Bob Dole, the winner of Iowa’s Caucuses in 1988 and 1996, published an open letter to Iowans in The Des Moines Sunday Register — his endorsement of Mitt Romney. Dole called Romney the party’s “best hope” and “the kind of man” Iowans should support.
Friday, in Sioux City, Romney made his own pitch.
“I need your help at the Caucus,” Romney said. “I need you guys to get there. I’d love to have your support.”
The Des Moines Register’s editorial board also endorsed Romney this weekend.
Three candidates banking on a better-than-expected finish in the Caucuses spent the weekend campaigning in the state. Rick Santorum made his closing pitch to more than 50 people in Atlantic Sunday night.
“I’m talking two weeks — two weeks to get engaged as a citizen to change the future of your country. In my opinion, you have an obligation to do that,” Santorum said. “Even if you go out and you’re not for me, fine. Go do it for somebody else, but do it.”
Rick Perry visited nine cities around the state this weekend, including a Sunday night stop in Decorah.
“If you will have my back on the 3rd of January when you go to Caucus, I will have your back in Washington, D.C. for the next four years,” Perry said.
Michele Bachmann visited 20 Iowa cities on Saturday and Sunday.
“I need your support,” Bachmann told a Sunday night crowd in Mason City. “Come out on January 3 and we’re going to win this thing and we’re going to send a shock wave around the world.”
Newt Gingrich spent the weekend in Washington, D.C., but Gingrich held a Saturday morning conference call with Iowans to address his critics.
“I feel badly about having to have this kind of a phone call, just to dispel negative things,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich said he’d hold more conference calls with supporters and potential supporters in the days ahead so they can hear his voice directly responding to attacks on his record.
Reporting in Sioux City by Woody Gottburg of KSCJ; in Atlantic by Ric Hanson of KJAN; in Decorah by Darin Svenson of KDEC; in Mason City by Bob Fisher of KLSS/KRIB