Two leaders of The Family Leader backing Santorum (audio)

This morning’s news conference revealed The Family Leader’s board of directors is remaining neutral in the GOP presidential race.  TFL’s president & CEO Bob Vander Plaats personally endorsed Rick Santorum, as did The Iowa Family Policy Center’s president Chuck Hurley.

“I urge every undecided Iowa Caucus goer to take a close look at Rick, to study the scriptures, to pray hard…for above all, we answer to God for our vote,” Hurley said.

Hurley mentioned a person close to The Family Leader who has said he would burn BVP in effigy if he didn’t endorse a different candidate.  Hurley refused, in Q&A with reporters, to say who that person was. 

“I’ve never seen a Caucus like this. People are going from one candidate to another in a 10 minute period…so a voice of endorsement may have an impact,” BVP said.

Both BVP & Hurley suggest one or two “pro-family” candidates should drop out and run “as a team” so a conservative “could quickly vaunt into first place and win the nomination.”

“It depends on the humble heart of the individuals,” Hurley said of the decision to drop out.

BVP said his endorsement & Hurley’s gives a  “stamp of credibility” to Santorum’s bid.

Listen to of AUDIO the 33-minute news conference.

“Caucus-goers are still looking for a leadership voice,” BVP said.

When asked what he’d say to Bachmann, Perry supporters, Hurley said you can win when you put other people ahead of yourselves. “It’s about the country. We’re going down the tubes…and it’s got to be about others and not ourselves,” Hurley said.  “….Not everybody can be president and because of the fracture of the caucus voter, this calls for a special humility.”

Occupiers don’t get to Occupy Obama HQ

The dozen or so Occupy Des Moines folks who had planned an “occupation” of President Obama’s Des Moines campaign headquarters found the doors closed on this December Saturday.  Read the group’s news release below: 

Occupy Des Moines and Veterans for Peace demonstrators declared victory Saturday morning when they arrived at President Obama’s campaign office in Des Moines – normally open for business on Saturdays – only to find it closed down with no volunteers or staff at the office.

“We shut Obama’s office down and no work by the campaign can be conducted today,” said Megan Felt, an Occupy Des Moines protester.  “We will maintain our picket outside Obama’s office all day and will greet Iowa CCI’s latino immigrant team when they arrive here at 2:30pm.”

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A native Iowan defends Iowa

Former Des Moines Register stand-out Kristen Scharnberg Hampton, an Iowa native, has penned a piece for The Columbia Journalism Review about The Atlantic piece University of Iowa professor Stephen Bloom wrote.

Gingrich seeks to dispel what he calls “wildly inaccurate” Freddie story

Newt Gingrich had a “tele” town hall this morning with Iowa voters and his opening statement included somewhat of a rebuttal to the slings and arrows he took in Thursday night’s debate over his $1.6 million in work for Freddie Mac, Romney’s  comments this a.m. in South Carolina and this Wall Street Journal editorial.  

“I just want to set the record straight. We had a company. The company had three different offices. We were paid annually for six years, so the numbers you see are six years of work. Most of that money went to pay for overhead, for staff, for other things that didn’t go directly to me. It went to the company which provided consulting advice & our advice included how do you help poor people earn the right to be in a house & to be a homeowner. I had spent years working with Habitat for Humanity. I believe deeply in trying to help people have the right to have a home. I think it’s a good part of being an American to own property and I’ve been very much in favor of property ownership which is also why I’m for the abolition of the death tax so that family farms aren’t forced to be sold because you can’t afford to pay the federal taxes when the parents die.

“In that setting, I also want to say I have never once advocated that people do something for Fannie or Freddie. I do not in any way work on influence, per se. I’m a public figure. I make public speeches. Everybody can go look at what I’ve said in public.  I actually suggested they needed more regulations & that’s actually in writing on their website,so you can go look @ it yourself. That’s an area where people have just said things that are wildly inaccurate and don’t reflect anything about how I’ve operated or what I’ve done.

“I want to be this open and this straight so everybody can see the record.”

At the conclusion of the call, Gingrich said:

“I’m inclined, because of the extraordinary negativity of the campaign, I’m including to every couple of days do  his kind of an ‘ask Newt’  conference call & jus tlet people have a chance to talk about ideas and encourage them to raise any of these things that you get in the mail that are junk and dishonest and I’ll be glad to personally answer so you’re hearing it from my very own lips. You’re not, you know, we don’t have our advertising versus their advertising, but you get to ask me directly.”

Bachmann says Paul’s foreign policy views “a total disqualifer” (AUDIO)

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann just appeared on KSCJ (Keep Sioux City Jumpin’) Radio this morning.  She had a brief conversation with host Sam Clovis. Clovis was offering his critique of Paul’s foreign policy views, as expressed last night during the debate, and Bachmann said Paul’s views are a “total disqualifier” for the presidency.  Listen to the brief, 30-seconds-worth of AUDIO of that particular exchange. Here’s a partial transcript:

Clovis: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing last night.”
Bachmann: “It was unbelievable…It’s a total disqualifier as far as I’m concerned…This is so off-base and this isn’t just one thing. This is all foreign policy. I could not disagree with Ron Paul more.”

Sioux City Debate Part IV: getting the facts right

The final half hour of the debate featured another Gingrich versus Bachmann showdown.

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Sioux City Debate Part II: Freddie & Fannie, Newt & Michele

Ron Paul made the point he made in the last debate, saying “to go to work (for Freddie Mac) and get money from them, it’s literally coming from the taxpayer,” but Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann mixed it up pretty furiously in the second segment of tonight’s debate. 

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Sioux City Debate Part I: Tebow & conservative revolt

The highlights of the opening round of tonight’s GOP debate:

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Gingrich on Freddie Mac contract, his bash @ Romney’s work @ Bain

Here’s a bit more from the Iowa Press taping with guest Newt Gingrich (show airs tomorrow night statewide on Iowa Public Television; video posted online now). 

Henderson: During the debate last Saturday you took a good bit of lead from your opponents over your lobbying contract — they would characterize it as such — with Freddie Mac. Do you regret taking that job and do you regret criticizing Mitt Romney for his activities at Bain, in responding to one of his attacks?”

Gingrich: “I don’t regret taking the job because it was a totally legal, non-lobbying, strategic-advisory thing and, you know, I’m not going to go through life, trying, that part just gets mischaracterized. I do regret taking a shot at Mitt. It was foolish on my part. He had taken one more shot at me that he knew wasn’t true and made an assertion that he knew was absurd, but it violated all the core principles I have in terms of trying to stay positive despite temptation. It also communicated something I don’t believe in. I think people who run those companies have an obligation to run the companies effectively and to do the best they can and I’ve said in the past, many times, that he’s a good manager, so it’s one of the few times, I think, in the campaign where I said something that, you know, I could have retracted.”

Gingrich on the “gamble” he’s taking, plus a response to colleagues-turned-critics

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is the guest on this week’s episode of Iowa Press on IPTV (watch it now online).  He was asked a couple of questions about the negative ads on the Iowa airwaves which target him.

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson: “You have said you’re chafing a bit…”

Newt Gingrich: (chuckles) “Yes.”

Henderson: “…under your vow to run a relentlessly positive campaign. At the core, those ads raise questions about your consistency. How do you respond to the charges in those ads?”

Gingrich: “I have a 90 percent American Conservative Union voting record; a 98.5 percent National Right-to-Life voting record. I’m the only person in your lifetime to balance the federal budget four years in a row, which I thought was  conservative achievement. I helped pass the largest capital gains tax cut in history; unemployment dropped to 4.2 percent, which I would have thought was a conservative achievement. I helped pass the first, only major entitlement reform in your lifetime — welfare — two out of three people went back to work or went to school, which I would have thought was a conservative achievement and that’s just in the speakership. In the late ’70s I worked actively with Ronald Reagan. We helped develop supply-side economics with Jack Kemp and Art Laffer and others. I helped pass the tax cuts under Reagan. I helped fight and helped implement the end of the Soviet Empire as a member of congress, helped found the Conservative Opportunity Society. You would think there’s a point where the sheer weight of evidence beats the 30-second attack ad and I’m relying on the good judgement of Iowans to weigh the real history versus the 30-second attack ad.”

Henderson: “Speaking of the judgement of Iowans, a former Iowa congressman — Fred Grandy — this past week endorsed you and, in talking with him, he told me one of the reasons he did so was because of the current members of congress and the former members of congress who have said things about you. They’ve said you’re unfit. They question your leadership style. How do you respond directly to your former colleagues who raise those concerns.”

Gingrich: “I don’t respond to my former colleagues. I tell the public I was a very strong speaker. I helped drive us to a majority for the first time in 40 years. I helped develop the first reelection as a majority since 1928. In the process, as I said a minute ago, if you’re, remember, I’m getting this stuff done with Bill Clinton. Now, if you are able to maneuver so that you can get welfare reform signed by Clinton, a tax cut signed by Clinton, four balanced budgets signed by Clinton, you’re going to make some people unhappy on two fronts. One front are the selfish members who didn’t get their particular earmark and the other front are the ideologues who say, ‘I’d rather have been pure. I don’t want welfare reform if Bill Clinton signs it. It can’t be good enough,’ so I say, ‘Fine.’ I mean, if you want the people who are at the trough who are afraid I’m coming back to stop their earmarks, that’s fine. And if you want the guys who are so ideologically pure they wouldn’t get anything done, that’s fine, but I have a track record of actually getting conservative things done. Some columnist wrote this week I’ve had the most effective effort to shift the country to the right since Ronald Reagan and that’s a fact.”

Iowa Press moderator asked Gingrich a follow-up on the turn-the-other cheek strategy.  “What I have to prove in the next few months is that I can allow my opponents to say a variety of unpleasant things and cheerfully ignore them,” Gingrich said. “…This is a great gamble. I want to be clear. It’s an act of faith in the American people that I can have a conversation with them despite sort of childish, negative ads written by clever consultants who are paid a lot of money.”