If all politics were truly local, Tim Pawlenty might still be in the race. The former governor of Minnesota made the best offer to Iowans, promising to cook their dinner or mow their lawn. Of course, there was a catch. The winner of the dinner and a freshly clipped lawn had to come up with an example of something specific offered by President Obama to solve the economic mess.
Last week's Republican debate at Ames, Iowa, and the straw poll Saturday did more than sort out the Republican field for 2012.
Bachmann did it with advertising and a ton of what used to be called "free" media - press - but is now called "earned" media. This result will boost her Q-factor but there are two dark clouds on the horizon: Perry and Palin
Never before has there been a televised presidential candidates debate so short a time before the Iowa Republicans' Ames straw poll. Last night's debate, co-sponsored by The Washington Examiner and Fox News Channel, provided plenty of spirited conflict and some unscripted, or at least unanticipated, moments.
Fox News wanted to look for questions to ask and for ways to ask them which would make the candidates engage on the stage. As one Fox exec put it, "We know they want to throw punches at Obama, we want to see how they mix it up with each other."
Herman Cain asserts that the American people are looking for a non-politician in the 2012 presidential election.
Nothing in the Constitution says that Iowa gets to vote for president before any other state. It just does. For years, Iowa like many states had precinct caucuses that elected delegates to county conventions, which in turn elected delegates to the state convention, which then elected delegates to the national convention.