I had to file for noon-time newscasts in the middle of the late-morning National Association of Manufacturers forum in Pella, so I was unable to live blog the last three candidates to speak. Read the Radio Iowa story about the event, with comments from candidates Perry, Santorum, Bachmann, Paul & Gingrich, who participated. Governor Branstad (who was one of the moderators) spoke with reporters after the event concluded:
…Governor Branstad suggested candidates Mitt Romney and Herman Cain made a mistake by skipping the event.\
“They missed out on the opportunity to address the number one issue in this campaign and that is creating jobs,” Branstad said. “…It was not a situation where (there were) a lot of gotcha questions, but it was really an open-ended opportunity to talk about reducing regulatory and tax burdens and revitalizing the American economy.”
Branstad told reporters he hasn’t closely followed recent revelations that Herman Cain’s previous employer paid cash settlements to two women who accused Cain of sexual harassment.
“Iowans are pretty fair-minded people and just because somebody makes an accusation and anybody that’s in a high-profile position (has) the potential to have people make these kind of accusations,” Branstad said. “I think Iowans will, you know, carefully look at the real situation and not jump to any conclusion.”