A hilarious new web video takes on the media's collective obsession with residents of the Hawkeye State. In "Iowa Nice," local TV host Scott Siepker challenges the stereotypical soften-spoken conservative demeanor of this crop of Midwesterners and its controversial influence on the electoral process.
The video opens in a very not nice way, "So I hear you think you know something about Iowa? F*#$ you! You heard we're a bunch of knee-jerk conservative reactionaries. I guess that's why we went democratic in five out of the last six presidential elections."
He notes that Iowa legalized gay marriage before most states and it boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates around. And my favorite part, probably because I'm originally from Iowa, Siepker chows down on angel food cake — a favorite Iowa delicacy, only second in awesomeness to "salads" consisting of either a Cool Whip or mayonnaise base (Just ask Rick Santorum).
Siepker reminds the world while "it takes a fleet of tricked out machines and [bleep] of ag science to make it all work," not everyone is a farmer or a hillbilly. He invites the "flyovers" to at least wave — they'll even wave back. Because they're "nice."
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Rick Santorum speaking at a campaign rally in Perry, Iowa on Tuesday.
With just one day until the Iowa caucuses, Republican presidential hopefuls continue their scramble to talk with voters and court the gobs of reporters surrounding their every move. Of course, those last-minute stump speeches and baby–kissing photo-ops are to be expected. But some of the things that came out of the candidates' mouths caught even us by surprise.
Mitt Romney compares President Obama to Kim Kardashian
The sometimes socially awkward Willard M. Romney unleashed a zinger on an audience in Council Bluffs over the weekend. Well, his robot gloves are off! He likened Obama's promises to that of the Kim Kardashian's 72-day marriage.
"You know, I've been looking at some video clips on YouTube, of President Obama, then-candidate Obama, going through Iowa making promises. The gap between his promises and his performance is the largest I've seen since, well, the Kardashian wedding and the promise of 'til death do us part."
— Via Politico
"Diversity creates conflict. If we celebrate diversity, we create conflict,” Santorum told the audience in Ottumwa. When he was asked about homeopathic remedies, he said "I believe in all types of medicine."
— Via Buzzfeed
Ron Paul calls Rick Santorum 'very liberal’
Not a typo. Texas Congressman Ron Paul trashed fellow candidate Rick Santorum's "very liberal" record. Are we talking about the same dude?
Ron Paul slammed Rick Santorum, calling him "very liberal." When Bash asked why, Paul responded, "I mean, have you looked at his record? Go look at his record," Paul exclaimed. "He spends too much money. He wasn’t leading the charge to slash the budgets and vote against big government."
— Via Mediaite
While discussing welfare reform, Santorum targets African-Americans
At a campaign stop in Sioux City, the former Pennsylvania senator/Google victim singled out African-Americans as recipients of these kinds of entitlements.
"I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money," he said.
— Via CBS News
Jon Huntsman has a new web video going after Ron Paul's newsletters. Aimed at New Hampshire voters, a state where Huntsman has largely focused his campaign efforts, the clip highlights Paul's racist and homophobic messages from the 1990s and paints him as "unelectable" with the general electorate.
"I'm just making a case for electability," Huntsman told NBC News. "You know at the end of the day we've just got to win back some people who actually voted for Barack Obama, just to make the math work. So who at the end of the day is the most electable? I believe I'm the most electable candidate in the race right now."
A late-bloomer to the fickle Republican surges we've come to know this election cycle, it's now becoming a make or break situation for the former Utah governor.
Paul has proven to be the buzziest candidate of late by topping some polls in Iowa, followed by a last-minute surge for über conservative Rick Santorum.
No word on whether Huntsman would support Paul if he were to become the GOP nominee. Fellow candidate Newt Gingrich said he wouldn't vote for Paul, citing differences on foreign and domestic policies. Frontrunner Willard M. Romney said he would throw his support behind Paul if he gets picked as the party's top choice.
Say what you will about Google victim Rick Santorum, a surge in Iowa means more TV appearances. And more TV appearances mean more amazing live TV moments like his one with our favorite reverend, MSNBC's very own Al Sharpton.
Sharpton scolded the conservative presidential candidate for saying "despicable and ugly things" about President Obama on today's Morning Joe.
"I could argue with you about some of your ugly statements on the president and all of that, but that would probably help you in the primary if you and I got in an argument this morning," Sharpton said.
"Go ahead, Al. Give it to me, Al," Santorum joked. In the interview, Santorum talked about why he deserves to be president, and how he plans to dismantle so-called Obamacare.
The two shared a relatively friendly debate. But, the TV host also reminded the Republican he's running for the head of the federal government — a fact Sharpton called a "little schizo" because Santorum doesn't believe in many federal programs. Or gay rights...but that's another TV appearance.
File this one under "the kids are all right." Congresswoman Michele Bachmann met with potential voters and some soon-to-be voters at a Pizza Ranch restaurant in Waverly, Iowa, yesterday. Rep. Bachmann faced some pretty pointed questions from some young students about marriage equality and other gay rights issues.
Her answer on marriage equality clearly puzzles the kids. Bachmann tells them gay people do have the same rights to marry as straight people. They can also marry someone of the opposite sex, too. The looks on the kids' faces say it all.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Fun with corn kernels at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday.
Ahead of the debate and straw poll, Iowa voters let their choice for the Republican nominee be known…with corn. Visitors to the Iowa State fair placed single kernels into jars representing their favorite GOP candidate. So far, Michele Bachmann and Willard M. Romney seem to be the corniest — zing!
(Forgive me. As a former resident of both Iowa and Illinois, I take pride in dorky jokes involving corn and/or soybeans).
One heckler repeatedly shouted at the former Massachusetts governor, demanding to know how he would strengthen programs like Social Security and Medicare. Once Romney could get a word in, he finally yelled, "If you don’t like my answer, you can go vote for someone else!"
In the same speech, he also told the crowd "corporations are people, my friend" — a soundbite destined to haunt his campaign.
The Sarah Palin “One Nation”
publicity bus tour rolls into Iowa later in the week. While not running for president, she plans to join fellow Republicans who have descended upon The Hawkeye state for a visit to the Iowa State Fair (I’m sure actual candidates will love that).
Team Palin released a teaser trailer of sorts today on her travel plans, tossing out Midwestern imagery like Abe Lincoln, corn fields and combines. In an email to SarahPAC supporters and on her Facebook page, she confirmed it.
“We are very happy to jump back on the bus for another leg of our "One Nation Tour"! We accept with gratefulness an invitation to meet folks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this week. The heartland is perfect territory for more of the One Nation Tour as we put forth efforts to revitalize the fundamental restoration of America by highlighting our nation's heart, history, and founding principles," read the Palin note.
Many GOP presidential hopefuls are scheduled to take part in a formal debate on Thursday and Iowa's straw poll on Saturday. She's not in it to win it. Palin's just there for the deep fried offerings on sticks, or so she says.
“State fairs hold a special place in our nation's history and heritage, so my family is honored to highlight one of them on one stop along the One Nation Tour route America's historic Iowa State Fair! (I'm also excited to try some of that famous fried butter-on-a-stick, fried cheesecake-on-a-stick, fried twinkies, etc. I'll enjoy them in honor of those who'd rather make us just ‘eat our peas’!)”
Palin, the former governor of Alaska, also visited Iowa as the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008.
Mary Chind /The Des Moines Register/AP
Gov. Chris Christie speaking at the Iowa Education Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Monday.
This week, Gov. Christie appeared in Iowa where he, again, denied rumors of a 2012 run. He also stayed quiet on his pick for the GOP nomination.
Why would a non-potential candidate appear in a big primary state if he’s not even considering a run for office?
Christie says only time will tell. "Here's what I have to say about politics — two months is a long time, let alone five years. I'm not out here to lay any groundwork at all about any kind of future aspiration," he said. "2016 is a long, long way away."’
He traveled to Des Moines to attend a fundraiser for Rep. Steve King. The fellow GOP member, who had previously called for Christie to run for 2012, asked the New Jersey Governor to headline the event.
As for official GOP candidates, Christie was not moved by anyone enough to support their campaigns — at least yet.
"If I believed that someone has distinguished themselves in a way on the issues that I care about, that I feel enthusiastic enough to endorse them, I will," explained Christie. "If I’m going to get in and support someone, I’m going to do it 100 percent. To get there, I have to feel that way about one of the people offering themselves for president. If that moment comes, I certainly won’t keep it a secret." He added that he plans to support the 2012 nominee once that person is determined.
He might want to make friends with Willard M. Romney. The Republican candidate is reportedly considering Christie as a VP running mate.
— By Jeff Seymour
Lady Gaga-loving Tim Pawlenty compares himself to the Miracle on Ice in a brand new ad. For all you non-sporting buffs, that’s the legendary U.S. hockey team that went on to beat the all-mighty Soviet Union for the Olympic gold in 1980. Many still consider it one of the greatest games of all time.
In the video, which began airing in the Hawkeye State yesterday, T-Paw sets the scene by narrating from inside a skating rink. "Out here, you're tested. You face an opponent experts say can't be beat. You fight. You bleed. You prevail," said Pawlenty, drawing parallels to his own underdog campaign status. "The country's down, but we're not out. To come back we need a leader with proven record, not just rhetoric."
The former Minnesota governor said he "won" by shutting down his state’s government and taking on unions while in charge. He continues to tout that as a good thing.
T-Paw’s going to need a miracle in Iowa at the rate he’s going now. A new WSJ/NBC poll found a whopping 2% of GOP primary voters picked him as their first choice for president.
UPDATE: ABC Sports is reportedly not a fan of T-Paw's comeback ad for using its copyrighted footage without proper clearance.
With the recent budget deficit debates and now today's Debt Ceiling Summit at the White House, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann timed the release of her first 2012 election TV ad perfectly.
The 30-second ad, which will begin airing in Iowa later today, starts out on a time-lapse beauty shot of Bachmann’s hometown of Waterloo, Iowa. The video scans over family Kodak photos as she touts her Hawkeye roots and staunch fiscal conservatism.
"As a descendent of generations of Iowans, I was born and raised in Waterloo. As a mom of five, a foster parents, and a former tax lawyer and now a small business job creator, I know we can't keep spending money that we don't have," Bachmann states in the ad. The spot ends with her pledge, "That's why I fought against the wasteful bailout, against the stimulus. I will not vote to increase the debt ceiling."
After Tim Pawlenty, the congresswoman is now the second Republican presidential candidate to air a TV ad in Iowa. Yesterday, Texas Rep. Ron Paul announced a $75,000 radio ad buy.
According to the latest major polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, Bachmann came in second place in the first two primary states, just behind Mitt Romney in Des Moines Register Iowa poll released in late June. The ad comes weeks before next month’s Iowa Straw poll, a key moment for Bachmann’s campaign.
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