Skip Iowa? McCain didn’t

More typing today on that world wide web thing about 2012 presidential candidates skipping Iowa’s Republican Party Caucuses.  Marc Ambinder’s thoughts are here. Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican posts his thoughts here.  Last week, Tom Beaumont of The Des Moines Register fueled the “Romney will skip Iowa in 2012” speculation with this story, quoting Dave Kochel, a 2008 Romneyack.  (I just made that word up; it sounds fun to SAY it but looks weird to TYPE it.  Maybe we’ll go with Romneyite?)  Kochel, anyway, is well known within Iowa political circles.  He was a key consultant to Romney for the run up to ’08.  Romney, you may recall, didn’t “skip” the Iowa GOP Straw Poll in Ames in August of 2007 like Straw Poll skippers John McCain and Rudy Guiliani did.

And can we really go so far as to say McCain “skipped” Iowa entirely in the last cycle?  He certainly spent a lot of time and money in the state in the first part of 2007.  But then the wheels fell off his national campaign, he jettisoned staff and flew commercial for the rest of ’07.  He came back to Iowa in July of 2007 and made some line-in-the-sand statements about the campaign not dying, but living on, albeit more frugally, and McCain predicted (on that day — July 22, 2007) that he’d win the Iowa Caucuses.  He went to the 2007 Iowa State Fair.  He participated in a candidate debate here in early August.  During a campaign stop in Ankeny on August 4, McCain ridiculed the “EarthPark” project for which Republican Senator Chuck Grassley had secured federal funding, calling it “EarthPork” instead.  And then  McCain spent Labor Day 2007 in Iowa.

In October of 2007, McCain came back to campaign in Iowa and made an appearance on “Iowa Press.”  McCain returned to Iowa in early November to tout Kansas Senator Sam Brownback’s endorsement

In the closing week of the Iowa Caucus campaign McCain made a whirlwind tour of Iowa.  It was December 27, 2007 — just days before the January 3, 2008 Caucuses.

So, looking at that array of campaign visits, we see after McCain’s campaign “tanked” in July, 2007, and he was widely said to have “focused all his energies on New Hampshire,” McCain still made campaign visits to Iowa in August, September, October, November and December.  He was not in Iowa on January 3, 2008, to thank all those Iowa McCainers who helped him secure a fourth place finish, right behind his old buddy Fred Thompson, but McCain had been here at least once every month in the last half of 2007.  Does that seem like a “skip Iowa” strategy to you?

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Try “Romniac”… 🙂