/sFXhA6
More Perry: ABC's Arlette Saenz (@ArletteSaenz) reports: Perry wrapped up his bus tour in a city that bears the same name as himself - Perry, Iowa. The Texas governor told the crowd of 200+ people that the 'only scoreboard that matters' is winning the Iowa caucuses. Missing from his closing speech were any hits on his rivals, specifically Rick Santorum, who he's hammered consistently in his speeches over the past week. http://abcn.ws/sir5E3 Earlier in the day, the Texas governor delivered one of his most forceful and direct hits on Santorum at an event in Sioux City, saying "Rick, if you're a real fiscal conservative, I understand what pork-barrel politics is all about. I scratch your back, you scratch mine, that is not conservative governing. That is fleecing America and it's got to stop and when I'm president of the United States earmarks are gone." Perry, an avid runner who has completed marathons and triathlons, also compared the campaign to the marathon, saying Iowa is "mile one" and he expects to make it to mile 21. http://abcn.ws/tx3gtq
Occupy: Police don't expect disruptions tonight: Both major political parties and Des Moines-area law enforcement agencies are prepared to deal with any problems tonight at local caucuses caused by protesters affiliated with Occupy Des Moines, but they said they don't expect any widespread issues. Since the Occupy the Caucus initiative was first discussed last fall, rumors have swirled that demonstrators would take their protests from the parking lots of campaign offices and into precinct caucus meetings. A video released in November, purportedly produced by the hacking collective Anonymous, drew additional scrutiny when it called on people to disrupt the first contest on the trail to the parties' presidential nominations. Those concerns have prompted Iowa Republican Party officials to move centralized vote reporting to an undisclosed location and issue criticism of the protesters' plans. Occupy Des Moines members have adamantly denied they have any wish to disrupt the voting process. After spending weeks communicating with protesters and attending their planning meetings, local police apparently believe them - to an extent. http://dmreg.co/rC7GQl
Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson (@okayhenderson) has two important questions to think about before tonight: http://bit.ly/sLML7R
TheIowaRepublican has Prof. Tim Hagle's (@ProfHagle) the candidates' final power rankings: http://bit.ly/sLML7R
Read all the money, miles, and stats from all the candidates from ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield (@LizHartfield): http://abcn.ws/ufK12T
ABC's Matt Negrin (@MattNegrin) looks at what is next after tonight: http://abcn.ws/vrcMAU
ABC's Rick Klein (@rickklein) has an Iowa Viewer's Guide: http://abcn.ws/ueE25w
Dems Speak: ABC's Josh Haskell (@HaskellBuzz)reports on the Democrats war room they opened up in Des Moines: 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." http://abcn.ws/sRWHJt
Yahoo! News' David Chalian (@DavidChalian) has a guidebook for watching tonight's results : http://yhoo.it/sWoitk
The Washington Post's Jason Horowitz reports that for some Iowans, Romney's religion is still a sticking point: http://wapo.st/swPw9Z
The Los Angeles Times' Robin Abcarian (@rabcarian) reports on Santorum's hard work paying off: http://lat.ms/upsUDJ
The American Prospect's Pat Caldwell (@patwcaldwell) reports on why Santorum's surge is of a different nature than the previous candidate blips: http://prospect.org/ article/boom-0
Iowa Fact of the Day (repeat because it is just so good): On January 20, 1982, Ozzy Osbourne dined on a bat while on stage in Des Moines while in front of 5,000 fans.
Who's Tweeting on Caucus Day?
@ zbyronwolf Conflicting lessons from the AM punditry - 1. Romney has won already even if he loses. 2. Even if Romney wins, it doesn't mean much.
7:55am CT - Des Moines, IA: Romney for President grassroots rally. Temple for Performing Arts (1011 Locust Street. Des Moines, IA)
7:30pm CT - Des Moines: Romney for President caucus night event at Hotel Fort Des Moines (1000 Walnut Street, Des Moines, IA) Event opens to the press at 6:00pm ET.
9:00am CT - Muscatine, IA: Bus tour stop at Elly's Tea (208 W 2 nd Street #A, Muscatine, IA)
11:30am CT - Burlington, IA: Bus tour stop at The Drake Restaurant (106 Washington Street, Burlington, IA)
3:30pm CT - Tele town hall Dial-in number: 855-275-6398
6:00pm CT - Waterloo, IA: Black Hawk County Caucus Super-Site Remarks. UNI-Dome (2401 Hudson Road. Cedar Falls. IA)
10:00pm CT- Des Moines, IA: Veterans' Auditorium (833 5th Avenue, Des Moines, IA)
9:00am CT - West Des Moines: Volunteer Visit/Remarks at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel (1800 50 th Street, West Des Moines, IA)
1:00pm CT - Des Moines, IA: Principal Financial Group employee town hall (711 High Street, Des Moines, IA)
2:30pm CT - Des Moines, IA: Town hall at Nationwide/Allied Insurance - Main Cafeteria (1100 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA)
7:00pm CT - West Des Moines, IA: Caucus night event at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel (1800 50 th Street, West Des Moines, IA)
9:45am CT - West Des Moines, IA: Rock the Caucus Address. Valley High School Gym (3650 Woodland Avenue. West Des Moines, IA) (MEDIA AVAILABILITY WILL FOLLOW)
5:30pm CT - Waterloo, IA: Black Hawk County Caucus Super-Site Remarks. UNI-Dome (2401 Hudson Road. Cedar Falls. IA)
8:00pm CT - West Des Moines: West Des Moines Marriott - Grand Ballroom (1250 Jordan Creek Parkway. West Des Moines, IA)
10:35am CT: West Des Moines, IA: Rock the Caucus Address. Valley High School Gym (3650 Woodland Avenue. West Des Moines, IA)
2:30pm CT: Urbandale, IA: Address to the Des Moines Christian Assembly (13007 Douglas Parkway #400 Urbandale, IA)
7:00pm CT - Johnston, IA: Stoney Creek Inn: The Northwoods Conference Center (5291 Stoney Creek Court, Johnston, IA)
10:45am CT: West Des Moines, IA: Rock the Caucus Address. Valley High School Gym (3650 Woodland Avenue. West Des Moines, IA)
7:00pm CT - Ankeny, IA: Caucus night event at Courtyard Des Moines Ankeny (2405 SE Creekview Drive, Ankeny, IA)