August 12th, 2007
11:50 AM ET
14 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. Brian Hubbell II

    Romney bought almost all of his votes. He had a barbecue, paid the registration fees and bussing fees, as well as paid I think it was $60 to anyone who promised to vote for him. He is up there with the Clinton's when it comes to being a professional liar.

    August 12, 2007 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. A. Chico-Juarbe, Arecibo, Puerto Rico

    I believe that Mr. Romney should enjoy his "win", just for the time being. As soon as a pragmatic conservative from the South shows up, his candidacy will lose most of it's steam. I have discarded McCain, Giuliani is a lightweight, and Brownback doesn't have "it". If Fred Thompson joins the race, I would bet my money on his candidacy. And if Hillary Clinton becomes the democratic candidate, that would unify the republicans behind Thompson. Hillary is the best thing that can happen to the republicans in 2008.

    August 12, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. Debie

    A sad day for America – Mitt Romney, renown dog-abuser, wins/purchases a popularity contest. Aren't we just a bastion of democracy the world should follow.
    Only one candidate in the republican race is worth listening to for longer than it takes to change the channel: Ron Paul.

    August 12, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. Heather, IL

    I was there. I watched bus after bus after bus come in with only a handful of people on them... maybe 3 or 4. Mitt's supporters were an army of golf carts and CHILDREN – and they had no problem with heckling, namecalling, and basically being rude to other people who weren't wearing their pre-paid yellow t-shirts. I braved the tough corwn and listened to two of his speeches. I heard his wife talking about what a great family she has. I heard his sons talking about how his wife would make a great first lady because they had a wonderful family. And when Mitt FINALLY spoke – i heard "oh, what a wonderful family i have." The ONLY thing he said that actually had anything to do with politics or our nation was "we're going to change things in Washington" and i think he said "We need to support our troops!" Well, you know what Mitt? If kissing babies is your thing – great. But i'd prefer a candidate who actually THINKS and DISCUSSES the ISSUES. And doesn't have to pay for his support. Or bus in senior citizens, promise them free food, and then bus them out before they had the opportunity to hear the other candidate's speeches. Slick Mitt, real slick.

    August 12, 2007 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  5. Lee, Charlotte,Vermont

    Mitt Romney set out to win the Ames, Iowa straw poll and he did. The other candidates had the same opportunity to win, but they didn't. An unwilliness to compete is not an admirable trait. The dismissiveness of the results ring hollow. Any other candidate would trade places with Mitt in a second.

    August 12, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  6. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    To those bashing Romney. Ever heard of the Aesop's fable of the fox and the sour grapes? Romney won because he is a go getter and he had the drive to do it. Grind your teeth and spit out all kinds of epitaphs for other candidates, the reality still is: Romney won.

    August 12, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  7. Shannon Soul

    Nice to see Mitt can buy the presidency.

    August 12, 2007 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  8. Paul, CO

    Changing ones mind would be considered a flip. Everyone does it. Changing back and forth (John Kerry) is a flip-flop. Mitt Romney flipped, but there was no flop.

    August 13, 2007 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  9. Nick, Boston , MA

    Frankly, I think Romney had to manufacture a victory of any sort to stay in contention. This is not a very significant event – too far from the real meat of the campaign. Bear in mind that the impact, if any, of this victory will dissipate in about a week, if it lasts that long. As for the real campaign, Romney remains high second-tier at best. He's thrown a certain amount of money and time on the straw poll, because it is his only slight chance to gain some credibility. However, if you remember what charges of flip-flopping did to Kerry in '04, how do you think Romney will survive even a brief review of his total inconsistency? Forget the straw poll in Iowa – everyone else already has!

    August 13, 2007 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  10. Greg, NY, NY

    "...and Romney will carry the torch all the way back to D.C."

    Yep, and then he'll hand it off to one of the Democrats.

    August 13, 2007 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  11. James, Bettendorf, Iowa

    This is a unique year for caucuses and primaries considering the heavy front-loadingin January and February. Traditionally, the winner in Iowa and New Hampshire has been propelled into first and enjoyed subsequent successes on Super Tuesday and beyond (see John Kerry, etc.) McCain and Giuliani are breaking this trend and assuming that, because there are so many other primaries and caucuses so early in the season, wins in Iowa/New Hampshire won't carry the same weight as they have. Romney and company disagree. This will undoubtedly be a fatal error one of the three.

    August 13, 2007 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  12. Anon.

    Hey Lance, its called "summer time", and it happens every year. Global warming is not the cause of this SEASONAL rise in temperature. In 6 months, are you going to claim "global cooling"? – I didnt think so.

    August 13, 2007 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  13. Justin Kapacinskas, Schaumburg, IL

    Willard "Mitt" Romney spent, by some accounts, $6M on campaigning/buying votes for the Iowa Straw Poll. That is more than a third of what was spent on the 9/11 Commission ($15M).

    Now you tell me where this country's priorities are.

    August 13, 2007 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  14. Travis

    Congrats Mitt! Congrats Mike! You two would make a GREAT ticket! Leave Rudy "Just fight the easy fights" Guiliani in New York where he belongs. Leave Fred aka "Arthur Branch" Thompson in Hollywood where he belongs. I'm telling you, Mitt and Mike would make an excellent ticket!

    August 13, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. Linda - Albany, NY

    Quite the arrogant comment for a victory that really doesn't amount to Jack. Don't put that feather in your cap just yet, Mr. Romney – you know what they say about pride...

    August 13, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Roy, Pensacola FL

    Why is the main stream media is blocking or boycotting Ron Paul. I am a life long Republican. I am also an Iraqi War veteran and disabled veteran. Is this America or a conspiracy state. He is the only candidate. The rest are all the same. I can't tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans any more. I beg you please help Ron Paul save our great Republic. To me my friends and family he is our only and best hope. For our children for our future, we must have a tomorrow . The country cannot go on as is. I beseech you to more robustly cover this great American. Restorer of the Republic and possibly the last defender of the Constitution.
    1. Sincerely,

    August 15, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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