After a brief break for the holiday, the final week of Caucus campaigning has kicked off as five GOP presidential candidates will hold 22 events in Iowa today alone. Mitt Romney told a group of Iowans listening to a telephone conference call last night that he’ll be in Iowa on New Year’s Eve, which is just three days before the Iowa Caucus voting.
“I look forward to seeing you on the trail. I’d love to have your help in the Caucus,” Romney said at the close of the call. “I really do want you guys to get out to the Caucus and participate.”
Romney is due to speak in Davenport early this evening. Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann have been holding a series of events in western Iowa today. Newt Gingrich kicked off a bus tour of the state that’s half as ambitious as originally planned. Instead of 44 cities — to match Perry’s bus tour in December — Gingrich will visit 22 cities in this week leading up to Caucus Night.
Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House, stressed an economic message during a midday appearance before the Dubuque Rotary Club, suggesting any uptick in the U.S. economy before November, 2012 would be linked to President Obama’s chances for a second term.
“The minute people begin to believe Obama’s going to lose, you will see the economy start to move,” Gingrich said. “And on Election Night, if it is clear that a team committed to cutting taxes, cutting regulations, creating American energy and rebuilding respect for people willing to create jobs is winning, I think you’ll be surprised by the next morning how much new investment, how many new opportunities, how much new energy there is in the American system.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry met with voters in Council Bluffs this morning. Perry told the standing room-only crowd at a downtown restaurant that he’s the only “authentic” conservative in the presidential race.
“Why should you have to settle for anything less than the real deal to go to Washington D.C. and to represent your values and work for you in Washington? I mean, look, I got all the respect in the world for the front-runners in this race, but ask yourself, if we replace a Democratic insider with a Republican insider, you think we’re really going to change Washington D.C.?,” Perry said, as people in the audience began responding, “No.” Perry amplified his point: “No way.”
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann also started her campaign day in Council Bluffs, with the goal of stopping in 10 counties before day’s end. Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich and Rick Santorum will participate in a Presidential Pro-Life Forum radio broadcast later this evening. Santorum’s campaign day started in Fort Dodge and he’ll speak at a rally in Waterloo at six o’clock. The radio forum is scheduled to start at eight o’clock.