Mike Pence @ Iowa F&F banquet

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence is this evening’s keynote speaker for the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition banquet.  It’s part of a reallignment of the old Christian Coalition.  The Iowa Christian Coalition renamed itself the Iowa Christian Alliance in 2006, and when Ralph Reed launched the national Faith & Freedom Coalition last year, the Iowa Christian Alliance allied itself with Reed’s group.

What follows is a live blog of the event.

Gopal Krishna is the master of ceremonies this evening and he joked with the crowd about the process of becoming a naturalized citizen, then Krishna offered a top ten list for immigrants, beginning with “speak English” and also including:  “If God offends you, we suggest you consider some other part of the world as your new home.”

Krishna introduced the statewide GOP candidates who are in the crowd, including GOP lieutenant governor nominee Kim Reynolds (Terry Branstad is not here).

Third district congressional candidate Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, was allowed to speak to the crowd.  “You have probably turned on the TV and you’ve seen some personal attacks on me that have been taken out of context,” Zaun said. “…Congressman Boswell is a nice man…but I feel very passionate about what’s going on and it’s unfortunate about these ads and campaign.  I would challenge Congressman Boswell just one time, in one ad, just give us a solution.”

Zaun gave a very brief speech, mentioning what his living situation will be if he’s elected: “I’m going to get a sofa that folds up to a bed and live in my office.”

[Read more…]

Latham & Boehner

As you may recall, House Minority Leader John Boehner did a fundraiser last month for Congressman Tom Latham (R-Ames).  POLITICO has a story today about Latham’s relationship/friendship/political partnership with Boehner.

It reminds me of the Bob Dole/Chuck Grassley friendship.  The two were close, but Grassley never revealed much about the friendship.  When asked at the 1996 Republican National Convention about his relationship with Dole, Grassley (essentially) said he wasn’t going to talk about it.  Grassley hinted that was why he and Dole were friends, because Grassley didn’t blab about it.  If you read the POLITICO piece, you’ll see Latham isn’t “blabbing” about Boehner either.  Perhaps it’s a Midwestern thing? 

In 1996 when Dole’s nomination as the GOP presidential candidate was confirmed on the convention floor in San Diego, and the national networks took a live picture feed from the hotel room where Dole was watching the procedings, it wasn’t E. Dole sitting on the couch with B. Dole.  It was Grassley.  A Dole campaign aide, knowing “the picture” to capture the moment Dole was nominated was near, had approached Grassley and asked him to move off the couch so Dole’s wife could sit there.  Dole told his campaign aide Grassley wasn’t moving.

Palin in Des Moines

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is due to speak soon in Des Moines.  A crowd of over 1500 is assembled in Hy-Vee Hall, seated around tables, 10 chairs at each table, with a piece of chocolate cake ready for each guest.  Click here; the audio from the speech is at the bottom of the page. What follows is a live blog of the event.

The pastor who delivered this evening’s prayer gave a brief speech beforehand which was interrupted frequently with applause.  State Auditor Dave Vaudt led the crowd in saying The Pledge, then Congressman Steve King gave a brief speech, followed by Congressman Tom Latham’s brief remarks. 

About an hour ago Iowa Republican Party chairman Matt Strawn said tonight’s event is “tightly scripted” — which means some candidates will not be given a chance to speak.

Jim Gibbons, the former Iowa State University wrestling coach who ran for congress in the third district, is the chairman of the banquet. Gibbons said the party found out about the event “about two weeks ago and the response has been overwhelming.”

Gibbons is introducing the candidates in the audience, state legislators and candidates for the legislature, followed by the statewide candidates who are here (Ag Secretary Bill Northey’s at a convention somewhere), concluding with the congressional candidates.  Gibbons gave a special zing to his introduction of Brad Zaun, the man who beat Gibbons in the June Primary.

Chuck Grassley gets to the stage just before seven o’clock.  The crowd rises to applaud. (It’s his 77th birthday today, BTW, but I hear no one singing “Happy Birthday” to Grass-lee.)  “Can I make one thing clear…that we work for you, you don’t work for us?” Grassley began.  His speech text sounds quite similar to the one he delivered at the state GOP convention in late June.

“Barbara and I have always appreciated your support…We need your support this year.  Together, we will reclaim America,” Grassley said in conclusion.

Terry Branstad, the GOP nominee for governor, is next, at 7:02 p.m.  “God Bless You Iowa Republicans.  I’m glad to be back and I’m going to lead this whole ticket to victory this fall with your help,” Branstad yelled to open his remarks.

“This is a great turn-out and I want to thank all of you for being here.  I want to thank Sarah Palin for drawing such a great crowd,” Branstad said. 

Branstad concluded at 7:08 p.m. “Let’s lead the whole Republican team, including the legislature to victory.  Thank you all very much.”

The lights were dimmed.  A video montage of President Ronald Reagan is being played.  At 7:10 p.m. Iowa GOP chair Strawn is on stage, talking about Reagan.

“It was Iowa, in 2008, that helped propel Obama to the White House but my, oh my, how Iowa has changed,” Strawn said before touting the slate of Iowa Republican candidates on the November ballot.

Strawn introduces Palin at 7:12 p.m.

“Welcome, welcome,’ Palin said.  “Thank you so much Iowa.  I am so honored to be here…Great to be in the Hawkeye State and happy Constitution Day to you all.”

Palin noted it is National POW/MIA Day today, too, and she asked veterans in the audience to stand for a round of applause.

“We do you thank you and we honor you,” Palin said.

Palin told a story about wanted to go for a run today “in your most beautiful state” so she could enjoy the fall weather.  She said she donned a Hawkeye t-shirt and a Cyclone cap. It was “showing love for the home team,” she said.

Palin told the crowd her husband, Todd, advised her to run on the treadmill in the hotel.  The punchline would be a headline in Vanity Fair, according to Palin, which would read: “Palin, in Iowa, decides to run.”

The crowd laughed and clapped. “Oh, but I did run. Outside the box.

Palin praised Branstad and talked about her Twitter endorsement of him.  “Someday I hope my son is big enough and strong enough to shake your next governor’s hand, Gerry Branstad’s,” she said.

Palin next talked about Iowa’s senior senator. “Senator Grassley has a special place in my heart.  He’s the only guy who loves to Twitter as much as I do,” Palin quipped.

She mentions Grassley’s 77th birthday, the praised him for opposing the “mother of all unfunded mandates” — the health care reform package.

Palin advocated “reform and replace” rather than repeal of the “government over-reach in Washington.”

Palin did a shout out to Brenna Findley, the GOP candidate for Iowa attorney general, and Kim Reynolds, Branstad’s running mate.

You are good people, Iowa,” Palin said, to applause. “Iowa and all across the great U.S., we have some great common sense conservatives who are putting it all on the line…fighting, fighting for what is right and a lot of them just fought some tough primary battles…Competition is good.  Healthy competition breeds success…and this all reveals character.

“But the time for primary debate is over.  It’s time for unity..because the time for choosing is near. 

“It is time to unite.  If the goal really is to take away the gavel from Pelosi and Reid and to stop the Obama agenda…then it is time to unite and congratulations to the primary voters and to the primary victors.

“Now, unsuccessful GOP campaigns and deflated political pundits, remember: attitudes are contagious, so make sure yours are worth catching.  Quick, just quick woodshed moment.  I think that’s just what mom’s kind of gotta do and momma grizzlies, but I’ll try not to growl, OK? But unsuccessful campaigns and Beltway pundits, all bent out of shape right now after some recent primary battles, I’ve got to ask:  Did you ever lose a big game growing? I’ve lost.  I’ve lost games, races,reputation.  You lose some, you win some. 

“…I know growing up, my folks would say, ‘Show grace.  Reveal character.’…My dad was more along the lines of ‘Don’t retreat, just reload.’

The audience applauded.

“Either way, it’s for the sake of our country…Reload with character and truth and helpful efforts to restore what’s right about America and what will work for America…So let us unite.  Primary voters have spoken.

“Now, I don’t know how the machine works.  I don’t really know who they are…up in that hierarchy in the GOP machine…I think some of those experts were the ones who were wrong…so I don’t know who organizes the efforts that is needed to put obsessive partisanship aside when it gets in the way of just doing what is right for the American people and those internal power struggles that need to be set aside for the good of the order.”

She next talked about “the great Awakening of America” and the need to raise money and knock on doors.

“We’ve got to hold the press accountable when you know that they’re making things up and telling untruths.  We’ve got to do this together,” Palin said.

The crowd applauded.

“And by the way, I am the biggest proponent of freedom of the press in this country, our young men and women in uniform willing to fight and die for our constitutional rights, including that right to have free press. It’s why I am hot on this lamestream media issue…How dare anyone disrespect the troops’ sacrifice by claiming the right to print and say anything without a corresponding responsibility to truth!”

More applause.

“And in this kind of strange, unaccountable day of anyone and everyone getting to claim that they are a journalist…when the media uses…anonymous sources to cowardly attack someone…they are cowards and the journalists perpetuating the problem, the untruths, they are gutless.”

“…And we’ve got to call it like we see it or things will never change, America.”

Palin next mentioned President George W. Bush’s chief political advisor who has been critical of Christine O’Donnell, Palin’s pick in the Delaware primary who won this past Tuesday.  “And Karl.  Go to, here.  You can come to Iowa and Karl Rove and the other leaders who will see the light and realize that these are just the normal, hardworking, patriot Americans who are saying, ‘No. Enough is enough. We want to turn this around and we want to get back to those time-tested truths that are right for America.’

“But Iowa, but we won’t wait, though as we desire the sincere effort knowing that yes, everyone can help.  Those with scruples, working together…This is it, GOP.  This is out time.  We can’t blow it, but we won’t wait for that political playbook to be handed us from on high, from the elites, to tell us what to do.  We won’t do that.”

Palin referred to the second stimulus as “nonsense.”  She quoted an analysis of the cost of each job created by the first stimulus. “And I’m the idiot, hmm,yeah!” Palin joked.

“…November 2nd is just ahead and that’s shaping up to be a great day for America.”

She touted tax cuts for all, keeping all the Bush tax cuts intact. “Cutting taxes.  It works.  Mayors do it,” Palin said.  “…Governors do it…Hey, so feds, let the private sector soar and America will soar again.”

She talked about Obama’s foreign policy, quoting a European official who called it “enemy centric.”

“There’s a disturbing pattern here of reaching out to our sworn enemies…foolish, and how long can that go on,” Palin said.

The Obama Administration’s foreign policy is “a far cry from Ronald Reagan days,” according to Palin, who cited a Reagan quote:  “We win.  They lose.”

She begins to wind down, saying it’s time to reprioritize. “It may take some renegades to get us there…Shakin’ it up to get there.”

“…Lately, there hasn’t been much coming out of Washington that deserves our support…and based on what I’ve seen over the past year…Times may be tough, but there are signs of hope all over the place…Des Moines, Davenport and Dover, Delaware.”

She mentions the “Tea Parties.”

“…So between now and November we’re going to stand up and speak up…We’re going to elect leaders who have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”

“…Iowa, it starts here.  It starts tonight.  Let’s get it back.  God bless Iowa.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.”

She ended her speech at 7:46 p.m.

Latham, Maske meet on Iowa Press set

Congressman Tom Latham (R-Ames) and Bill Maske, the Democratic challenger in Iowa’s fourth congressional district, are the guests on this weekend’s edition of IPTV’s Iowa Press.  Maske (the “e” at the end of his name is silent) retired from his job as superintendent of the Interstate 35 School District in Truro in January to campaign full time. (Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a school district named Interstate 35 — and there are students from New Virginia in the district, too.)  Latham is seeking a ninth term in the U.S. House.

Here’s the Radio Iowa story of today’s event. 

The two operations at the center of the national egg recall are located in the district.  During the show, both answers the basic question:  what should be the federal response?

Latham: “They should enforce the law.  There should have been inspectors there.  They should have been doing their job and, unfortunately, they haven’t been.  As far as regulation are already in place that would have caught this if, in fact, the USDA had told FDA about what was going on. FDA has dropped the ball, but the regulations are there.  It’s a matter of enforcement, of holding people accountable and it simply is, obviously, we’re the number one egg producing state in the country, almost double Ohio and it is something that is very disruptive as far as our whole ag economyto have those problems in place.”

Maske:  “Well, my opponent said a number of things.  First off, he’s right.  There’s a lot of outrage out there amongst the constituents.  I have been out in amongst the fourth congressional district for 10 months now, continuously talking with people and they’re upset and not, it’s the fact that deregulation occured under the Republican-led congress and under the Bush administration.  They’re upset at all the tax breaks that have been extended to the wealthy and to corporate America that allows them to take jobs out of this country and that allows them to, the sweetheart deals, so to speak, for the oil companies.  They’re upset that things aren’t being done to protect consumers and protect the American people and so that plays right into the egg situation because it was a matter of not having enough regulations, enough oversight and not having the government employees in place that was needed to ensure that those regulations were enforced.”

Both Latham and Maske said they have not received campaign contributions from Jack DeCoster’s family.  DeCoster operates Wright County Egg and Hillendale Farms, the two egg-producing operations subject to the egg recall.

Latham, Maske debate October 12

Here’s the news release announcing the details of the debate between the two major party candidates in Iowa’s fourth congressional district:

Latham, Maske agree to debate on KGLO
 
The candidates in Iowa’s Fourth District Congressional race have agreed to a 90-minute-long discussion of the issues next month in Mason City. Incumbent Republican Tom Latham and Democratic challenger Bill Maske have agreed to a radio debate to be hosted by KGLO Radio on Tuesday October 12th from 10:00-to-11:30 AM.
 
Latham, who grew up in Alexander and resides in Ames, has served Iowans in Congress since 1995. Maske is making his first run at political office after serving for the last 25 years as an educational administrator, including a stint as the Belmond-Klemme superintendent. He resigned last January as the superintendent of the Interstate 35 school district in Truro to run against Latham.
 
The debate will take place at the KGLO studios and can be heard on AM-1300 KGLO on October 12th as well as worldwide along the internet through the local news page at
www.discovernorthiowa.com .

Boehner in Iowa

Ohio Congressman John Boehner, the top Republican in the U.S. House, is in Iowa for a couple of fundraisers.  Tonight’s event, at a private home in Ankeny, is to benefit the NRCC.  Here’s (most of) the letter Congressman Tom Latham of Ames sent about it:

I am writing today to invite you to a very special reception taking place in Iowa on September 2nd.  My good friend – and the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives – Republican Leader John Boehner will be in Iowa for an important event benefiting the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
 
…I know that you are getting many requests for help these days.  But, I want you to know that I believe that this is one of the most important elections in nation’s history. We must elect at least 39 new Republicans to gain control of Congress and stop President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s left-wing, jobs-killing agenda, and put forward better, common-sense Iowa solutions to the challenges facing families and small businesses.
 
The time to act is now!  

Boehner will be the main drawn for a private fundraiser tomorrow on behalf of Republican congressional candidate Brad Zaun.  Both Boehner events in Iowa are closed to the press.

Iowa Farm Bureau endorses five Republicans

The Iowa Farm Bureau’s political action committee has made its endorsements for the fall election.  Read the release below.

IOWA FARM BUREAU ANNOUNCES 2010 FRIENDS OF AG, RECORD STATEWIDE MEMBER PARTICIPATION
 
WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Aug. 17, 2010 – The Iowa Farm Bureau Political Action Committee (PAC) has named its selections for the 2010 Friends of Agriculture endorsement. Candidates seeking state and national offices this fall have earned endorsement by the state’s largest grassroots farm organization based on their support of agriculture, voting record and support for Iowa’s rural communities.
 
“Friends of Agriculture designations are carefully chosen for demonstrating support for our farmers and issues that directly impact their families, businesses and communities. It comes down to more than words; it’s their actions that are also examined,” said Mary Heintz, PAC Chair and a farmer from Marengo. “This year, 95 out of 100 Farm Bureau counties participated in the designation process. That record participation shows our farmers are motivated to support candidates that support farmers and rural Iowa during this very crucial election period. The candidates chosen must have a clear understanding and voting record of support for Farm Bureau policy,” said Heintz.
 
In the Iowa Governor’s race, the Iowa Farm Bureau PAC has chosen Terry Branstad and for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey. Chuck Grassley was identified as a Friend of Agriculture in the U.S. Senate race.
 
Tom Latham (District 4) and Steve King (District 5) were also recognized as Friends of Agriculture in the congressional races. The Farm Bureau PAC also gave the designation to candidates in 11 Iowa Senate and 51 Iowa House districts.
 
The grassroots effort to designate Friends of Agriculture is guided by members and begins in July when county committees start evaluating candidates. The nine-member PAC committee carefully reviews evaluations and questionnaires, while also considering candidates’ positions on issues of importance to members, leadership on Farm Bureau priorities and past voting records.

Here is the list of all the candidates who are “friends” of the Farm Bureau’s PAC.

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A week away

I’ve been away from the blog for a week.  A lot of political hay has been made in that time, from Tom Vilsack’s firing of a black USDA employee to campaign cash reports to a senate committee’s vote on Elena Kagan.

Here are some of the bales of political hay that I’ve missed, in no particular order:

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, the US Ag Secretary, has a starring role in this week’s DC tempest.  Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Todd Dorman has a link to the video of Vilsack’s apology for firing Shirley Sherrod.  Wonkette has been blogging about it.

Money, money, money.  Bleeding Heartland had a take on fundraising in the US Senate race and the five Iowa congressional races.  The Iowa Republican offered its analysis of the $$$ in the congressional races.  Blogger John Deeth did an analysis of fundraising in state legislative races.  The Des Moines Register’s Tom Beaumont reports on the fundraising in the Culver v Branstad race.  Hint:  the Democratic and Republican Governors Associations are spending mightily.  Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports potential ’12 presidential candidates are raising money, an indication of intentions down the road.

Senator Chuck Grassley voted no on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan when her nomination came up in the US Senate Judiciary Committee.  Roxanne Conlin, Grassley’s Democratic opponent, issued this statement:

(Des Moines)—Senator Grassley continued to obstruct progress today as he voted against the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Below is a statement from Democratic US Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin:
 
“Senator Grassley opposes Wall Street reform, he opposes extending unemployment benefits to thousands of jobless Iowans and now he opposes filling the Supreme Court vacancy despite decades of support for past nominations.  Senator Grassley’s failure to act on unemployment benefits is costing Iowans food and shelter.  He gave $700 billion to Wall Street but refused to hold them accountable and now he’s casting only his second vote against a Supreme Court nominee in his thirty years in the U.S. Senate.”

Grassley and Conlin, on what happens in Vegas & DC. 

The Iowa Taxpayers Association issued a news release with its take on the FY 2011 state budget the 2010 legislaure drafted.

The largest state employees’ union — AFSCME Council 61 — endorsed Governor Culver’s reelection bid.

Des Moines, IA – This Saturday, July 17th, at the AFSCME Iowa Council 61 PEOPLE Endorsement Conference, the PEOPLE Committee made the decision to endorse Chet Culver for Iowa’s Governor.
Governor Chet Culver received the nod from AFSCME due to his support of such programs as the State Employee Retirement Incentive Program (SEIRP) and efforts to reform state government through the massive reorganization that the state began this year.  Cuvler’s opponent, Terry Branstad, has a record that public employees remember that includes refusing to honor collective bargaining agreements bargained in good faith and contracting or attempting to contract out state services and jobs.  His current pledges concern AFSCME members as well, like his pledge to eliminate many of their jobs that are important to the operation of state government, and to drain the state treasury further by cutting corporate income taxes further at a time of tight budgets at all levels of government.

“Our members who worked under Terry Branstad remember the way in which he treated public employees during his rule, and our younger members are aware of his current pledges to cut them if he is elected.  With those options in front of AFSCME members, the choice was very clear to them,” said Danny Homan, President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61. “We need to continue to move forward under Chet Culver, not backward under Terry Branstad.”

In Iowa, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 61 represents 40,000 public employees including law enforcement and correctional officers, home health care and child care providers, firefighters, mental health workers, professional school staff, emergency responders, and many other workers.

The three Democrats and two Republicans in Iowa’s congressional delegation  agree on something. 

Iowa Congressmen Seek Presidential Approval of Disaster Declaration Request
House Members Act to Spur Relief for Iowans Impacted by Severe Weather

Washington, D.C.- House Members of the Iowa Congressional delegation today sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that he quickly approve Gov. Chet Culver’s request for a disaster declaration for Iowa counties that have recently suffered significant damage from a severe weather system that began on June 1, 2010 and continues today.  The storm system has produced high winds, heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding which have caused extensive damage throughout the state. Gov. Culver submitted his official request for a disaster declaration to President Obama on July 6.

Statements of Congressmen Braley, King, Boswell, Latham and Loebsack follow:

“In recent weeks and months, severe weather has taken a serious toll on communities across the state of Iowa,” said Braley. “It is critical now, just as it was following the floods of 2008, for the federal government to respond quickly and efficiently to give our communities the tools they need to recover. I look forward to working with President Obama, Governor Culver and my colleagues here in Washington to make sure Iowa’s small towns and families aren’t hung out to dry.”

 “Iowa has been hit hard by the severe weather systems that have moved through our state, and the people who have been affected expect a swift and efficient response,” said King. “In Cherokee County, for example, the waters exceeded the 1993 flood levels. There is no doubt that the request for federal help to these areas is appropriate and I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Culver, the members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation and President Obama to ensure that this assistance is approved quickly.”

“For the second time in two years, flood waters have ravaged homes, farmland and businesses across the state,” said Congressman Leonard Boswell. “I support Governor Culver’s request for presidential disaster declarations for several Iowa counties that have been impacted by the flooding. Many Iowans are still trying to recover and rebuild from the floods of 2008 and this summer’s weather has set them further behind. I encourage the President to issue these declarations in order to help Iowa’s families and small businesses get back on their feet.”

“The severe weather that has recently struck throughout Iowa requires a coordinated and efficient response,” said Congressman Latham. “Iowans are no strangers to severe weather and I have no doubt that the impacted communities will come back stronger than ever. However there is a legitimate need for federal help, and I’ll do everything I can to work with my colleagues to make sure that need is met.”

“Iowa has struggled since the Floods of 2008, and the current flooding is hurting our state’s ongoing recovery efforts,” said Loebsack. “I support this request to help affected residents, businesses, and farmers and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that this is handled in a timely manner. Iowans are in trouble and we must assure them that help is on the way.”

The text of the letter follows:

July 20, 2010

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President,

We respectfully request that you grant the request made July 6, 2010 by Iowa Governor Chet Culver for a declaration of a major disaster for the State of Iowa as a result of damages from a severe weather system that produced high winds, heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, flooding and tornadoes beginning June 1, 2010 and continuing. Governor Culver has determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance is needed.

We thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Steve King
Leonard Boswell
Tom Latham
Bruce Braley
Dave Loebsack

Governor Culver says a lot of people have I-JOBS jobsDave Price of WHO-TV reports there’s no way of knowing how many I-JOBS jobs there are.

Are they drinking Bohea, Singlo, Congou, Souchon, or Hyson? (Those are the types of tea dumped during the original Boston Tea Party in 1773.)

Washington D.C.- Congressman Steve King (R-IA) today issued the following statement announcing his decision to join the newly-formed  House Tea Party Caucus. The House Tea Party Caucus, which will be chaired by Rep. Michele Bachmann, was approved by the House Administration Committee on Friday afternoon. The caucus will focus on injecting the American people’s desire for fiscal responsibility, fidelity to the United States Constitution, and limited government into policy formation.
 
“America’s Tea Party organizations believe that Washington’s policymakers are ignoring the public’s demand for a limited government that is fiscally sound and that adheres to the principles of the Constitution,” said King. “The forced passage of the unconstitutional Obamacare bill over the objections of the American people shows that this belief is well founded.  As the new majority-makers in American politics, the views of the Tea Parties deserve a Congressional forum.  Rep. Bachmann should be commended for making sure that Tea Party voices extend from town-hall meetings to the halls of Congress.”

Pawlenty plans trip to eastern Iowa

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a potential 2012 candidate for president, plans to campaign in Iowa in late July/early August on behalf of Republican candidates for the state legislature.

“Governor Pawlenty is working hard to help conservatives around the country win this fall,” Alex Conant, communications director for Pawlenty’s Freedom First PAC, said via email.  “We have great opportunities in Iowa, and Governor Pawlenty is trying to build on that excitement through his new Iowa PAC and this upcoming trip to eastern Iowa.”

Pawlenty has three fundraisers (morning, noon & night) planned on July 31 for Republicans Steve Lukan, Bill Dix and Kraig Paulsen.

He”ll help Republican Jeff Kaufmann raise money on August 1 and on August 2 he’ll speak at the Scott County Lincoln Club in Davenport.

Pawlenty was the keynote speaker at the Iowa GOP’s fall fundraiser this past November (read about it/listen to it here).  Pawlenty was the keynote speaker at the Iowans for Tax Relief “2010 Taxpayer’s Day” event in April (read about it/listen to it here).  In August of 2008, when Pawlenty’s name was among those mentioned as a potential running mate for John McCain, Pawlenty made a campaign appearance in Ames, Iowa, on behalf of Congressman Tom Latham (read about it/listen to it here).

AUDIO: The 2010 Iowa GOP state convention

It’s 9:58 a.m. and a man’s voice coming through the sound system is telling delegates to take their seats here in Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines, Iowa. Convention activities are set to commence at 10 a.m.  A battle looms over who the delegates at this convention will pick as the party’s lieutenant governor nominee:  the man who finished second in the June 8th GOP gubernatorial primary or the woman who the GOP’s gubernatorial nominee has picked.  UPDATE:  Kim Reynolds won 55.6 percent of the delegates’ votes, beating Bob Vander Plaats and winning the LG nomination.  (Listen to speeches, read more here.)

What follows is a live blog of the day.

The Branstad campaign has been handing out pink t-shirts, touting the Branstad/Reynolds ticket.  Branstad is Terry Branstad, the former four-term governor who’s seeking a fifth term in 2010.  Reynolds is Kim Reynolds, the state senator who Branstad has picked as a running mate.  If you don’t know, supporters of Bob Vander Plaats — Branstad’s rival for the GOP gubernatorial nomination — intend to nominate BVP for LG. 

It’s 10 a.m. and Matt Strawn, the Iowa GOP chairman, has just gaveled the convention into order.  Folks are being asked to stand for the invocation.  RNC Committeeman Steve Scheffler gave a little speech first, saying the party needs to be united.  

“We pray that your people will rise up and be involved in the political process this year,” he prayed, then seemed to seek some innoculation for the masses that would prevent an all-out war over the lieutenant governor nomination.  “….Lord, today, be with our deliberations and, in spite of some of our minor differences, that we speak words of love and not hate and ugliness.” 

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