published Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Bachmann wins GOP 2012 test vote

Iowa residents register to vote for Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. at the GOP Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. Thousands of Iowa Republicans mingled with presidential hopefuls on a college campus where they began voting Saturday in the Iowa Straw Poll, the first test to see how the candidates trying to unseat President Barack Obama are faring with the GOP base. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Iowa residents register to vote for Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. at the GOP Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. Thousands of Iowa Republicans mingled with presidential hopefuls on a college campus where they began voting Saturday in the Iowa Straw Poll, the first test to see how the candidates trying to unseat President Barack Obama are faring with the GOP base. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Photo by Associated Press.
Poll
Who would be the best GOP candidate to run against President Obama?

MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press

PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press

AMES, Iowa — Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won a test vote of Iowans on Saturday, a show of popularity and organizational strength for the tea party favorite five months before the state's caucuses kick off the GOP presidential nominating season.

The result is the first indication of what Iowans think of the field of Republicans competing for the chance to challenge President Barack Obama next fall. But it's hardly predictive of who will win the winter Iowa contest, much less the party nod or the White House.

Rather, Saturday's outcome suggests that Bachmann has a certain level of support and, perhaps even more important, the strongest get-out-the-vote operation and widest volunteer base in a state whose caucuses require those elements.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul finished a close second while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty placed a distant third.

"We have a lot more work to do," Pawlenty said, making clear he wasn't dropping out despite a disappointing finish. "We are just beginning and I'm looking forward to a great campaign."

The results of the nonbinding vote, held on the Iowa State University campus, came just hours after Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race.

"I full well believe I'm going to win," Perry told South Carolina voters on a conference call before delivering his first speech as a candidate.

"It's time to get America working again," he declared in Charleston, S.C. "America is not broken. Washington, D.C. is broken."

Despite Perry's best efforts to overshadow the day, the epicenter of the presidential contest was in this Midwestern town, where nearly 17,000 Iowans cast ballots during a daylong political festival, a late-summer ritual held every four years.

In speeches throughout the day, candidates scouted for support by assailing Obama and offering themselves as the answer to an America plagued by high unemployment, rising debt and stock market swings.

"We know what America needs. But unfortunately Barack Obama has no clue. He's like a manure spreader in a windstorm," Pawlenty said, adding: "Mr. President, get the government off our backs." That elicited chants of his nickname: "T-Paw! T-Paw! T-Paw!"

Pawlenty had a lot on the line. He's ranked low in polls and was looking to prove he was still a viable candidate. He argued that he was the candidate of results, given his record as Minnesota governor.

Bachmann stressed faith and her Iowa roots — she was born in Waterloo — as well as her opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage. She earned cheers when she declared: "We are going to make Barack Obama a one-term president."

Bachmann, riding high since entering the race earlier this summer, had hoped that a strong finish would give her even more momentum just as Perry looks to infringe on her base of tea party and evangelical support. She invoked God and faith as she stressed what she called her conservative values, saying: "In Iowa, we are social conservatives and we will never be ashamed of being social conservatives."

Paul, with a following among libertarian-leaning voters, wanted a surprise showing that might convince Republicans he was more mainstream than not in his second shot at the GOP nomination. He referenced his fellow Texan's entrance in the race and said he didn't anticipate many of his supporters jumping ship for what he called a "super-establishment candidate."

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, businessman Herman Cain and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia also were on the ballot. So were GOP front-runner Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, though they weren't competing in the contest.

Perry and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who made a splash Friday when she visited the state fair, weren't listed. But their backers planned write-in campaigns that could outpace candidates who have spent months trying to line up supporters to participate.

The straw poll isn't a scientific poll at all; it amounts to a popularity contest and a test of organizational strength. Tickets to participate and vote in the event cost $30, though some campaigns picked up the tab for the tickets they distributed to their backers.

Poor showings usually force some candidates, mostly those who are not well-known and are struggling to raise money, to abandon their bids. That could happen this year, too.

The straw poll has a mixed record of predicting the outcome of the precinct caucuses.

In 2008, Romney won the straw poll, but the big news was the surprising second-place showing of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses, but dropped from the race soon after. Sen. John McCain, who eventually won the nomination, didn't compete in the straw poll and finished in 10th place.

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librul said...

Rick Perry ?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

http://www.commondreams.org/further/2011/08/13

August 14, 2011 at 1:02 a.m.
hambone said...

So, Bachmann must be more Evangelical than all the rest!!!

August 14, 2011 at 2:02 a.m.
woody said...

I am reminded of a quote that goes something like, "...you can fool some of the people some of the time...."..Woody

August 14, 2011 at 6:53 a.m.
hambone said...

There goes the stock market!!!

August 14, 2011 at 7:39 a.m.
LibDem said...

We need a different way to select our presidents. Mr. Pawlenty has withdrawn after a disappointing showing in Iowa. Iowa! How can Iowa make that decision? I'm no Republican and won't vote for these candidates, but they deserve a better venue.

August 14, 2011 at 9:32 a.m.
MountainJoe said...

I'm watching the Sunday morning talking head shows and it's all Bachmann, Bachmann, Bachmann. She finishes ahead of Ron Paul by less than 1% and she gets all the love while he barely gets mentioned. And some people don't think media bias is real.

August 14, 2011 at 9:51 a.m.
ceeweed said...

She sure is purdy cept for that glazed over look in her eyes. Sad though, she ain't never gonna be president. Maybe she can slide into a cocktail dress at 5AM and guest host on Fox-n-Friends. Boy, that's a think tank for you!

August 14, 2011 at 9:10 p.m.
neeyaiyawooga said...

Richard S. Are you saying Adams abolished slavery?

August 15, 2011 at 2:09 a.m.
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