Paul says Cain’s “inconsistent or…confused” on abortion issue

GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul seems to have some compassion for the plight of his competitor, Herman Cain, who is being lambasted for how he has described his views on abortion, as Paul says he has found some of the criticism “confusing.”  But Paul also uses that word to describe what Cain himself has said on the issue.

“Obviously he’s come across as either being inconsistent or very confused on that,” Paul said late this morning during an interview with Radio Iowa. “And this is one issue that supporters of the issue — they don’t want confusion.”

Ron Paul: death of Gaddafi a victory for “one world government”

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is raising concerns about the death of former Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi. 

“I think it’s the wrong way to do it,” Paul said late this morning in an interview with Radio Iowa. “This is victory for one-world government. This is a NATO/UN operation with our money in a pretense that we don’t have troops on the ground, and yet we do have advisors, CIA agents there.  It was our weapons and our money and so we have moral responsibility for it.”

Paul argues the “disarray” in Libya is exacerbated, not diminished, by the assassination of Gaddafi.  A civil process, where Gaddafi would have been tried in a court for his crimes, would have been preferable, according to Paul. 

“This is sort of going backwards from the rule of law. I mean we were further advanced at the end of World War II when they at least tried the Nazi war criminals.  I think one of the things that disturbs me the most is the celebration from the president and others who say this is just wonderful. I don’t like to see the celebration of death and that’s what we’re seeing now.”

In shifting to yesterday’s news, that nearly all American troops will be out of Iraq by year’s end, Paul said after nine years of U.S. involvement in Iraq, “the results have been bad.”

“We have to realize that the removal of the troops had to do with the breakdown of the negotiations. It’s because we couldn’t get an exemption from Iraqi laws for crimes that Americans might commit in this new country that we created, so that was the number one, but in reality America’s not leaving,” Paul said. “They’re leaving a lot of contractors. They’re leaving a huge embassy. I cannot believe all the military bases will be just given up and turned over. We’ll have to wait and see…There’s a lot of chaos there. I think there’s still a civil war going on there.”

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. 

@ Polk GOP picnic: Ron Paul

Texas Congressman Ron Paul was the first presidential candidate to speak at tonight’s Polk County GOP picnic.

Paul began by saying a reporter this past week had asked him a question, predicated on a stat that nearly half of Americans don’t pay the federal income tax.

Paul told the crowd here he had told the reporter this:  “We’re halfway there.”

Paul would abolish the federal income tax.  With fewer federal taxes, Paul says, ‘We wouldn’t have the entitlement system. We wouldn’t be the policeman of the world…Our problem is government is too big.  As government gets bigger, our personal liberties are diminished.”

Taxation is a symptom of what the nation’s addiction to “entitlements” according to Paul.

“The people have to change their appetite for government,” Paul said..

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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.

Ron Paul: debt ceiling debate is “artificial” (audio)

GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul is due in this hotel conference room in a few minutes.  In advance of his appearance, however, the chairman of Story County Republicans is announcing to the crowd that he’s endorsing Paul.  Rep. Jason Schultz is also here to give a brief testimonial explaining why he’s endorsed Paul.

“The establishment political class has led our federal government to debase our currency…and most importantly, they have lost the trust and the faith of the American people,” Schultz said, before introducing Paul to the crowd.

Paul began by thanking the crowd for taking time to be in the room. “I see a group like this as being rather unique because sometimes we…get the idea that every single person is really inerested (in politics)…It isn’t quite the case,” Paul said.  He suggested those who choose to participate in the Straw Poll next month will have an influence on the political process of something beyond even 1000-to-one, as Paul says the Straw Poll results can “make or break” campaigns.  Of the Iowa Caucuses, Paul suggested the contest “gives an opportunity for everybody to have a chance.”  Without mentioning Mitt Romney by name, Paul decried the “rich people (who) run for office”, who “every once in a while” win.

“Money just doesn’t buy everything,” Paul said. “…Ideas, issues and hard work are so important.”

AUDIO: Paul’s appearance in Ames. 50 min

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At least two for the 4th (updated)

UPDATED @ 1:10 p.m.

The 4th of July parade in Clear Lake back in 2007 was a big deal stop on the Iowa Caucus campaign trail, as Hillary and Bill Clinton walked the route.  It was the part of the former president’s first swing through Iowa for his wife’s campaign.  Mitt Romney was there in Clear Lake, too, with his campaign RV. The Clintons and Romney had a brief, handshake-type of encounter. (Barack Obama was in Iowa, too, that day back in 2007, but in places like Pella and in central Iowa.)

Sources say at least three two 2012 Republican presidential candidates will be in the 2011 Clear Lake 4th of July parade: Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich & Ron Paul. (UPDATE: The Ron Paul campaign called to say they will have supporters walking in the parade, but the congressman won’t be there.)

Real estate in Ames starting at $15,000

Texas Congressman/Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul won the bidding today for the prime piece of real estate just outside Hilton Coliseum in Ames for the Iowa GOP’s Straw Poll in August.  The party auctioned off spots today (in private), with a starting bid of $15,000.   The Ron Paul campaign sent out a press release announcing Paul had placed the highest bid, but did not disclosure the dollar amount. (The Register reports $31,000.)

According to sources, candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, and the aforementioned Ron Paul all had folks in the room to place bids.  Another person in the room was there for Congressman Thaddeus McCotter. a Michigan Republican who has indicated he may run for the GOP’s 2012 presidential nomination.  Today is the one and only day campaigns may buy Straw Poll party spots from the Grand Old Party in Iowa.

Campaigns of the past have staged concerts on their reserved spots on the grassy property outside Hilton Coliseum, although Crystal Gayle’s rendition of “Don’t It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue” at Lamar Alexander’s party set-up was perhaps an omen for Alexander’s 1999 Straw Poll performance. (Alexander dropped out of the race after a poor Straw Poll showing.)

Most campaigns have served food from their rented plots in Ames, although I remember only a keg of beer at Dan Quayle’s tent and a crew of ISU students who belonged to the same fraternity as Quayle enjoying the brew.

Steve Forbes has held the title of most extravagant Straw Poll party.  Forbes folks hosted a sit-down meal in an air-conditioned tent with a playground nearby for the kiddies.

Motorcycle entourages have also been a feature of the past, as both Morry Taylor and Pat Buchanan rolled into the parking lots outside Hilton Coliseum with a cavalcade of Harleys and other motorized bikes.

During last weekend’s edition of “Iowa Press” I asked Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn about the Straw Poll.

Henderson: Mr. Strawn, not far down the path your party will host a straw poll in Ames in August whereby republican presidential candidates will see a first test, so to speak, in the first caucus state.  There are critics of that straw poll.  They say you are fleecing the candidates by renting out the space, requiring an entry fee and also that this, in essence, gives Iowa two opportunities to have a first test in the campaign.  How do you handle that criticism?

Strawn: Well, I think a lot of those critics come from outside our border, people that are jealous that their state doesn’t have the first-in-the-nation status that Iowa does and I think some of those critics also don’t want to see Iowa republicans successful with our fundraising efforts.  But it is a great time to be an Iowa republican.   May marked the 27th consecutive month that Iowa republicans have gained on Iowa democrats in voter registration.  Since Barack Obama was inaugurated President more than 65,000 Iowans have left the ranks of registered Iowa democrats, that is over ten percent of their membership and I think we’re going to see that enthusiasm continue at the straw poll and I think it’s a great organizing tool not just for those presidential candidates to get a test of their organization but the fact that Iowa is one of eight states that will determine the presidency in November because it is a true swing state having a successful straw poll will help us organize for that.

Henderson: But you said it’s a successful fundraiser for the party.  You’re essentially raising funds from candidates who in the general election may be facing off against a President who has a billion dollar war chest.  Is that wise for your party to be siphoning off that money for the republican party of Iowa when it could go for those candidates farther on down the road?

Strawn: Well, actually every candidate makes a resource decision in every campaign.  It is extremely costly and expensive to advertise in the Boston media market to reach New Hampshire voters.  So, each individual candidate has to decide are they going to pay for expensive ads in Boston or are they going to pay for a $30- straw poll ticket in Ames?  I would suggest Mike Huckabee is a perfect example of how you get a tremendous return on your investment without investing a significant amount of resources.  If you as a candidate have a message that is connected with Iowa voters, they will vote for you in the straw poll and I have the perfect example.  I was in Clayton County last night up in Garnavillo, about as far as you can get from Ames, and people up there were talking about how excited they were to come to the straw poll and they haven’t even decided which candidate they’re going to support yet.  So, this notion that campaigns have to buy those tickets when individual Iowa republicans are excited to spend their own $30 to hear from the candidates I think really goes against that national narrative that hasn’t proven accurate.

Henderson: Ms. Dvorsky, the Iowa Democratic Party doesn’t face this criticism because you don’t have a straw poll in advance of the caucuses.  Why did you make that decision?

Dvorsky: Because we don’t fundraise off of people’s ability to vote whether it is in a vote that is an actual part of the electoral process, that’s just not how we fundraise.  What we do for organizing purposes, and of course Matt is right that that’s an organizational tool, we organize sort of the old fashioned way, we go out there and knock it.  So, the voter registration piece, we still have a 35,000 voter registration edge, that is not what’s going on with the straw poll.  The republican core of caucus goers is going to, you know, they will determine what that is but at the end of the day Matt is right about one thing, this will start here and it will also end here and when those, whoever that eventual nominee is, is going to have to come back here and they’re going to have to answer …

Borg: Isn’t that the very question, though, Mr. Strawn, playing off Kay’s question here — you said that this is a time to, for voters to be able to meet candidates and so on.  Mitt Romney isn’t even going to be in the straw poll and yet this is a major winnowing of candidates function.  How relevant can the straw poll be if one of the major candidates isn’t even participating?

Strawn: Well, that ultimate decision is going to be made by the voters.  It isn’t for the chairman of the party, who has to remain neutral in the process, to assess the wisdom of different candidate decisions.  One thing we do know given a very fluid field here in Iowa there are a lot of campaigns that need to test their organization to see how their message is resonating with Iowans and I have great confidence that the straw poll is going to be a tremendous success, not just from the benefit of the republican party of Iowa but for those candidates and for those Iowans that are looking for new leadership.  I mean, at the end of the day when you have an incumbent president it is going to be a referendum on the failed leadership of Barack Obama.  And part of that process of getting Iowa’s six electoral votes for the republican nominee starts with a successful straw poll that helps our party organize here in Iowa

Another State Central Committee member endorses Paul

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul held a news conference in late April in Des Moines, formally revealing three of the members of the Iowa GOP’s state central committee were joining the Ron Paul campaign team.  Today, another member of the state central committee — Jeremiah Johnson, a native of Dubuque — has committed to Paul.

There are 17 voting members on the Iowa GOP’s state central committee, five from each of the five congressional districts in Iowa, plus the two Iowans who serve on the Republican National Committee.  (The state party has redone its website.  The names of the central committee members are not featured on it of I’d link to it.)

Paul made a stop in Dubuque late this morning, en route to New Hampshire for tonight’s debate.  Drew Ivers, another member of the state central committee, is leading Paul’s Iowa campaign, as he did in 2008. Ivers says about 175 people were at the Dubuque event.