Five candidates say yes to Family Leader event

The Family Leader folks announced today that five GOP presidential candidates have agreed to appear at the group’s event in November.  Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Paul & Santorum have RSVP’d yes.  The group says Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have been “invited” but haven’t said yes or no yet.  Information from the group’s news release is copied below.

Saturday, November 19
4:00-6:00 PM
First Federated Church, Des Moines
The Thanksgiving Family Forum will not be your typical “debate”.  Instead, it will be a family discussion with the Republican Presidential candidates.  The candidates will be seated around a table in a family-friendly setting designed to learn not only what the candidates think about family issues, but also why they think what they think.   
We were intentional about selecting the weekend before Thanksgiving in the hope of giving Iowans something to discuss at the Thanksgiving dinner table. 
Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum (confirmed); Rick Perry and Mitt Romney (invited)


CitizenLink (A Focus on the Family Affiliate)
National Organization for Marriage
Location: First Federated Church, 4801 Franklin Ave., Des Moines, IA 
Time:  4:00-6:00 PM
Ticket Price:  $40
Family Pack:  4 Tickets for $125
Note:  All solicitation of funds in connection with this event are by The FAMiLY LEADER and not by any candidate.  Paid for by The FAMiLY LEADER and not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. 

Huckabee and Cain — a musical match-up

The staff for Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain just sent this (Cain’s a gospel singer; he recorded an album in ’96):

(Ames, IA)- Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain today announced the entertainment for his booth at the Ames straw poll festivities on Saturday, August 13, 2011.

Cain will join Governor Mike Huckabee at noon at the Friends of Herman Cain tent to share their musical talents with straw poll attendees.

“I am honored to have the Governor join me on stage for this historic event,” Cain said. “We share many commonalities, including the deepness of our Christian faith and our love of music,” Cain said. “I am humbled by his graciousness to share his musical gifts with me and I hope Iowa voters will enjoy the show.”

Both Cain and Governor Huckabee are supporters of the Fair Tax and both are Baptist ministers. Cain appeared on “Huckabee” on Saturday, May 28, 2011 on the FOX News Channel. He will appear on “Huckabee” again following the straw poll Saturday.

[Read more…]

Economy dominates; S&P downgrades (audio)

Pawlenty in Tiffin

Four Republican presidential candidates spoke earlier this evening in Tiffin, Iowa (in the Clear Creek Amana high school cafeteria) to Republicans in the area.  Two of them in particular (Tim Pawlenty & Newt Gingrich) hammered away at President Obama’s handling of the economy. Gingrich suggested the economy’s in such horrid shape “we need to actually try to solve problems before the election.”  Gingrich also suggested the president was inept. “We have a president who combines, in a remarkable way, radicalism with incompetence,” Gingrich said.  Pawlenty said Obama would be “beaten comfortably” if the election were held today.

The economy was the top drawer issue during the daylight hours on the campaign trail.  Tonight came word that Standard & Poors has downgraded the long-term U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA.  Two candidates have issued statements.

Statement from Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann:

“Tonight’s decision by S&P to downgrade our credit rating to AA+ is a historically significant and serious event for the United States. The United States has had a AAA credit rating since 1917. That rating has endured the great depression, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the terrorist attacks on 9/11. This President has destroyed the credit rating of the United States through his failed economic policies and his inability to control government spending by raising the debt ceiling.

“We were warned by all of the credit agencies that a failure to deal with our debt would lead to a downgrade in our credit rating, but instead he submitted a budget that had a $1.5 trillion deficit and then requested a $2.4 trillion blank check. President Obama is destroying the foundations of the U.S. economy one beam at a time. I call on the President to seek the immediate resignation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and to submit a plan with a list of cuts to balance the budget this year, turn our economy around and put Americans back to work.”

Statement from former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain:

On Tuesday, April 19, 2011, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner promised that America faced “no risk” of a credit downgrading. Less than six months later, he is proven shamefully wrong. As I have feared for months, the S&P has chosen to downgrade America’s credit rating from AAA, which we have always enjoyed, to AA+.

Perhaps this is because the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats never once demonstrated a willingness to propose its own ideas for meaningful spending cuts, something credit agencies signaled were necessary to redeem America’s financial standing in the world.

As a corporate executive, I’ve rescued companies from the brink of bankruptcy and returned them to profitability. That involved balancing budgets or even creating them in the first place, something that the Democratic leadership in Congress hasn’t done for 828 days. If I couldn’t run companies without budgets, how can the government?

I also had to make tough budgetary cuts to save companies. Leadership is about doing what’s right, even when it’s difficult. But somehow, that sort of idea was never floated among those within the Obama Administration.

Now, Americans are fearful for their retirements and for their children’s educational savings. This is a country known for dreamers and innovators, for thinkers and doers. And now, we are a nation living in fear.

This is a sad day for America. Such a rating is unfitting of the greatest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known. And such a weak leader is, as well.

[Read more…]

Cain: “I need to finish in the top three” @ Straw Poll (audio)

“I am in it to win. I am not in it to come in second,” Herman Cain said of his bid for the GOP’s 2012 presidential nomination.  He also set a bar for his finish in the August 13th Straw Poll. “I do believe I need to finish in the top three,” Cain said today in Des Moines. 

The Greater Des Moines Partnership and hosted a forum at the State Historical Building today featuring GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain.  The last time these groups had a presidential candidate in this space, the event was cut short because someone elsewhere in the building burned a bag of popcorn in a microwave, triggering the building’s fire alarms.  Mitt Romney told the crowd back on May 27 that he was “fully committed to Iowa” before he fully committed to a “safety first” strategy to lead an evacuate the building when the fire alarms sounded.  We on press row were told there’s a “no popcorn” order in the building today.

Cain was about half an hour late to today’s event.  A crowd of about 40 people were here waiting, far fewer than were here for Romney’s appearance.

“This marks my 25th time in Iowa…I just don’t have a condo yet,” Cain said to open his remarks.  “What distinguishes Herman Cain?….First, common sense solutions…The second thing…is the fact that I am a career problem-solver, not a career politician.”

He shifts directly to the economy.

“The business sector is the engine of economic growth and, in order to grow the ecoomy, we have to put more fuel in the engine, not more stuff in the caboose,” Cain said.  Health care reform, government regulations and the economic stimulus were “stuff in the caboose” according to Cain.

Cain’s analysis of the economy is that it’s “not just anemic, it’s pathetic.”

Cain outlined the elements of his plan for the economy: lower the top corporate and personal tax rates to 25 percent maximum; suspend all taxes on repatriated foreign profits; take cap gains tax to zero; make the Bush era tax rates permanent.

“Uncertainty is killing this economy,” Cain said. “…It has caused businesses to not want to grow or invest…so if we make those things certain, I am confident…it would put some fuel in the engine of this economy.”

[Read more…]

Cain @ Strong America Now event (audio)

Former Godfather’s CEO Herman Cain was the third presidential candidate to speak at today’s Strong America Now event in Des Moines.  He gave by far the shortest speech of the three.

AUDIO: 8 min

“We are in a national spending nightmare and we need a goal to balance the federal budget,” Cain said to open his remarks.  “It’s not going to get done by the committee of 535.  The only way it’s going to get done is with the right leadership in the White House where leadership is supposed to begin.”

Cain told the crowd it was time to  “get serious” about entitlement spending.  He talked about Social Security reform and his desire to transition to a “optional personal retirement accounts.”   Cain said the U.S. could “make that same conversion” with the “right leadership in the White House.”

Cain said he’d call upon “We, the people,” to get Washington to “see the light” about spending reform. “We’ve got to get away from being scared because it’s politically difficult and do what’s right for the United States of America,” Cain said.

During the Q&A session, the questioner (Hugh Hewitt) began by saying he was one of those who had questioned whether Cain should be on the stage for the New Hampshire debate. “You’re making me look pretty stupid, Herman,” Hewitt joked.

Hewitt next asked Cain about his comments on the Second Amendment, for which he’s caught some heat. Cain said he would support states deciding to do background checks for gun purchases, “but I did not in any way mean states have the right to restrict access to owning fire arms, so that was the misunderstanding.”

The two joked about their Q&A session being the only thing standing between the audience and lunch. “They are not serving Godfather’s Pizza, unfortunately,” Cain joked. “I’ve got bad news for ya.”

Cain: Trump’s “bully” approach not leadership (AUDIO)

Herman Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO who is likely to announce this Saturday that he’s running for president, now has the businessman profile all to himself with Donald Trump’s decision not to ru, has sole possession of the never-held public office before angle now that Donald Trump has announced he’s not going to run. (Mitt Romney, of course, is a businessman, but Iowans haven’t seen much of him.  I could claim out of sight, out of mind on Romney, but I’ll just correct the previous misstatement with a strike through.) 

“I was never threatened or concerned about Donald Trump in the first place, to be perfectly honest, because bullying, being a bully is not a leadership strategy, not if you want to lead the United States of America,” Cain just told a gathering of Iowa journalists.

AUDIO of full exchange 6 min

Cain also said it was wrong for congressional Republicans to even consider extending the debt ceiling.  “I think they should just say there’s not going to be an increase,” Cain said.

Read more about Cain’s remarks, including his contention that D.C. experience is not what’s required to change D.C.