King’s aide endorses Santorum

Chuck Laudner, former executive director of the Iowa GOP in 2007-08 and a long-time aide to Congressman Steve King, has endorsed Rick Santorum.

Urbandale, IA – Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) announced today that his campaign has received the endorsement of leading Iowa conservative Chuck Launder. Laudner will work with the Santorum campaign to organize its grassroots efforts throughout Iowa.
 
Chuck Laudner said: “Senator Santorum has been a consistent, conservative leader – not just in good times, but when the times have been tough.  Senator Santorum has stood tall for faith, family, and the freedoms Iowans care deeply about.  He has also worked tirelessly to earn the votes of Iowa Republicans and has shown a true commitment to grassroots organizing and retail politics that Iowans demand.  Senator Santorum stands out from the pack as the most accomplished, best equipped, and best prepared to not just take on President Obama, but lead the nation.  I am excited about the opportunity to work with the Santorum campaign and elect Rick Santorum the next President of the United States.”
 
Senator Santorum said: “I am thrilled to have Chuck’s endorsement.  Chuck has been a leading voice for the Republican Party in Iowa and for conservative values. Chuck was an influential leader in the campaign to unseat Supreme Court justices that took it upon themselves to redefine marriage, and he has been a loyal and trusted counselor to one of our nation’s brightest conservative stars in Congress – Steve King – which speaks volumes for Chuck’s ability and principles.  I am greatly looking forward to working with Chuck as we work toward victory in the Iowa Caucuses.”
 
Chuck Laudner is a well-respected and well-known Iowa conservative leader.  Laudner has served as Executive Director of the Republican Party of Iowa, as well as Chief of Staff to Congressman Steve King (R-IA).  During the 2010 election cycle, Laudner was campaign manager for Iowa for Freedom, the successful campaign to unseat three Iowa Supreme Court justices who took it upon themselves to redefine marriage in Iowa.

Santorum talks about OWS and bail-out

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was the second GOP presidential candidate to get 15 minutes at the National Association of Manufacturers forum in Pella this morning.  Santorum brought up the Occupy Wall Street movement in making the argument for his tax plan which would completely eliminate the corporate income tax.

“We’re still innovating in America, except we’re not producing what’s being innovated here and it’s one of the reasons that you see these Wall Street protesters and they’re concerned that you know the sort of middle of America is being hollowed out,” Santorum said, “that the wealth that’s being created by the innovators is not trickling down to the folks who would make those products.”

Toward the end of his remarks Santorum again drew a contrast between himself and the “top three candidates for president on the Republican side” who he said had “all” supported the Wall Street bail-out. “I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing” (for the party to nominate someone who supported TARP), Santorum said.

Santorum, referring to rivals, asks: “Can they be trusted?”

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum was the last of six candidates to speak this evening at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition banquet in Des Moines.  “Are you numb yet?” Santorum asked when he got behind the microphone. “…”This is my 5433 trip to Iowa — just a little exaggeration.”

Santorum noted he has visited 78 of Iowa’s 99 counties and soon suggested this is the choice for Iowa Republicans who are evaluating the candidates: “Can they be trusted?”

Santorum suggested “a lot of policy prescriptions” had been offered by the five other candidates this evening, but Santorum asked: “Did they fight those fights when they had the opportunity?”

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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. 
 
Candidates:
Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum (confirmed); Rick Perry and Mitt Romney (invited)

Co-Sponsors: 

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. 

Straw Poll 2011: Santorum, Paul & Pawlenty speeches

Six Republican presidential candidates gave speeches in Ames at the 2011 Straw Poll. Below is a live blog of the first three speeches.

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Round 3: foreign focus, sharp quarrel over Iran

Round three of tonight’s GOP candidate debate allowed each of the candidates to explain some of their previous statements on foreign policy, and gave Jon Huntsman a chance to argue his background with China would be helpful since China is our chief economic competitor.

However, the most animated exchange in this round came when Ron Paul and Rick Santorum quarreled over U.S. policy toward Iran.

“Iran is not Iceland, Ron,” Santorum said.

Paul shot back: “We just plain don’t mind our own business. That’s our problem.”

Later, Santorum suggested Paul was “obviously not seeing the world very clearly.”

Paul shot back at the conclusion of the segment, denouncing militarism: “It’s time we quit this. It’s trillions of dollars we’re spending on these wars.”  The crowd broke out in applause and boos as this round concluded.

Round 2: Gingrich v. media, Santorum v Bachmann, Pawlenty v RomneyCare

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was the central character in the opening of round two of tonight’s debate in Ames.  Gingrich rapped Chris Wallace of FOX News, accusing him of asking “gotcha questions” and followed that a bit later by referencing “Mickey Mouse games” in the media. It’s a media Gingrich alleged pays too little interest to “the ideas that distinguish us from Barack Obama” and too much attention to campaign minutia.

It also bears mentioning in this context of confrontation-with-the-media that Romney, in round one of the debate, also hit back Bret Baier of FOX News with, “I’m not going to eat Barack Obama’s dog food,” when pressed to say whether he — Romney — would have vetoed the debt ceiling deal congress passed earlier this month.

It was also in this round that Santorum criticized Bachmann for a sort of all-or-nothing strategy on legislating and governing.  “You need people who are good at leadership, not showmanship,” Santorum said.

Pawlenty near the end of this round was given another swing at the “RomneyCare” question he was asked in the last debate.

“I don’t want to miss that chance again, Chris,” Pawlenty said, saying “RomneyCare” was a “fair label.” Pawlenty also poked at some other points of Romney’s record as governor, saying, “we’re going to have to show contrast, not similarities” with President Obama.

Romney was allowed to jump in at this point. “I think I liked Tim’s answer at the last debate better,” Romney quipped.  He offered his 10th amendment defense.

Bachmann was then asked whether she believes states have the authority to require people to buy health insurance.  “Government is without authority to compel a person to purchase a product or service,” Bachmann said.

Paul, when he was asked to weigh in, said both parties have developed a medical system that is “based on corporatism.”

Santorum jumped in, arguing there are limits to states rights, such as when states try to allow polygamy.

Santorum promises to be “Johnny One Note”

The coffee of the day was hazelnut at the Corner Sundry Store in Indianola, but GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum opted for something cold to start his latest campaign day in Iowa.  About a dozen people were gathered in the shop as Santorum answered questions on a variety of topics.

“What do you think of the debt deal?” was among the last questions asked of the candidate.

Santorum answered it this way: “Was it a bad deal? No, in the sense that Republicans can say that, ‘Well, we didn’t have a tax increase and we did do some spending cuts.’ But, yeah, we got some spending cuts — a few — and the future spending cuts may be out of defense, which I am very much against, and there may be tax cuts in the future.  That does not make me feel very comfortable that we got a deal that was the best deal.

“Why didn’t we get a good deal? Number one: because we didn’t have leadership; we didn’t have a clear message and we didn’t define the terms to the American public from the very beginning. I tried and I said that what we should not be talking about is the McConnell plan or some sort of other plan, even — I supported cut, cap and balance and that was fine. The problem is really what we should be talking about is balance. I mean, cut, cap is great, but everybody knows that you can play games with all these cuts. ‘Oh, we’re going to cut $3 trillion, $4 trillion over 10 years.’ Yeah, well, but $3 trillion of that is in the last three years of the 10 and it’ll never happen.

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Santorum says let them eat jam at Straw Poll

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a GOP presidential candidate, drove his entire family to Iowa, arriving in the state last night after a 16-hour cross-country trip.  He’s embarked on a sort of three-week family vacation in which he’ll campaign around Iowa and at a few of the stops his wife and seven children will join him.

That was not the case this morning.  I referred to as a “father’s dream start to a family vacation” in a question I posed to Santorum, asking why the kids weren’t with him this morning in Ankeny for his 8:15 a.m. campaign stop.  Santorum said one of his sons was going to accompany him, but just couldn’t get out of bed that early.  Santorum indicated most of his family was still in bed when he left the cabin where the family is staying.

“The kids are going to be fishing and four-wheeling and doing some fun stuff today, not that this (campaigning) isn’t fun — don’t get me wrong — but they deserve a break today and I’ll be spending some time with the tomorrow night,” he said, explained a few minutes later the reason for having his family in Iowa: “I’m going to be here…and I don’t want to be away from my family for three weeks.”

Santorum said before the family left home, he and the kids made peach jam using peaches from their own trees.  He plans to serve that jam to people who stop by his tent at the Iowa Straw Poll August 13.  No word, though, on whether that jam will be served on crackers, bread, toast or scones.  Maybe BYOB (bring your own bread)?

Santorum doing a “quarter Dodd”

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s aides have just emailed out a schedule for the Santorum family’s travels through Iowa in advance of next month’s Straw Poll.  The campaign told the national press yesterday.  Staying in Iowa hotels for a couple of weeks is sort of a “quarter Dodd” — a reference to 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Christopher Dodd’s decision to actually move into a rented home in Des Moines in 2007, enroll his child in an Iowa elementary school and make Iowa his base of operations.  Didn’t quite work out as Dodd had planned.

According to Santorum”s campaign news release this morning, the family plans to visit “over 50 Iowa cities” in the next three weeks.