Dinner Guests: 2011, meet 2012. Monday night, Iowa hosts its biggest gathering yet for 2012 possible presidential candidates. Five possibles headline the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event at Point of Grace in Waukee. Five "formers", actually: Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Godfathers' Pizza CEO Herman Cain and former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer. It's not quite like when the Democrats brought out big names like Clinton, Obama and Edwards, at least not yet. But it should get a good bit of national attention.
Who's the best known? Gingrich, I would guess. This can be his first larger-scale event in Iowa to try to win over social conservatives who may not be too keen on his marital issues of the past...three wives. Pawlenty and Santorum have seemed to be the most serious about Iowa so far. Both have hired Iowa staff. Herman "the Hermanator" Cain's campaign sent me my first full travel schedule. So he seems interested. The Pottawattamie County Republican Chairman called me to tell me how popular Cain is in western Iowa. And then there's Roemer. I really didn't remember much about him before these past few weeks.
I did find an interesting piece of video on YouTube. Roemer campaigned with 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain in Waterloo. He said he came to Iowa a lot when he was a congressman. And one line seemed to offer a bit of a prediction.
We'll see who "the man" really is, I suppose, Monday night.