Presidential hopeful Ron Paul is shown to be leading or near the top of recent polls in Iowa and three of his Republican rivals took aim Tuesday. Paul has vowed to close five federal agencies and cut a trillion dollars out of the federal budget. During an appearance in Mason City, Rick Santorum suggested Paul is “least likely” among the candidates to get those kind of cuts enacted. “He’s been in congress 20 years and never passed a bill,” Santorum told the crowd in Mason City. “So what would lead you to believe that he could get something that huge done in a town where he’s shown no track record of getting anything done?” During an interview on C-N-N, Newt Gingrich said Paul’s “total record” shows a “systemic avoidance of reality.” Rick Perry also suggested Paul “would allow Iran to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth.” During a campaign stop last night in Atlantic, Michele Bachmann bragged about how she “took it to” Paul in the last debate, over the issue of a nuclear Iran, and she promised the crowd she’d do the same to Barack Obama. “I think it’s time that America has a Margaret Thatcher and America has an ‘Iron Lady’ — a woman who’s not afraid of all the men in Washington, D.C. and a woman who’s not afraid to take on all the liberals in Washington, D.C.,” Bachmann said, as some in the crowd started clapping. “I’m not and I will.”
On the other side of the state in Dubuque yesterday, Gingrich told reporters he has “a lot of time” left to convince Caucus-goers they can invest their vote in him despite the questions raised in campaign ads.
“I trust in the people of Iowa to look at something that’s clearly baloney and know that it’s baloney,” Gingrich said. During his speech to the Rotarians, Gingrich suggested Republican rival Mitt Romney and his allies had stepped over some sort of line. “To have somebody who was a Massachusetts moderate, who said he did not want to go back to the Reagan/Bush years…who as recently as when he was running for governor said, ‘I’m really kind of a moderate, pragmatic guy,’ — to have him run a commercial that questions my conservatism?” Gingrich asked rhetorically in Dubuque.
Romney arrived in Iowa late Tuesday. Romney told a crowd in Davenport last night that Barack Obama is a “pessimistic president” who has failed to deliver on his campaign promises and is asking America to “settle for less.” Four of the candidates participated in a radio forum organized by PersonhoodUSA, a group pushing congress to pass a bill declaring that life begins at conception. Rick Perry, who has opposed nearly all abortions, revealed he no longer favors exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Perry recently met with a woman who was conceived in a rape. “Looking in her eyes, I couldn’t come up with an answer to defend the exceptions for rape and incest,” Perry said. Perry met the woman earlier this month when he attended the premiere of a documentary called “The Gift of Life”. “She made a statement to me that was really profound and pierced my heart,” Perry said. Perry has supported abortion ban exceptions in cases of rape and incest, or when the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy — until he unveiled during Tuesday night’s telephone town hall meeting with abortion foes that he had undergone a transformation this Christmas season. Organizers said nearly 26-thousand people listened to the event by telephone and it was broadcast nationally on the syndicated “Steve Deace Show” and another radio network.
(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)