Des Moines, Iowa As I checked in to my hotel here tonight, the first person I ran into in the lobby was Rick Santorum. Accompanied by his family, he (and they) seemed in a good mood—which was made even better when I told him I wasn't going to write a post predicting his victory, because it would just jinx him. He heaved a sigh of relief, and laughingly urged me to confidently proclaim Mitt Romney the winner.
It’s likely that no candidate will win so much as 30 percent of the votes cast in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses. Yet you can bet that the press corps will crown as the big winner the candidate who gets perhaps one-quarter of the votes of caucus-goers in a state that’s half the size of the average state. Meanwhile, those who get one-sixth, or one-seventh, or one-eighth, of that same vote, will be labeled as losers who might want to think about dropping out of the national race. This, of course, is foolishness.
Ron Paul is at 20%, Mitt Romney at 19%, and Rick Santorum at 18%. Rounding out the field are Newt Gingrich at 14%, Rick Perry at 10%, Michele Bachmann at 8%, Jon Huntsman at 4%, and Buddy Roemer at 2%.
The latest poll of Republican Iowa caucusgoers by the Des Moines Register finds Mitt Romney maintaining a slight lead over his Republican rivals with 24 percent support. In the survey, conducted over four days in the last week, Ron Paul comes in a close second with 22 percent, and Rick Santorum sees his numbers improve to 15 percent ahead of Tuesday's caucuses. Here's more from the Register:
Des Moines The conventional case against Ron Paul's fiscal policy is that it's unrealistic because it's too bold. That's true enough: Ronald Reagan couldn't abolish one department; Ron Paul wants to abolish five (Education, Energy, HUD, Interior, and Commerce). But there's a much stronger case to be made that Paul's fiscal policy is not that bold at all. It is, in fact, the most timid fiscal policy put forward by any Republican presidential candidate this year.
Marshalltown, Iowa A few months ago, who would have believed that Gov. Rick Perry would spend his last five days before the Iowa caucus running attacks on Rick Santorum? But there Perry was, in a tiny room upstairs at Doughy Joey’s Peetza Joynt in Waterloo, uncorking a mini stem-winder, assaulting Santorum for his time in Washington: Santorum voted for pork barrel projects and earmarks, including a teapot museum in North Carolina and Alaska’s Bridge to Nowhere. Santorum also voted—multiple times—to raise the debt ceiling. (Perry has an ad up on the air hitting Santorum on these same points.)
As Jonathan Last pointed out, John H. Sununu, the former chief of staff for President George H.W. Bush and a top adviser for Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign, recently told the New Hampshire Union Leader that "Iowans picks [sic] corn and New Hampshire picks Presidents."