Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Iowa Cain Campaign

Cain Train: The train rolls on according to two separate statements from two people in Herman Cain's Iowa campaign, despite this latest public accusation of inappropriate behavior from the candidate. An Atlanta woman claims she had a near 14-year affair with Cain (who is married). Cain denies the affair.

Cain has all but disappeared from Iowa since the Republican Party of Iowa Straw Poll in August. He had a stop at a coffee shop in Dubuque and shot a commercial at the Machine Shed Restaurant in Urbandale two weeks ago. His campaign today could offer no insight as to when Cain would return to the state, which holds its first-in-the-nation caucuses in just 5 weeks.

Here are two statements in light of the newest allegations of Cain's improper behavior:

Cain Campaign Iowa Director, Larry Tuel

We are building a great Iowa ground game for Herman Cain, and have almost 900 pct captains in place.
Nothing that has occurred has changed our plans. Whatever reassessment is going on in the national campaign, our marching orders are to keep building our ground game in Iowa and prepare to storm the gates January 3rd.

We haven't had supporters calling today asking to have their names removed from the list of pct captains. Certainly they are looking for an explanation and we provided it to them. We are all believers in Herman Cain in this office and are looking forward to seeing this campaign through to the Iowa Caucuses.

To: Iowa Cain Supporters
From: Steve Grubbs, Iowa Cain Chairman

As you may know, a new accusation was leveled against Herman Cain yesterday. On a conference call this morning, Mr. Cain made several important points:

1) He reiterated that he had tried to help Ginger White with her problems and tried to get her on her feet financially.
2) He discussed the emotional toll these allegations had taken on his family, but emphasized that he was moving ahead with the campaign, including a foreign policy speech tonight in Michigan
3) He said the campaign was reassessing where it was similar to the reassessment that was made after the Iowa Straw poll and the Florida straw polls.

This is what I take from the call and what I believe:

1) News reports have been quick to report the allegations, but few have been fair about reporting the background of the accuser. Credit to the New York Times for including this paragraph in their story:
New York Times, 11-28-2011: "Ms. White is an unemployed single mother. Before the interview, Fox learned that she had filed a sexual harassment claim against an employer in 2001. That case was settled. The station also found a bankruptcy filing nearly 23 years ago in Kentucky, and several eviction notices in the Atlanta area over the past six years.
The station also reported that Ms. White had a former business partner who once sought a "stalking temporary protective order" against her for "repeated e-mails/texts threatening lawsuit and defamation of character." The case was dismissed, but it was followed by a libel lawsuit against Ms. White. A judge entered an order against Ms. White because she failed to respond to the lawsuit, Fox reported"
2) Both John McCain and Bill Clinton had similarly difficult times in their presidential campaigns (McCain in the summer of 2007 and Clinton during the fall of 1991) and they both weathered the storm and emerged to be their parties nominees.

3) I believe in Herman Cain and his ideas. We need to get back on message and make it to the Iowa Caucuses. My request is that you don't let anyone pick your candidate based on these allegations. We have a strong Iowa ground game and we are looking forward to making it to January 3rd with a strong team intact.

Thank you for your support and thank you for taking a long view of our sometimes challenging electoral process.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bachmann in Iowa, too

Ol' Lonely Gets Company: Apparently Michele Bachmann is also in Iowa this week, along with Newt Gingrich as I mentioned earlier today. I didn't receive anything from the Bachmann campaign mentioning an Iowa travel schedule this week. But here is a new email...

As per her Iowa campaign manager/spokesman Eric Woolson:

Mickelson program from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. tomorrow (WHO radio in Des Moines). Then she is at the University of Northern Iowa at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Waverly at 3:30 p.m. and Charles City at 6:30 p.m.

Where Are the Presidential Candidates?

Strange Land: It's 9:58am on Monday, November 28th. My limited math skills show that makes 5 weeks and a day until the Iowa Caucuses, a make or break night for several of the Republican presidential candidates (candidates, you know who you are). Yet, I only know of one candidate with travel plans for the state this week. Newt Gingrich, fresh off his endorsement from the Manchester Union-Leader (New Hampshire's Manchester. Iowa's town of the same name has the Manchester Press), speaks before the Polk County Republicans' Annual Republican Victory Dinner in Johnston Thursday night.

Michele Bachmann chose to do a book tour in the campaign's final weeks, instead of traditional campaigning. But that ended yesterday. So enjoy Iowa, Mr. Speaker. It looks like you have it all to yourself.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Endorsements: Romney Gets Former IA Speaker, Gingrich Gets Manchester Newspaper

Romney 1, Gingrich: Most politicos would agree an endorsement doesn't necessarily equal votes. But since the politicos and, probably more importantly, the media, fixate on endorsements, they do bring a lot of free air time/print space. So, you could make the argument, endorsements do ultimately lead to some votes, at least increased visibility for a candidate (something candidates like Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann would love to have right now). Either way, Newt Gingrich won over the endorsement of the Manchester Union-Leader. What does that matter? The New York Times' Nate Silver lays out a pretty thoughtful statistical analysis showing that while the paper's endorsement doesn't mean automatic victory, it does seem to correlate with double-digit improvement from the candidate's poll standing at the time of the endorsement to the final vote on primary night.

Sunday, Mitt Romney also received an endorsement. Former Iowa Speaker of the House Chris Rants wrote an op-ed in the Sioux City Journal endorsing Romney. Rants supported Romney last cycle. But he had held out on his endorsement this time until now (he did briefly head Thad McCotter's presidential efforts in Iowa).

Whose endorsement matters most? I'm not sure this is an apples to apples comparison. No doubt Gingrich gets FAR more national press out of his endorsement. Using Google News, I found 904 articles mentioning the endorsement. I found just one mentioning the Rants endorsement (not counting the Sioux City Journal, of course).

The Rants' choice was a bit of a surprise to me. I figured if he hadn't already picked Romney publicly by now, he would back someone else (I mean, besides McCotter). In 2010, Rants ran his short-lived run for governor as the "ideas guy". He had all kinds of ideas for all kinds of problems in the state. That didn't translate into poll popularity or cash either. So Rants dropped out. Gingrich seems to be the "ideas guy" in the race for president. I thought there might be a natural fit between these two ideas guy. Rants said in the op-ed piece, he did narrow his choice down to Romney and Gingrich. And he feels Romney can actually win, not just the nomination, but the White House. He didn't think Gingrich could do that. We'll see what affect Rants' words have on other Iowans who haven't yet made up their minds in this race, even if Google News doesn't pick up on it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Am Thankful

On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful...

for a family who is healthy...
for a son who's brought more joy than I could have imagined...
for a wife and best friend who can be the same person...
for a company that lets me cover one of my passions in life...
for the support of friends...
for always having safe shelter and a good meal...
and the hope to have the humility to appreciate all that I have.

Thanks to you for reading my thoughts and for sharing yours. Together, I hope we can help keep the conversation going to hold our elected officials accountable and improve the communities in which we live.

Happy Thanksgiving and continued blessings to you and everyone close to you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Romney Returns to Iowa, Will Expand Iowa Efforts

Romney Returns: It's not often Iowans see Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney in person in 2011. In fact, I don't think Romney has come to the metro at all since the Republican Party of Iowa's Straw Poll in Ames in August. He did take trips to western and eastern Iowa. But it appears that is about to change. This morning, Romney spoke before several hundred employees at Nationwide Insurance in downtown Des Moines. It's just one step of what's been a slow buildup to Romney's Iowa campaign. Last week, the campaign, without any fanfare, opened its Iowa headquarters in an abandoned Blockbuster Video west of downtown. The campaign on Monday announced Romney would come for the Nationwide visit Wednesday morning. Then this morning, the campaign announced South Dakota Senator John Thune would join Romney and endorse him. Later this morning, we received another release that said Romney would hold a "teletown hall" with Iowans this afternoon. But now there's more.

Mary Kramer is a former state senate president and U.S. Ambassador to Barbados. She also serves as an adviser to Romney's campaign in Iowa. Kramer told me, "I think we'll see lots of activity, not only from Governor Romney, but his family members, other people who support him that Iowans will recognize and appreciate."

I asked her, "So we will see more and more of the campaign in December?" Kramer responded, "Correct. Yes, we will."

Kramer told me Iowa visits will include Romney's wife and sons (she specifically mentioned Josh) and surrogates like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Minnesota Governor (and former presidential candidate) Tim Pawlenty.

She also talked about whether it's too late for Romney to make this strong play in the state. She doesn't think so. She said it helps because Romney met so many people last cycle. Kramer said, "I think strategically Governor Romney felt he and his supporters are well-acquainted. We learn to know each other and trust each other in the last go-around. We feel comfortable with that."

But Kramer added that Romney knows he needs to expand the base. She said, "I feel it's very important for him to connect with a very broad group of people, to connect with them because his message is so important, his message about jobs." Hence the visit before insurance employees in Des Moines today.

But what about the Iowans who have grow accustomed to having that face-to-face time each cycle with their candidates? Kramer believes that handshake they had with Romney last time will carry over into this campaign. She feels Iowans are understanding people. She said, "I'm hoping Iowans understand it's important to have a winning strategy that goes, not only here, but past here. And I think we're sophisticated enough as politicians and citizens to get that strategy."

Kramer also discounted talk that Romney doesn't have the organization to do well in the caucuses (She didn't say, by the way, he would win Iowa. She wants him to win, of course, but couldn't say he actually will). She maintains the organization is here, partly because of efforts by staff and volunteers this time, and also because of the previous level of support Romney had during his last run. She also disagrees with talk of any sort of "stealth" organization in Iowa. While she acknowledges Romney himself hasn't been here nearly as much as the last cycle, the actual work of organizing has been going on for months. And she feels that will only intensify in the campaign's final five weeks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Bad Day at the Office

This could belong to any football fan of the St. Louis Rams or anyone who actually believed the Congressional "Supercommittee" would put aside politics and accomplish something for the good of the country.

And you thought your day was bad...Actually, we found this car parked in front of the Obama campaign headquarters in Des Moines during our last story there. How is it possible to pi$$ off so many birds at once? (And check out the feather stuck on the right side of the hood. You can just barely see it about a 1/3rd of the way down from the windshield in the crack) A brazen bird leaving his calling card behind?

Family Leader Narrows Endorsement List

And then there were 4...Bob Vander Plaats had told me last week that today his group, the Family Leader, could endorse a Republican presidential candidate. But apparently, it's not yet time. BVP said the board of 7 would meet Monday. A Family Leader spokeswoman confirmed the group met yesterday afternoon. We just received a release from the group. The endorsement process will resemble "Survivor" it seems. No endorsement yet. But 2 people (3 if you count Romney, who the group eliminated earlier since he skipped the Thanksgiving Family Forum event this past Saturday) got the boot. Ron Paul and Herman Cain are no longer under consideration.

Here's the release:


Pleasant Hill, IA – The FAMiLY LEADER Board of Directors is very reflective of the Iowa caucus goer and are still praying for clarity on whether or not to endorse a candidate and, if they endorse, who to endorse.

Bob Vander Plaats, President and CEO, remarked, “We had a very healthy discussion tonight regarding our leadership role in the 2012 presidential caucuses. In many ways, what the board did tonight is typical of the Iowa caucus process. They fully understand the importance of this election and the weight of their leadership. They want to make a wise decision.”

Each individual of the seven member voting Board of Directors expressed many positives of Representative Ron Paul and businessman Herman Cain. The stumbling block for the board regarding Representative Paul dealt primarily with “States’ Rights” as it pertains to the sanctity of human life and God’s design for marriage. Regarding Mr. Cain, the board cited a narrative of questions versus clarity on the key issues of life, marriage, foreign policy, and presidential readiness. The board did not give consideration to Governor Romney.

Last Saturday evening’s Thanksgiving Family Forum was designed to bring clarity and closure to the decision-making process for The FAMiLY LEADER and for many Iowa conservatives. Although the forum was monumentally successful on every level, each candidate’s superb performance has made this process most difficult. The board concluded this is a good dilemma due to having many principled conservatives in the race.

“As difficult as this first step proved to be in narrowing the field to four, the next step of final selection and recommendation to our supporters will be tougher. Congresswoman Bachmann, Speaker Gingrich, Governor Perry, and Senator Santorum all have many presidential traits that will serve our great country well.” commented Vander Plaats.

The board has committed to be prayerful, diligent, and expeditious in reaching their final conclusion. No timeline was placed on a decision.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Romney Volunteer Drives Across Country to Des Moines

Just Wilson: We meet a lot of interesting people as we cover the Iowa Caucuses. We may have found our biggest "character" yet of this cycle. Mitt Romney just opened a campaign headquarters at a vacant building in Des Moines (He has to hope his fate is better than the former tenant, Blockbuster Video, fared). A man drove up there today. He told us he drove here from Virginia but used to live in Iowa decades ago. He told us he helped out the campaigns of both George Bush 41 and Bush 43 in previous years. What's his name, you ask? Well, we asked. He said to just call him "Wilson".

So, ladies and gentlemen, meet Wilson. And check out the pipe!


Occupy Protester Apologies, May Go to Rehab

De-Occupied: A protester arrested in an Occupy Des Moines rally against banks has apologized but not for protesting. David Goodner,according to this story in the Des Moines Register, faced drug charges after his appearance at the event.

Here is his email to members of the Occupy movement:

Dear Occupy Des Moines community and supporters,

I'm writing to you all to apologize. My reckless, selfish, and
irresponsible behavior jeopardized the integrity and credibility of
the Occupy Des Moines movement and put at risk everything we have
fought so hard to achieve. My choices were inexcusable and
indefensible. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart.

I want to make amends to my community, and in consultation with my
friends, family, spiritual advisors, and movement mentors, I have
decided to:

· Issue a public apology, which states, I take full
responsibility for my bad choices and I apologize to all of our
supporters for my poor decision-making that allowed the focus to be
taken off the real criminals on Wall Street. My mistakes are my own
and should not negatively reflect on any group or movement that I am
associated with.

· Remove myself as a public face of the organization –my
personal credibility has been damaged and for the good of the
movement, I am distancing myself from Occupy Des Moines effective
immediately. I will not attend General Assembly meetings or publicly
participate in any actions or events until after the New Year.

· Enter an Alcoholics Anonymous program under the wing of an
AA sponsor. I am voluntarily entering a drug treatment program to
evaluate whether I have a substance abuse problem and if so, what
steps are needed to remedy it.

If there are other steps or actions I need to take in order to regain
the trust and respect of my community, I will eagerly comply with

Family Leader Endorsement

Power Play: This week we could see where the social conservative group, the Family Leader, wants to put its support. President/CEO Bob Vander Plaats told me the group's 7-member board (BVP is not on the board but he said he has "influence" on it) will meet on Monday. This follows the group's Thanksgiving Family Forum at a Des Moines church Saturday before more than 2,500 people. BVP said the purpose of the meeting is to decide whether to endorse 1 of the 6 Republican presidential candidates who spoke at the group's event. The endorsement process has been more than a bit confusing. It was widely understood that to get the endorsement, a candidate had to sign the group's marriage pledge. If you recall, there's some controversy about the pledge, not the current one, but the original one. The original pledge (or at least the preamble to it) included a section critics found highly objectionable. Here it is:

"Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President."

The slavery line caused a firestorm as critics said it insinuated black children today were worse off than black slave children. BVP disagreed with critics' interpretation, although he dropped that part of the pledge. He told me, "I don't think it hurt our credibility because we got attacked by the left."

But only two candidates, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, actually signed the pledge (before BVP dropped the controversial line). However, despite what many people may have thought, BVP told me his group could still endorse someone other than the 2 candidates who signed the pledge. He told me, "The pledge is definitely part of the process. If you take a look at the pledge it says, unless you affirm the pledge. It doesn't actually say sign it...unless you affirm the pledge."

He continued, "Obviously, Bachmann and Santorum have a leg up. They signed it, a pretty good affirmation of the pledge."

An endorsement for either of those candidates would be interesting, at least if you follow the polls. Bachmann, who once led the polls following her win in the Republican Party of Iowa's Straw Poll in Ames in August, has tanked since. Santorum has remained near the bottom of the polls throughout this race. An endorsement for either could bring a much-needed boost for the candidates. Although, it's tough to know how much of a boost. The Family Leader doesn't say how many members it has. So we don't really know how many people would be willing to go out and actively push either Bachmann or Santorum to Iowans. And would this push be enough to lift one of them to a caucus night win? The January 3rd caucuses are only about a month away, after all.

The group could go in another direction altogether for its endorsement, but it would seem every other choice might not go over completely well with the base based on purity. How about Rick Perry? Remember when he said, "Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me.” Perry tried damage control later and said he supports states' rights but doesn't support same-sex marriage.

Herman Cain? Cain's struggled, in some conservatives' minds, answering the abortion question. Would he try to rid of the country of abortions or not? Some questions there.

Newt Gingrich, the man of 3 marriages...yeah, there's that.

Ron Paul? He had that awkward appearance in Pella, during the Family Leader's Presidential Lecture Series when he said he supports states' rights (in light of the state supreme court decision allowing same-sex marriages in Iowa).

So, that just leaves Mitt Romney, right? BVP's response, "It's not good for Mr. Romney." BVP said Romney would not get the endorsement. He added his group could choose to endorse no one. Of course, that would make people wonder what the purpose of the lecture series, family forum and pledge were about though.

Monday could be an interesting day for the Family leader, don't ya think?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gingrich Staffing Up in Iowa

Back Again: Republican Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich has lured back two Iowans who quit his presidential efforts this summer. Craig Schoenfeld and Katie Koberg have joined the campaign as senior advisers. Both will help set up a statewide organizational effort in the final weeks before the January 3rd caucuses. More staff announcements should be coming, as Gingrich told me two weeks ago. Schoenfeld confirmed the moves. He previously cited concerns Gingrich wasn't spending enough time in the state when he and the entire Iowa paid staff quit Gingrich's campaign in June. But he now feels more comfortable with Gingrich's commitment to the state, along with Gingrich's rapid rise in the polls.

The two will have much work to do with so little time left before January, especially in light of the statewide infrastructure and organizations other campaigns established months ago.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cain Blames Media for Libya Question Criticism

Cain Blame: I sat down with Herman Cain briefly at the Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale, a popular stop for political candidates over the years. Last cycle, we spent Thanksgiving with the Biden family as they waited on customers to raise money for a local charity. Cain used the restaurant as a backdrop for a new commercial he shot, partly in a back room, surrounded by Iowans, that includes him getting a refill of coffee from a restaurant waitress. Later, he made his way outside to pose next to the tractors that sit near the parking lot. But, of course, much of the focus of the day for Cain was the meandering, pause-filled response he gave the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the day before when asked about whether he agreed with President Barack Obama's handling of Libya. In case you haven't seen the clip yet (and if you haven't, where have you been?), here it is.

Cain's staff blamed his response on fatigue. Cain, by the way, never mentioned being tired when I talked with him. Rather, he maintains the newspaper was out to make him look bad.

Here's our full interview with Cain:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Supercommittee Approaching Deadline

Tick, Tick, Tick: It's not that clock on "60 Minutes". It's not the debt clock striking $15,000,000,000,000 (I think that's 15 trillion). It's the time ticking away until that Congressional "supercommittee" faces its deadline to agree on at least $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next decade. The deadline is set for November 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving. It will likely be comical (except for the fact that it will be so sad) to watch the fighting to reach this agreement over the next week or so. I mean, sure, $1.2 trillion is a TON of money, even more than Albert Pujols will get in his next baseball contract. But let's be honest here, the country's debt is nearly 15 times the amount the supercommittee is trying to reach. 15 times! If it is this difficult to agree on this piddly amount (relatively speaking), how on earth will our country's leaders agree to wipe away that debt? And if we "only" do $1.2 trillion over 10 years, it would roughly take a century-and-a-half to clear away the rest of our debt, right? Maybe my math is way out of whack here...I hope it is...but that's the way it adds up to me. This surely can't be what's best for us, is it?

Branstad Birthday Bash

Turning 65: Next Saturday looks to be a busy day in Iowa for the Republican presidential candidates, most of them, that is. Bob Vander Plaats' group, The Family Leader, holds its Thanksgiving Family Forum at First Federated Church in Des Moines. Later that night, friends hold a 65th birthday party for Iowa Governor Terry Branstad at Adventureland in Altoona. Do you think they'll all get wild and crazy and take over the Tornado? OK, probably not. 6 candidates have confirmed for the BVP event and 6 candidates have confirmed for the birthday bash. They are the same 6 candidates: Herman Cain (his return to Iowa), Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Mitt Romney hasn't RSVP'd for either event. You know, gov, it's rude not to at least let the host know you can't make it. Miss Manners wouldn't approve.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

South Carolina Debate

What to Watch: The Republican 8 make another appearance tonight for a presidential debate. This time they appear in Spartanburg, South Carolina, for the CBS/National Journal Debate (hosted by fellow Mizzou grad, Major Garrett).

Here are my pre-debate questions:

How will Rick Perry attempt to recover from that horrendous performance in the CNBC debate in Michigan Wednesday night? Humor? Ignore the historic gaffe? Focus on Mitt Romney?

How will Newt Gingrich act? Now that he's essentially tied at the top for the "front runner race" with Romney and Herman Cain, will he behave differently? Does he keep coming after the moderators to score a few cheap claps from the crowd or does he try to show that he is a serious contender for the nomination?

Does Mitt Romney keep surviving? His challengers primarily left him alone in the CNBC debate. He really got rattled when Perry came after him in a previous debate. And call me crazy, but even this last time in Michigan, I think I saw a few hairs out of place. He's been "steady as he goes" for the bulk of these debates. But I wonder what would happen if Gingrich turns it up a notch on him?

What about the Hermanator? The audience booed moderators' attempts to get that sex harassment scandal into the Michigan debate. Does everyone move on this time? Will we see any other candidates vaguely hint at the allegations in their responses, or do they feel Cain's already had his high point in this race? Will Cain himself bring it up? He seems to like to do the "me versus the machine" bit. And his followers sure seem to like it.

And the rest? Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum didn't seem to hurt themselves any in Michigan. But they also aren't moving the numbers. Can either find a standout moment that will get played and re-played on the Sunday a.m. talk shows for a much-needed attention boost.
Ron Paul is another who isn't moving his numbers much. Since this debate is about foreign policy, Paul, if given the chance, will stand out from the crowd with his anti-war, bring 'em all home stance. Will he get that chance?

Speaking of chances, Jon Huntsman keeps getting the chance to stand with the others in the debate, even though his poll numbers barely beat...well, no one, in the national polls. As the former U.N. Ambassador to China, he should have some thoughts to add to this debate, but will the moderators leave him mostly out of this conversation?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Perry's Oops Moment

Perry's History: We won't soon forget Rick Perry's "moment" at the CNBC debate, will we? I think people are still wincing at the thought of it. Perry's inability to recall the 3rd of the 3 federal programs he wants to eliminate will go down as one of the most blunderous (yeah, I may have made up that word) times in debate history. Social media and the internet will almost single-handedly make sure of it. The YouTube clips of it may soon reach 1 million hits. Water-skiing squirrels could only dream of viral fame like that. Here's the clip if you want to feel better about your own memory issues today.

But give Perry's campaign credit (unless you're one of those who maintain his campaign is now finished), it has tried to make a positive of this. The campaign's website gives you the chance to vote on which federal department you would like to forget. Someone thought of this pretty quickly, huh?

Cain Commercial and Lying Expert

Where There's Smoke, There's Cain: The Hermanator is coming to a tv near you, as long as you want your news fair and balanced, that is. Herman Cain is running tv ads in Iowa on Fox, perhaps, thanks to the $9 million his campaign says it's raised since October 1st (the start of the 4th quarter fundraising period). Cain's campaign features the "smoking tractor", as opposed to the "smoking chief of staff" in his web ads. The federal government believes Cain's campaign is blowing smoke when it claims the EPA is trying to regulate dust farmers' tractors kick up. I remember U.S. Secretary of Agriculture shooting down this rumor during his stop at an Iowa farm earlier this year.

Rick Perry and Ron Paul remain the only candidates on the air (outside of Fox) in Iowa right now.

Cain's people continue to push back on the sexual harassment story. I received this email today from a John Yob. And he used a gmail account, not a campaign account. After a little Google search, I see that Yob works for Cain in Michigan. Here's the email:


I hope you will consider reading this article and watching this YouTube regarding Herman Cain.

John Yob



Investigator: Herman Cain innocent of sexual advances
By Mike Paluska

Private investigator TJ Ward said presidential hopeful Herman Cain was not lying at a news conference on Tuesday in Phoenix.

Cain denied making any sexual actions towards Sharon Bialek and vowed to take a polygraph test if necessary to prove his innocence.

Cain has not taken a polygraph but Ward said he does have software that does something better.

Ward said the $15,000 software can detect lies in people's voices.

CBS Atlanta's Mike Paluska played Cain's speech for Ward into the software and watched as it analyzed Cain's every word.

If he is hiding something this thing would have spiked way down here," said Ward. "He is being truthful, totally truthful. He is a man with integrity and he talked directly about not knowing any incident he is accused of."

The software analyzes the stress level and other factors in your voice. During the speech, when Cain denied the claims, the lie detector read "low risk." According to Ward, that means Cain is telling the truth.

Strategic National
190 Monroe Ave NW
Ste 500
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

CNBC Debate

Quick Thoughts...Another debate down and, what, 20 or 30 to go?

The Perry Bomb...wow, what can you say about it? Even his critics have to feel bad, don't they? That was...brutal. Perry isn't doing himself many favors in the debates so far, but this one? Again. Wow.

Angry Newt...Gingrich loves to come after the media again and again and again. He gets praised for being an "ideas guy". Why does he waste his limited time coming after the questioners? But maybe I'm biased on this.

Rick Santorum...probably the only one on stage coming after the others. Probably has to with his poll standing right now.

Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul saw little action and few chances to stand out, although that Paul claw may make it on the late-night talk shows (as he tried to help Perry out during his moment of forgetfulness).

Herman Cain...Of course, THE question had to come, didn't it? The audience booed. Cain used the night to mention 9-9-9 999 times. I was counting. He's moving on...until all those accusers stand side-by-side in a news conference.

Mitt Romney...He passed on the chance to weigh in on Cain's situation, although he did earlier this week. Once was enough? I may be in the minority here, but I thought it was a legitimate question for him to answer that whether as a CEO, he would hire Cain, taking into account all of those sexual harassment allegations.

Bachmann and Paul will be back in Iowa campaigning in the next few days. And the rest of them?

Surprise Developments

Surprise, Surpise, Surprise... Hello, Gomer Pyle!

What's your biggest surprising development of the night?

Eastern Iowa Senate Candidate/former longtime tv anchor Liz Mathis' butt-kicking over Republican challenger/Cedar Rapids businesswoman Cindy Golding in the special election, 56-44%. Looks like former Lt. Governor Patty Judge's prediction on Channel 13's "Insiders" a few weeks ago about a "landslide" in the election was dead on.

Joe Paterno announcing his retirement after a legendary career as the head football coach at Penn State. What we don't know as I write this, is whether I should say he announced his "retirement". Joe Pa may have been about to get canned for failing to do more to get the authorities involved in that horrific case (allegedly) of his former defensive coordinator showering with and sexually molesting boys he was supposedly "mentoring". The entire story, if true, is revolting. If it's true the administration tried to cover this up and make sure it didn't go public and didn't go to authorities...well, I just don't see how those responsible have a soul. They're children for crying out loud. Sickening. And sad.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad just tanked his plans to push for raising the state's gas tax. The Gov put together a Iowa Department of Transportation commission to look at the matter and yesterday that group recommended adding a dime to the gas tax. But the gov has now backed off after Iowa Tea Party Chairman Ryan Rhodes asked him to pull back for a year to give leaders time to find some other solution to pay for the improvements the state's roads and bridges need so badly.

The Hermanator...Herman Cain/his campaign denied the story, blamed the media, blamed Democrats, blamed Rick Perry's and blamed the son of one of the accusers (this latest claim the accuser's son works at Politico, the organization that broke details of the first 2 sexual harassment allegations, proved to be untrue.) I believe the list of women is now 5, who claim Cain harassed them in one form or the other. This doesn't count Iowa conservative talker, Steve Deace, who said he witnessed Cain's inappropriate behavior in front of two of Deace's female co-workers. Cain has now all but challenged the media to find proof he attacked/groped/assaulted/whatever the right term would be one of his accusers, Sharon Bialek, of Chicago. Cain maintains not did he not do what the woman claims (she also said they went to dinner, he upgraded her hotel room and he tried to reach under her skirt and grab her in the car and force her head into his lap after she asked for help in getting her job back at the National Restaurant Association.) There is now another report that Bialek and Cain saw each other far more recently than 14 years ago.

Then, there's our snowfall last night. Some parts received nearly 7 inches. It was November 8th. Way too early.

My pick...

I thought the senate race was supposed to be more competitive. I figured Paterno might have to go. I didn't think the gov would punt on the gas tax so soon. I definitely didn't expect so much snow. But my vote for biggest surprise is the Cain story. If Cain didn't do any of these things, he is really getting screwed every which way by quite a cadre of conspirators. The national media sense blood in the water on this. And his challenge for reporters to find proof will only embolden them to try to do it. Just ask Gary Hart.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

State Senate Special Election

Ready, set, vote: Charles Dickens wrote the classic, "Great Expectations" but politicians are notorious for their own expectations' games. You know how it works, the politician tries to lower expectations on the outcome of an election. And then the media get all fired up when that politician exceeds those expectations. But I found it curious this week just how much Iowa Governor Terry Branstad tried to lower expectations for that special election for Senate 18 in eastern Iowa. I think the basement is still one level about these expectations. The Republican's name on the ballot today isn't the one the Gov wanted. He wanted Cedar Rapids businesswoman, Mary Rathje. Instead, another Cedar Rapids businesswoman, Cindy Golding, earned the party's nomination. And longtime Cedar Rapids/Waterloo tv anchor, Liz Mathis, gets the Democrat's nomination. The only poll I have seen on this has Mathis up 6%.

The gov talked up Mathis again and again and downplayed Golding's chances.

Here are some of his comments...

Mathis advantage: She "had been on tv for a long period of time".

Golding disadvantage: "Considerable name recognition disadvantage. Also, the Democrats have way outspent the Republicans in this special election."

What the outcome of this race means: "When you look at special elections, they're not much of an indication." They're an indication of that particular district at that point in time. So I don't think people should read too much into it."

On Golding getting the nomination instead of Rathje: "I respect the right of the community to choose their own candidate." "I'm very satisfied with the candidate that was chosen."

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Perry's Tax Plan, Class Warfare

Perry's Plan--Texas Governor Rick Perry often accuses President Obama of pushing class warfare by calling for increased taxes on wealthier Americans. Perry is pushing for tax cuts, with the largest tax cuts benefiting wealthier Americans, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Tax Poilcy Center. So does that mean he, too, is guilty of class warfare?

Missouri Joins SEC

M-I-Z-S-E-C: This hardly comes as a surprise, but my alma mater, The University of Missouri-Columbia, just officially joined the SEC. So much for more than 100 years of history for Mizzou in the Big 8-turned-Big 12. While at one point early in my career I wanted to be a sports guy, I now lack the knowledge to know whether this move is good for Mizzou sports. I'm sure the revenue side is better, especially on the football side, since the SEC is home to powerhouses like Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Florida State. But, of course, even bringing up the question of money is a dumb one, because it is soooo obviously the main factor for all of this. It would be nice if it also somehow benefited the students, too, wouldn't it? Novel concept, perhaps.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

No Post-Game Celebration Call from the president to the Cardinals

Where's the love, Mr. President? Missouri is one of those battleground states year after year, election after election. It's also home to my World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. But President Obama apparently broke with tradition by not calling the World Series' winning manager, in this case, Tony LaRussa, after his team's win. According to this story by my former radio station, the president's staff even did the legwork ahead of time to get the number the president needed to make the call after the last out. But that call didn't come. The prez is a big Chicago White Sox fan. LaRussa used to managed the White Sox.

One other thing...LaRussa did speak at that Glenn Beck rally last year...Does that matter? I highly doubt it. Just a random tidbit for the conspiracy theorists.


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Iowans Design Apps

So now that you've watched our story on the Channel 13 News at 10 on Iowans getting into the app craze, which app is the best? Vote in our poll at the side of the page. May the best app win!

Here's the video: