Ron Paul

Ron Paul and the Ames Straw Poll

So who’s going to win the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday? That’s a good question. Candidates generally bus in supporters to cast ballots, which is why Mitt Romney not winning there in 2007 was such a big deal, especially since he dropped over $1 million on the state.

Gov. Terry Branstad predicts that whoever wins on Saturday will go on to win the Iowa caucuses in February. That’s not always the rule, but it certainly does show that a candidate can be a formidable opponent. With a few of the candidates (Romney and Jon Huntsman, and Pawlenty has pulled his ads) not competiting there, it has paved the way for Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul to gain momentum.

The National Review has already labeled Ron Paul as the candidate to beat, but Philip Klein predicts that he’ll win on Saturday:

Michael Barone has a persuasive piece on why Rep. Michele Bachmann’s adept political touch in Iowa makes her the front-runner to win the Ames Straw Poll. But I’ve been assuming that Rep. Ron Paul’s rabid fan base, which has propelled him into first in many straw polls this year, will put him over the top on Saturday.

Chris Cillizza has argued that Paul’s success in straw polls is due to the fact that they usually have very small turnout, whereas Ames is quite large by straw poll standards. He notes that in 2007, Paul finished fifth, with 1,305 votes in Ames.

CNN Poll: Romney, Perry running statistically even

With the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday and candidates trying to gain ground, it looks Rick Perry will finally announce his president bid on Saturday in South Carolina; and he’ll enter the race as new polling from CNN shows him in striking distance of Mitt Romney.

The poll also shows Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin, neither of whom have announced, and Ron Paul are not far behind Perry and Romney. But what about Michele Bachmann? She may be driving some of the narrative in the race, but her numbers have dropped from 12% last month to 7% in August.

Here are the full results:

  • Mitt Romney: 17%
  • Rick Perry: 15%
  • Rudy Giuliani: 12%
  • Sarah Palin: 12%
  • Ron Paul: 12%
  • Michele Bachmann: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 5%
  • Herman Cain: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 4%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 2%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Other: 2%
  • None/No one/No opinion: 6%

CNN also weighed the field under the assumption that Giuliani and Palin don’t get in the race, and as you can see, Romney adds some separation between he and Perry. But Paul isn’t all that far behind.

Tea Party leaders say defense spending should be on the table

Unsurprisingly, neoconservatives are resisting defense spending cuts as part of the Super Committee. If you caught the GOP debate last night, you heard Newt Gingrich demagogue this by erroneously claiming that President Barack Obama is “gutting our military.” Neoconservatives have dishonestly tried using Adam Smith to gain tea party support for spending the most on defense since World War II. But at least some tea party leaders are urging the Super Committee to consider defense spending cuts:

Groups affiliated with the conservative grassroots movement say defense cuts should be on the table as the supercommittee tries to compile at least $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts.

The pressure from Tea Party groups could put pressure on establishment Republicans named to the supercommittee, who may wish to protect the Pentagon from severe cuts.

“Nothing should be sacred, and everything needs to be evaluated and cut as much as it can be,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.

Tea Party activists say defense programs should come under the same knife as any other taxpayer-funded programs, and that massive national security budgets were not exempt from their definition of “big government.”

“The liberty movement is about the fundamental limitation of government, and that doesn’t have departmental boundaries with regards to this principle,” said Chris Littleton, co-founder of the Ohio Liberty Council.

Recapping the Iowa GOP Debate

If you bothered to watch the GOP debate last night, you caught the most entertaining show yet as candidates sparred over each others record and on certain issues. There were plently of questions about credibility and viability, most of which were entirely valid. But if you were looking for a serious discussion on the real issues the country faces, including dealing with entitlements, you were no doubt disappointed.

Here is the debate, in case you missed it:

As far as winners go, I’d say that Mitt Romney could be considered a winner since he came out unscathed, not because he offered impressive knowledge of the issues or gave a dominating performance. Michele Bachmann probably should be considered a winner as well because the sparring with Tim Pawlenty probably helped her more than it hurt her.I don’t know why any candidate would purposefully pick a fight with her and keep at it like that. It only endures her more to her base.

Who are the losers? Anyone that watched and Newt Gingrich, who spent part of the evening complaining petulant 10 year-old that the questions were unfair.

Rasmussen: Bachmann, Romney and Paul making it close in Iowa

With the Ames Straw Poll this weekend, the most important date in the campaign at this point, candidates are feverishly fighting for position in Iowa. The latest from poll Rasmussen out of the Hawkeye State shows three candidates, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul within 6 points of each other and Rick Perry, who will finally announce that he is running on Saturday, isn’t far behind.

  • Michele Bachmann: 22%
  • Mitt Romney: 21%
  • Ron Paul: 16%
  • Rick Perry: 12%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 11%
  • Newt Gingrich: 5%
  • Herman Cain: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2%
  • Other: 7%

Pawlenty is downplaying the significance of the straw poll, that is if a “credible” candidate doesn’t win; clearly a shot at Bachmann and Paul. Nevermind that he is flirting with Huntsman and Santorum for the least likely to win the nomination, that is if you pay attention to the national polling. Even Paul, for example, has a good chance of winning, it shouldn’t been passed off as a fluke; as David Boaz notes in response to George Will:

Rasmussen: Romney holds small edge over Perry

Rasmussen Reports reported new numbers in the race for the Republican presidential nomination this week, which like most other polls show Mitt Romney holding a small lead. However, Rick Perry, who is expected to enter the race some time this month, has pulled ahead of Michele Bachmann.

  • Mitt Romney: 22%
  • Rick Perry: 18%
  • Michele Bachmann: 16%
  • Ron Paul: 10%
  • Herman Cain: 9%
  • Newt Gingrich: 6%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 3%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2%
  • Other: 4%
  • Undecided: 9%

Rasmussen notes that Perry has a small advantage over Bachmann with the tea party, taking 28% over the movement’s support to her 22%. According to the poll, the tea party makes up 39% of the GOP’s electorate - a higher number than most other firms have showed in their data sets. Among non-tea party voters, Romney brings in 29%. Perry is the closest to him with 13%.

What if the race were just between Romney, Perry and Bachmann? According to Rasmussen, Romney would hold a slight lead (he’d also lead each candidate in head-to-head matchups, though it would be very close):

  • Mitt Romney: 34%
  • Michele Bachmann: 27%
  • Rick Perry: 26%
  • Other: 5%
  • Undecided: 8%

So, there you go. I’ve been saying it for awhile now, but once Perry gets in this race, I really do expect him to be Romney’s biggest roadblock toward the nomination.

Ron Paul on fixing the debt

Ron Paul is running for president, and as such it’s no surprise that he has his own solution to the budget problem we’ve been having.  It was posted recently on The Hill’s website.  I have little doubt that detractors will call it “radical”, but after reading it, I just don’t see it.  It calls the proposed cuts “illusory”.  He’s got a great analogy for how many Washington cuts are made:

No plan under serious consideration cuts spending in the way you and I think about it.  Instead, the “cuts” being discussed are illusory, and are not cuts from current amounts being spent, but cuts in projected spending increases.  This is akin to a family “saving” $100,000 in expenses by deciding not to buy a Lamborghini, and instead getting a fully loaded Mercedes, when really their budget dictates that they need to stick with their perfectly serviceable Honda.  But this is the type of math Washington uses to mask the incriminating truth about their unrepentant plundering of the American people.

Yeah, that’s kind of the way it works up in D.C.

Paul’s suggestion?  Freeze spending as a start.

Will Ron Paul impress in Ames?

We’re coming up quickly on the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday, August 13th, arguably the most important event for these presidential hopefuls yet (or at least the ones actively campaigning in Iowa). It looks like Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) may be candidate to beat there right now, according to the National Review:

The Paul campaign has aggressively laid the groundwork for an impressive showing at Ames, including buying the priciest (and best) location by the arena where the straw poll is held for $31,000. In a fundraising letter last month, Paul wrote, “I’m counting on you to help me send shockwaves throughout the national political establishment with a strong finish at the Iowa Straw Poll.” His “Ready, Fire, Ames” appeal resonated: The campaign raked in $600,000. The Paul campaign is running TV ads, and Paul himself has been actively campaigning in Iowa.

Earlier this week in Iowa, he openly speculated about winning at Ames. “I wished I could say I’m the frontrunner and nobody’s ahead of me and it’s a shoo-in. But the truth is that we can do and will do very, very well and hopefully come in first,” Paul said, according to Radio Iowa.

Drew Ivers, Iowa chairman of the Paul campaign, is cautiously optimistic. “All things are possible,” he says of a first-place finish at Ames. But he is also realistic, pointing out that while Paul has had significant poll movement (an American Research Group July poll showed Paul at 14 percent, up from the 3 percent he had in April), Bachmann has had even more movement (in the same poll, Bachmann went from 9 percent in April to 21 percent in July).

Gallup: Romney leads GOP pack, but Perry and Giuliani are threats

Gallup is out with fresh numbers today in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination. And while the poll shows Mitt Romney in the lead, his lead would be slashed if Rick Perry and Rudy Giuliani enter the race. .

As I’ve said before, national polls don’t matter as far as it goes, but they make for good fodder. Romney has never been able to attractive the necessary support to win the nomination, though many Republican view it as “his turn.” Skepticism over RomneyCare, which became the blueprint for ObamaCare, is no doubt in the back of th monds of many Republican primary voters. The good news for Romney is Giuliani’s history of not committing to campaigns, so you’d have to see at least a chunk of that support going back to him should the former New York City Mayor opt not to run.

Club for Growth on Gary Johnson

Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. We’ve already covered their reports on the records of Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul. Next up is Gary Johnson, who served two terms as Governor of New Mexico (1995-2003).

The Club for Growth notes that during his eight years of service in New Mexico, Gary Johnson received at “B” on each of the Cato Institute’s biannual Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors (1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002). However, these scores don’t do him justice.

Johnson’s record on taxes is described by the Club as “excellent,” noting that he pushed back against all forms of tax hikes:

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