August 12th, 2007
11:50 AM ET
11 years ago

Romney: No-shows knew they would lose

Romney said the candidates who did not show knew they could not win straw poll.

AMES, Iowa (CNN)- The winner of the Ames, Iowa straw poll says the three Republican presidential hopefuls who skipped the contest knew they couldn’t win. Mitt Romney came in first in this crucial early GOP presidential showdown. The former Massachusetts Governor won nearly 32% of the vote, far ahead of his competitors.

At a news conference after the results were announced, Romney discussed why former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Senator Fred Thompson, and Senator from Arizona John McCain decided to skip this straw poll. Romney said “their decision not to compete here was not a decision based on strength.” Romney continued, saying “the guys who decided not to play would have played here if they thought they could have won.”

Giuliani, Thompson, who’s not even a formal candidate yet, and McCain are one, two, and three in most national polls. Romney follows in fourth place.

Here in Iowa it’s a different story. Romney leads in the state polls. The Iowa caucuses kick off the presidential primary season.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Iowa • John McCain • Mitt Romney • Race to '08 • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. dd

    Word. That is obvious.

    August 11, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  2. David, Salinas, CA

    Why would any true conservative want to get into a money-burning
    contest with a multi-millionaire?

    I hope the reasonable citizens of Iowa are wise enough to slap this guy down in the caucuses.

    August 11, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  3. Mark Sherwood, Henderson, NV

    Rudy's heart is not in this. It reminds me of his Senate race with Hillary pre-cancer.

    Rudy blew off scheduled meetings in upstate New York to attend Yankee games.

    As a former NYC resident, it is disheartening to see that Rudy just doesn't seem to get it.

    Rudy showed disrespect to the state. He has all but conceded the Iowa primary.

    P.S. I think the Yankees beat the Indians today. I'm sure Rudy watched.

    August 11, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  4. Hank Henry, Monmouth, IL 61462

    Big deal. He bought this victory with his millions. We don't have a democracy to export anymore. We have shown the world how it can be bought.

    August 12, 2007 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  5. Jeremy, Gastonia, NC

    I don't think so, The Iowa caucaus is a straw poll, basically seeing where everybody stands, and by the look of it half the rep. party don't which way is up, and the other part, haven't found a "true" conservative, and between a flip-flopper, and a couple moderates, I doubt they will find one with enough of anythimg to be considered a true conservative.

    August 12, 2007 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  6. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Some Conservatives talk about the need for a "true" Conservative, but there is no such thing. There are many groups of people with mutually exclusive agendas who call themselves Conservative, but they don't believe in the same principles. The religious right is obsessing over flag burning, christmas trees, and abortion. Corporatist Conservatives want no taxes on and no governmental oversight of corporation and they don't care at all about flag-burning or abortion. Libertarians are off living in their own dream world. The wealthy desire to maximize their wealth and have no desire to conserve anything. Conservatism is a charade, not a political philosophy.

    August 12, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. Kim, Mpls, MN

    I agree David, how many millions did he have to spend on this? This feel good moment will pass, and he'll be forced back into his own pocket for funds....I wonder how his donors feel about this..

    August 12, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. Russ - Goose Creek, SC

    Actually, there is a true Conservative in the race. But he doesnt talk in :30 sound bites & doesnt say what voters want to hear. He tells the truth, & it doesnt make voters feel good so they dont like it. His name is Ron Paul.

    August 12, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    It is interesting to note that although all the candidates at the poll sweltered in over 100 degree heat, nobody was talking about global warming as far as I'm aware. They ignore the issue completely as a party just like they do anything else that might cause their huge corporate sponsors to start sweating. The republican party is trapped by their own greed and fear. They have become a party of backward thinking bullies who can think of nothing better to say about the last six years than "at least he's kept us safe for the last six years." Uh... what about 9/11? If I'm not mistaken, that happened under the current "tough on terror" president's watch, a few months after the President recieved a bold typed memo entitled, "OSAMA BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO ATTACK IN UNITED STATES."

    If you want to watch the election, ignore these do nothings and watch the democratic primaries. They will determine the next president of The U.S.

    To anyone out there who is sitting at home thinking that they can sit on the sidelines and wait for the candidate primaries to resolve so that the real election can begin…

    We are having the next Presidential election of the United States RIGHT NOW, in forums like this one. We are now, in an immediate sense, choosing our next president, through discussion, through debate, through careful investigation and communication.

    This is how our forefathers imagined a democracy to work. People coming together to say what they like and don't like about a candidate.

    Barrack Obama has inspired the kind of passion that can win an election. He's been the only one to do so. Whomever wins the Democratic primary will almost certainly win the general election as well, unless the candidate picked doesn't inspire the kind of watchfulness and passion that Barrack Obama has inspired on this site and many others like it.

    Do not wait to get involved. Do not wait to voice your thoughts and opinions. Do NOT let the media pick our next President because it is expedient, profitable and divisive of them to.

    Take charge of our democratic process and the people that would drag this country further into mediocrity and greed, fear and hate, superstition and stereo-type, will not have a chance to rely on what they constantly depend upon… our inaction, our silence, our continued belief that there is nothing we can do to affect the goverment and through the government the future of our own country.

    By engaging now you are winning the election. To wait, you lose it. For all of us.

    August 12, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Paul, Boston, MA

    I'm from Massachusetts. Mitt Romney is so phony and plastic. He will do and say whatever to get to the nomination. He came to liberal Massachusetts and adapted to what was necessary to become governor. He only used Massachusetts to lauch his presidential campain. The guy is the ultimate political candidate. He has since changed many of his core "beliefs". I think Iowans were hoodwinked. I hope the nation is not.

    August 12, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. Allen Ridge

    This was a great win by Mitt Romney who is probably the most qualified candidate to ever run for President of the USA.
    Mitt won the Iowa straw vote with 31.5% of the vote in 1999 George Bush won by a slightly smaller percentage at 31.3%. Mitt’s margin of victory was even greater than Bush’s in 1999. There Mitt’s margin of victory was 13.4% and Bush’s was 10.5%.
    Mitt also was impressive in that his average polling number in Iowa to date is at 24.8% according to Real Clear So taking nearly 32% of the vote shows that conservative Iowans like Mitt Romney’s message and where he stands on the issues. Mitt worked hard for this win and Americans like it when public officials work hard, he deserved to win. The fact that Rudy, John, and Fred were scare to compete with Mitt is going to send a message to all Americans that their organization and passion to win and compete in all States is lagging.
    The Romney’s would make a great First Family and I believe if Americans liked Ronald Reagan they are going to love Mitt Romney!

    If America's liberal wolfpack press and their followers want to continue with their negative sterotypes of this man and his family so be it.
    Mitt has no skeletons in his closet and is as "solid" a candidate this country has seen in a long time.

    August 12, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Terry from El Paso, you are exactly Digby said: "There is no such thing as a bad conservative. "Conservative" is a magic word that applies to those who are in other conservatives' good graces. Until they aren't. At which point they are liberals.

    Get used to the hearing about how the Republicans failed because they weren't true conservatives. Conservatism can never fail. It can only be failed by weak-minded souls who refuse to properly follow its tenets. It's a lot like communism that way."

    August 12, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. Shelly M., Tucson, AZ

    "He bought is win" your vote up for sale? Don't minimize the people of Iowa. Their vote was not up for sale.

    Romney is an incredible candidate. Get used to it. Congrats Mitt! I have yet to read one good reason why Mitt should not be the next President.

    August 12, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    11,000 people who were paid to come carry signs for a group of candidates who have no chance for the party's nomination doesn't exactly equate to "crucial" to me. The turnout was WAY lower than expected because the main Republican candidates decided to bypass the event for strategical reasons.

    Giuliani didn't participate in this event because he knows that it is most important for him to win the big states like Florida, California, et al. These states have many more moderate Republican voters (as well as many more people obviously) and these are the states that will most likely be open to a candidate with moderate social values at this point.

    An Iowa win for Romney would do even less for him than McCain's win in New Hampshire in 2000. Republican's are all coming to realize that the party's only chance for a win in 2008 is uniting behind Giuliani who is ahead or within the margin of error in national polling against the top Democratic candidate.

    In the end, Romney is wasting a HELL of a lot of his own money for a campaign that has little chance of finishing better than 3rd.

    August 12, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. Staten Island Republican, NY, NY

    I agree with Romney and with what Huckabee said as well which is that those who did not participate basically lost or forfeited the fight. Whatever bad press they get for it is deserved and warranted.

    August 12, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Anon, Houston, Texas

    Allen, you think Mitt Romney is one of the most qualified people ever to run for President? Just curious, what do you consider "qualifications needed for the Presidency?"

    I hope, truly hope, that Mitt Romney wins the Republican nomination. I pray for it, I really do. Because if you guys decide he's The One, this man who lives by the "non-answer answer" and the "I changed my mind" creed of political discourse, I have no fear of him being elected. I give Americans a bit more credit than that.

    Go Mitt!

    August 12, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Adam, Clearwater, FL

    It is disturbing that the press is acting as little more than an amplifier for the strongest, most well funded candidates, like Romney or Obama. By covering the strong candidates BECAUSE they are strong, the snowball effect simply feeds more money and power into those campaigns.

    The press would serve this country better by making every effort to equally cover all candidates so as to give the people of this nation a complete picture of those would lead it.

    August 12, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. DC, Texas

    I don't know why everyone is whining that Romney bought his votes. Yes, he has a lot of money, but how much of his money did he spend on campaigning? Just because he could spend money on his campaign doesn't mean that he did. If you had a half a brain, you would have thought about that.

    August 12, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Non Iowa

    Its Iowa folks, who cares?

    August 12, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Brad, Columbia, SC

    As I see it, there are two reasons Republicans don't talk about climate change:

    1) They and/or their constituents don't believe in it. So be it.

    2) If they talk about climate change and put it on people's minds, they know it will only hurt them. Democrats are much stronger on this issue.

    August 12, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. John Thomas, Edina, MN

    Haha Romney spent MILLIONS to buy everyones' votes by busing them in, making them steak, and then buying their registration. LOL I don't know what is more pathetic: Romney paying millions to buy votes or the people that were suckered in to do this.

    Ron Paul got 9% of the vote and he was only in Iowa for 2 days and spent very, very little money.

    August 12, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. mb, new york NY

    Yeah you had to pay to vote... $35. Nice that the article "forgets" to mention that little tidbit.

    Oh well, at least a Romney nomination would all but assure a Democrat President.

    August 12, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. Latka Gravits

    Yeah, spin it, Mitty! 🙂

    You won because you spent $2400.00 per vote, and for no other reason.

    It just proves that uber wealthy people who seek even more power, and are willing to pay for it, are NOT TO BE TRUSTED!

    August 12, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. SlickWilly, Las Vegas, NV

    Mitt Romney has spent a lot of money to get his name known in Iowa (about $4 M), but it wasn't just for the straw poll. It's also taken him from 7% to 30% in Iowa polls of likely caucus goers. When Romney wins in Iowa and follows that up w/a win in NH, his momentum will be unstoppable.

    In 2004, Kerry was polled at 7% nationally the day before the Iowa Caucus. Two days later he was up to 29% nationally. After he won NH, his national number shot up to 53%. Romney is an intelligent man. He realized the concept of momentum in presidential politics. Winning early is the key to winning it all. Rudy's national popularity will flame out when Republicans see him lose the first two states by double-digit margins and Romney will carry the torch all the way back to D.C.

    August 12, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Jack Mehoff, AL

    What's this climate change that you speak of?

    August 12, 2007 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
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