November 27, 2014

Candidates speak of spines, religion, biography & benchmarks

Two of the four Republican candidates who are campaigning in Iowa today made stops in Ames, the city that will host the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll on Saturday, while the other two campaigned in western Iowa.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty suggests the Straw Poll will provide a good “benchmark” for the candidates.

“The way I look at it is the preseason’s wrapped and this is the kick-off to the formal campaign,” Pawlenty told a group of reporters early this morning. “The ultimate goal is the Caucuses. We want to have a good showing at the Straw Poll. I’m confident that we will.”

Pawlenty focuses on his record as a two-term governor to try to draw voters to his candidacy. Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain hammers away at his own biography.

“Having been a businessman for over 40 years, what that has allowed me to do is to sharpen my problem-solving skills,” Cain said today in Sioux City. “That’s what sets me apart from all of the other candidates.”

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has been offering up his religion as a selling point.

“The Republican Party has never nominated a Roman Catholic,” Santorum said in Ames today. “That might not be a bad idea when you think of Iowa, Pennsylvania, Florida and some of the big swing states in the east.”

And at nearly every campaign stop, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann does a half-turn in front of the crowd, gestures down the middle of her back and makes this declaration: “Behind this dress is a titanium spine.”

Bachmann, Santorum, Cain and Pawlenty all are campaigning in Iowa again tomorrow. On Tuesday evening a fifth GOP candidate — Texas Congressman Ron Paul — will arrive. On Wednesday Paul will go on a bus tour through the state with his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.