Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says rather than “crying over” problems in the counting of votes in Iowa’s 2012 Caucuses, it’s time to begin drafting changes for next time.

“I think we’d better concentrate on a couple of things. One, whatever shortcomings there were that made it so let’s say eight precincts didn’t report, we need to correct that,” Grassley says. “But we’d better start looking toward the future: 2016.”

 The Iowa Republican Party’s chairman announced in the early on January 4 that Mitt Romney had won the 2012 Iowa Caucuses by just four votes. Yesterday, the Iowa GOP’s chair declared Rick Santorum the winner by 34 votes, after the “certified” results showed both vote shifts and missing forms for those eight precincts. Critics of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses say these results are just more ammunition for other states angling to hold the opening contest in the presidential election season. Grassley says he doesn’t think the state deserves any sort of “black eye” over the 2012 Caucus results and he’s urging Iowa Republicans and Democrats to remain unified in working to keep Iowa’s Caucuses first.

“We’ve got good reasons to be first in the nation because people that can’t raise big money or aren’t wealthy can run for president in Iowa and if you don’t have these sorts of environments we’re going to squeeze a lot of people out of the possibility of being president,” Grassley says. “So I want to look to the future and keep Iowa, New Hampshire together and our two political parties working together so we’re first in the nation.”

As for Iowans who say they’re embarrassed by the topsy-turvy outcome of the 2012 GOP Caucuses, Grassley is sending this signal:  “It’s like crying over spilled milk. We’re past that…Let’s correct what was wrong and let’s move on.”

A now-former 2012 candidate — Jon Huntsman — skipped Iowa entirely and ridiculed Iowa as a place where we pick corn, whereas in New Hampshire they pick presidents. Grassley, in sticking up for Iowa’s Caucuses, suggests neither Jimmy Carter nor Barack Obama would have won the presidency is they hadn’t won the Iowa Caucuses.

Grassley made his comments during taping of the “Iowa Press” program which airs tonight on Iowa Public Television.