Ron Paul says debate hosted by Trump would yield “circus”

The Paul campaign has issued an emphatic, “No thanks,” to a Donald Trump-hosted debate:

ANKENY, Iowa – The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign released the following statement concerning the selection of Donald Trump as moderator for the December 27th Republican debate to be held in Iowa.  Below please find comments from Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton:
“The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee rejects the selection of Donald Trump as moderator for the Republican presidential debate to be held on December 27th in Iowa.
“We have conferred with our Iowa campaign chairman Drew Ivers and vice-chairmen David Fischer and A.J. Spiker who are all RPI State Central Committee Members, and they concur with this decision.
“The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the Presidency and flies in the face of that office’s history and dignity.  Mr. Trump’s participation as moderator will distract from questions and answers concerning important issues such as the national economy, crushing federal government debt, the role of the federal government, foreign policy, and the like.  To be sure, Mr. Trump’s participation will contribute to an unwanted circus-like atmosphere.
“Mr. Trump’s selection is also wildly inappropriate because of his record of toying with the serious decision of whether to compete for our nation’s highest office, a decision he appeared to make frivolously.  The short-lived elevation of Mr. Trump’s stature as a candidate put him on the radar of many organizations and we recall that last spring he was invited to keynote the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual Reagan Dinner, yet at the last minute he left RPI holding the bag by canceling.  In turn, RPI canceled its biggest fundraising gala of the year and suffered embarrassment and in addition RPI was required to engage in refunding measures.  Our candidate will not even consider participating in the late-December debate until Mr. Trump publicly apologizes to Iowa party leaders and rectifies in full the situation.
“Therefore our candidate Ron Paul, the champion of the Constitution, has advised he will not attend.”

Trump cancels on Iowa GOP

Moments ago, an announcement, via email, that “The Donald” has decided against headlining the Iowa GOP’s Lincoln Dinner on June 10.  Rather than seek another big-name, the party has canceled the event.  Plus, Trump gets a thump from the party chairman.  Read on:

Earlier today the Iowa GOP was informed that Mr. Trump will not attend and keynote the June 10 Lincoln Dinner. Citing Mr. Trump’s unique appeal and the close proximity to the event, the Iowa GOP has decided to cancel the 2011 Lincoln Dinner.

Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn issued the comment below following Mr. Trump’s decision to cancel his appearance at the Lincoln Dinner.

“In Iowa, your word is your bond. We are disappointed that Mr. Trump has chosen not to honor his commitment to Iowa Republicans.”

Trump may cancel June 10 appearance in Iowa

After Donald Trump announced this morning he was not running for president, I asked Iowa GOP officials what would happen with the scheduled June 10 Lincoln Day banquet which was to feature Donald Trump.  Their response this afternoon:

Iowa GOP Spokesman Casey Mills issued the comment below regarding the status of the June 10 Lincoln Dinner.

“While our invitation to Mr. Trump never hinged on a potential Trump candidacy, Iowans responded enthusiastically and with great interest in his appearance at our annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Today, it is our understanding that Mr. Trump is reassessing his commitment. We anticipate a final decision on his June 10 appearance will be made tomorrow and we will make further comments at that time.”

A phone call to Michael Cohen, the Trump aide who traveled to Iowa several weeks ago, has not been returned.

Pawlenty uses Trump line, mentions birth certificate controversy

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is one of the speakers at todays’ Save Our American Republic (SOAR)/ Tea Party Rally at the Iowa statehouse.  Pawlenty made it clear he’s not in the camp of folks who believe President Obama was not born in Hawaii.

“Now, I’m now not one to question the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate,” Pawlenty said. “But when you look at his policies, I do question what planet he’s from.”  The crowd cheered.

Pawlenty directly mentioned Donald Trump in his remarks.

“Now, I know Donald Trump is getting a lot of attention and he’s a bright and successful and accomplished person,” Pawlenty said. “But you know there’s a least the one thing that I think we should embrace from his other TV show, ‘The Apprentice’ and we should tell President Obama in 2012, ‘You know what? You’re fired.'” The crowd cheered; a few even repeated the “You’re fired!” line.

Pawlenty’s remarks at rally (13 min)
I’ll be back with more when my fingers thaw.

Trump to headline Iowa GOP fundraiser

Another sign from The Donald.  Read the Iowa GOP news release below:

Donald Trump to Headline Iowa GOP’s Lincoln Dinner

Continues tradition of high-profile speakers at Iowa GOP events

DES MOINES- Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn today announced that Donald J. Trump will headline the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual Lincoln Dinner. The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, June 10 in Des Moines and will be Trump’s first visit to Iowa this caucus season. 

“Mr. Trump’s speech at CPAC earlier this year caught the attention of many political observers and as the ‘First in the Nation’ caucus state, we extended an invite to allow Mr. Trump to introduce himself to Iowa Republicans,” Strawn said. “We are excited to have Mr. Trump share his vision for a better America through his experiences as an individual who has made a career as an entrepreneur and job creator.”

Strawn went on to say that Mr. Trump’s appearance is the latest in a long line of political leaders the Iowa GOP has hosted during his leadership of the party.

“As Chairman, I have made it a priority to deliver interesting and high-profile national Republican leaders to speak at our events. Mr. Trump’s appearance in June is the latest instance of the Iowa GOP working to provide value to its activists, donors and supporters.”

Iowa GOP officials noted that since January 2009, national leaders including Governor Haley Barbour, Governor Tim Pawlenty, Congressman Mike Pence, Governor Mitt Romney, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Congressman Ron Paul, Senator Rick Santorum, Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Rand Paul have each headlined an Iowa GOP event. 

Further details will be released closer to the event.

Trump guy, in Iowa, talks to media

A vice president from Donald Trump’s empire jetted into Iowa this morning.  Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn walked out to the Trump plane for a very brief meeting, then Michael Cohen (executive vice president and special counsel to Trump) spoke to a small group of reporters.  AUDIO: Remarks by Cohen 6 min.  Here’s the Radio Iowa story.

…Trump, a real estate developer who is the star of a reality show on network television, has been a target of comedians like David Letterman, who once joked he knew Trump was serious about running for president because he “threw his hair in the ring.”

Trump’s vice president bristles at the suggestion Trump is unelectable because he’s been the butt of those kind of jokes.

“As is President Obama, as well as Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Pawlenty, Sarah Palin — I believe they’ve all been made fun of,” Cohen said. “That’s what the press does. They like to have fun with anyone and everyone.”

 UPDATE:  a reader of the blog emails about the “small” Trump plane that landed in DSM today. 

It’s a Boeing 727–100. Hard to know how it’s been revamped by the Trump folks with hot tubs or whatever, but the original jet seated 94 passengers.

The Donald

If you had any doubts after that “60 Minutes” piece about Newton, Iowa, that Donald Trump had presidential aspirations (Trump sent one of the folks in the “60 Minutes” story some business advice), here’s more evidence.’ And Dave Price of WHO-TV spoke with Trump on WHO-AM yesterday afternoon.

Jim Leach endorses Obama

"It’s been a very difficult thing for me because I’ve never endorsed a Democrat before…but sometimes in life you come to a juncture where it’s very clear the national interest trumps party discipline," former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach said in a noontime interview with Radio Iowa.  Read more below.

Two updates below provide links to audio of Leach talking about his decision.

Former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach — a Republican — endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama this morning.  Leach, as you may recall, lost his bid for re-election in 2006 after three decades representing portions of eastern Iowa in congress.  Leach was considered a "moderate" Republican and was a backer of campaign finance reform.  Leach did not accept campaign contributions from political action committees. 

Leach became a professor at his alma mater — Princeton — and then was asked to be the interim director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government when its director left to run for the U.S. Senate. The institute’s new director is to start September 1, 2008 and Leach will return to Princeton for the fall semester. Leach’s wife has contributed the maximum amount allowed to Obama’s campaign.

Of additional note:  Leach shared an office with Dick Cheney when Cheney — and Leach — worked for Donald Rumsfeld in D.C.  decades ago.   Cheney spoke at a campaign fundraiser for Leach in Cedar Rapids in 2003.  Here’s the pertinent part:  "I appreciate your warm welcome. But I am especially pleased to be here today with Jim, because Jim and I have been friends for many, many years. Lynne and I have known Jim and Deba longer than we can count. Jim and I first got to know each other more than 30 years ago — I guess it was 1969 — when we both went to work for a young, up and comer then, a budding politician. Jim had already worked for him when he was in the House of Representatives. He was in his mid-30s. His name was Don Rumsfeld. And he was no longer a congressman from Illinois; he was running the Office of Economic Opportunity. And Jim and I went to work for him in the executive branch some 34, almost 35 years ago.

"Subsequent to that, of course, Jim had important assignments at the State Department, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. I went to work for President Ford. Eventually, in 1976, Jim got elected to the House of Representatives. In 1978, I got elected to the House of Representatives. My state of Wyoming was a little bit different than Iowa in the sense that we only had one congressman for the entire state. It was a small delegation. (Laughter.) But it was quality. (Laughter.)

"But, so I followed Jim by two years in the House, but one of the great privileges in the House are the friendships and the relationships that deepen as a result of your time there, and I had the great privilege of serving for ten years with Jim. And it has subsequently, obviously, been a great pleasure now to return to government, and one of the nice things about going back after I thought I’d finished my career in politics and planned to enjoy private life, to return back to Washington with the President and become part of his administration has been the privilege of renewing a lot of those old friendships and relationships with men and women that I had worked with previously, and now we’ve gotten back together again. And I think of people like Jim that I worked with in the Congress, and Don Rumsfeld is back at Defense. He hasn’t made any progress at all in about 30 years — same old job. (Laughter.) Colin Powell at the State Department, et cetera."

UPDATE:  Radio Iowa story, with Leach comments.  Includes 3 1/2 minutes MP3 file with Leach’s comments at the beginning of a conference call arranged by the Obama campaign.

UPDATE II: Radio Iowa interview with Leach (7 min MP3)

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