Potential Iowa GOP kingmaker conflicted about endorsing
December 26th, 2011
05:49 PM ET
6 years ago

Potential Iowa GOP kingmaker conflicted about endorsing

Washington (CNN) - Iowa GOP Congressman Steve King, whose support is coveted by Republican presidential candidates, said he hoped to endorse one of them months ago. But like many other Iowa Republican voters, he is having a hard time picking a horse in this Republican field.

"I've said all along I want my head and my heart to come together, and when that happens I'll jump in with both feet. That just hasn't happened yet," King told CNN.

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King spoke by phone from his car as he was arriving for a hunting outing with former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania – someone he calls a good friend, but not a candidate he's ready to endorse for president.

The Iowa Republican is a prominent conservative with rock solid credentials. Although Iowa voters are known for their independence, several Iowa Republican operatives tell CNN King's endorsement would be a big boon to any GOP candidate.

But King spoke with a mixture of bewilderment and lament about his inability to make a decision about which candidate to support. He even said he may change his mind and not endorse anyone at all.

"I have not come to the conviction where I can throw my energy behind a single candidate," said King.

Four years ago, King endorsed Fred Thompson, who was lagging behind but then went on to come in third in the Iowa caucuses.

King says this year he very much likes three of the lower tier candidates: Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. Bachmann is one of King's closest friends and political allies in Congress and someone he says he has "great respect for." He made clear one issue he is weighing is whether to back one of these candidates who may not be viable this year, but could be someone he could help position for the next presidential election.

When it comes to Iowa's frontrunners, King had praise for former Speaker Newt Gingrich's economic plans, but called his immigration policies "troubling."

King is one of the biggest hardliners in Congress when it comes to illegal immigration, and Gingrich supports a path to legality for some illegal immigrants.

King said that's not a "deal breaker" but said it does "make it harder" to endorse Gingrich.

The Iowa Republican had the harshest words for his congressional colleague, Ron Paul – particularly on the issue of foreign policy.

King recalled asking Paul what he would do with the military as commander in chief, and said Paul effectively answered that he would bring U.S. armed forces serving overseas back home.

"I do not want the Chinese knocking at our door, who would fill the power vacuum, as would the Russians, as would anybody else out there with aspirations. I think that would dramatically upset the balance of power in the world and would be something that could go down in history as one of the greatest mistakes this country would have potentially ever made," said King.

With little more than a week until the Iowa caucuses, King is well aware that time is running out for him to endorse, and if he does, for it to have an impact.

"I just haven't gotten to the point where I am convinced that one is so much better than the others and it's different for me than it is for someone going to the caucus to vote. They can put their vote up and walk away," King told CNN.

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Steve King
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. andy

    I thought America wasn't supposed to have kings or kingmakers

    December 27, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. steve

    Just another big government politician. Nothing to see here, move on.

    December 27, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. Jason

    As a registered Republican who probably is on the same conservative level, I feel this guys pain. I liike Newt, but not his immigration policies.

    December 27, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Truth somebody wrote:

    Was it stacked against Bill Gates? Steve Jobs?? And countless others that started with NOTHING but an idea and made themselves (and countless others) millionaires and billionaires.
    The deck was not as stacked against Gates and Jobs, both of whom got their starts nearly a decade before any had ever used the phrase "trickle down economics". It is worth noting that success stories like Gates and Jobs are the exception, not the rule. I should also note that much of their early success came from employees who, unlike today's business environment, were well compensated and handsomely rewarded for their efforts.

    December 27, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Lies and nothing but the Lies is going strong today with all his GOBP deathcult talking points with based on nothing any more real than unicorns and pixie dust. Working hard to get ahead is part of the America Dream. However, that dream has been outsourced to "socialist" Europe, where upward mobility is much easier. In other words, "socialism" provides a better pathway to the American Dream than following the proven policies of the GOBP deathcult ever will.

    December 27, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. From Eastern IA

    I am with 'Shane from Cedar Rapids, Iowa'
    Kingmaker? What?! Fred Thompson who?? I guess i don't even remeber that guy...
    Rep. Kig did not influnce my vote what so ever. I met him once upon a time at a Iowa College Repubilcans Convention, he was a very nice and inviting individual in person, I identified myself as a libertarian to him and he did not ignore me in the conversation after that, nor did he try and convert me. He most likely didn't take me very serious and I never took him completely serious either. I valued his opinions as a human being and I respectfully listened to what he had to say but his endorsement meant/means nothing because a number of us in Iowa are not extremely right winged therefore we respectfully listen but it goes right out the other ear.
    After seeing that he likes best a person who is out of their mind and insanely lies knowingly to the public, a person who can not remain organized long enough to make sure voters can caucus for them, and another that I only remember him being extreme right individual who wants to take on the whole world when we are already stretched thin and in an amazing amount of debt, yeah, like I am really going to listen to Rep. King this time around too.
    Can we please vote this man out? Along with the rest of congress who are not doing their jobs?

    December 27, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. John

    A republican that's confused? That's news? Stick to a subject you mjight know somethin about, Mr. King–that would be kingcorn.

    December 27, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. Joe800

    ..a nothing nobody from Iowa gets to be the big man once every 4 years...anyone ever heard of ANY legislation this idiot sponsored?...Iowa...another red sate that gets more $$ in fed aid than they pay in taxes....real independent those Iowan's...

    December 27, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. anagram_kid

    Rep. King’s conundrum is that there is not a single GOP/Tea Party candidate, including Dr. Paul, who has the decision making and critical thinking skills to be leader of the free world. When you have a party that has been hijacked by anti-intellectuals and religious zealots, the current selection is what you get. Yet another reason to eliminate the party system all together.
    Obama 2012

    December 27, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. t

    just go with BO

    December 27, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. Just a thought

    wow...Keith in Austin; time for you to get with the program...so to speak. You and that "Truthy-ness" person are just pathetic posters for "...DO NOT vote Republican-Tea-Potty / faux newsy / vacant of any thought party".

    I read all of these posts from "libruls, independents, and former Repubs" and you guys look absolutely ridiculous in the face of the onslaught.

    Time to take your medication and go lay down guys – LOL , I leave you with ; Obama/Biden 2012

    December 27, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. mikoid

    If a conservative Republican's "head and my heart ever came together" there would likely be something like a matter/anti matter explosion to contend with...

    December 27, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. J Maker

    Outside of the ultra-conservative NW Iowa, Rep. King is a viewed as a joke...same goes for this article.

    December 27, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    Do all these teapublikans go to the same tanning salon? Just wondering.
    Glad to see that Iowa has somebody who means absolutely nothing to the rest of the US!!!

    December 27, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. oubie

    Keep your Mitts off the 2012 ticket!

    December 27, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. Guest

    I always read about these "kingmakers" and then when they endorse someone NOTHING happens. lol The media is ridiculous.

    December 27, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. glyder

    remember when liberals didn't want to be called liberals.remember when progressives didn't want to be called progressives.remember when communists didn't want to be called..........oh yeah,we're there.

    December 27, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Lies and nothing but the Lies is going strong today with all his GOBP deathcult talking points with based on nothing any more real than unicorns and pixie dust. Working hard to get ahead is part of the America Dream. However, that dream has been outsourced to "socialist" Europe, where upward mobility is much easier. In other words, "socialism" provides a better pathway to the American Dream than following the proven policies of the GOBP deathcult ever will.
    Why do you still live under such oppression? Why have you not liberated yourself by migrating, legally or illegally, to Sweden or Finland or France??? Sure there you would be guaranteed to achieve your full success. Please hurry, these socialist countries will soon be bankrupt. But I'm sure that won't slow you down!

    Let me guess... you played t-ball, never kept score and everybody got a trophy? News flash: Life ain't t-ball!

    December 27, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. LordFlashheart

    There isn't a clown in that clown car qualified to drive the bloody clown car let alone steer this country. Even this guy knows it and he's a fool too! Unbelievably. Absolutely mind bogglingly astounding how far the GOP have fallen.

    December 27, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Johnathan

    why not?

    December 27, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Larry L

    @Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    " SPEND MORE/STEAL MORE, even when bankruptcy is knocking at the door."
    You never recognize the fact that it was a Republican administration in charge for 8 years when the spending went wild. For that matter Ronald was an incredible spender – most going towards defense projects. President Obama's spending was required to keep America from spiraling down into the toilet – a spiral that started on Bush's watch. What people here are saying is conservatives always preach the principles of trickle-down economics yet the results never appear in our economy.

    December 27, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. John


    December 27, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. guy

    Steve King is not a "kingmaker"; he is just another chickenhawk who never served, but seems to want to spend US blood and treasure on senseless paranoia. Steve King dropped out of college because classes for becoming a "wildlife officer" were too hard. Of course, he is struggling to choose between Bachman and Santorum, hahah. I laugh on the outside, but cry on the inside, when articles like this count for news.

    December 27, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. lineman

    If Steve King cannot make up his mind why do they keep asking him? Just leave him alone and let him sit this year out. He can wait until 2016 to pick someone. Obama will have had his two terms and the field for both parties will be wide open.

    December 27, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. JohnRJ08

    I'm reading a lot of comments here attacking "leftists" and "liberals" and, especially, President Obama. Without exception, those comments display a level of ignorance and belligerence that is astonishing. For instance, one person described the President's stimulus package as a "stupendous failure". That information probably came from the same person who gave us "death panels". If your only source of information is FOX News and Rush Limbaugh, research has shown that you are among the least informed in the country. If you rely on a bunch of wealthy high school graduates for your news, chances are your opinions about politics are going to be laughable.

    December 27, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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