Iowa Republicans defend caucuses
December 20th, 2011
08:55 PM ET
11 years ago

Iowa Republicans defend caucuses

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Top Iowa Republicans, facing the very real possibility that Ron Paul could win the state caucuses on January 3, are defending their state's first-in-the-nation status against charges of irrelevancy.

Many GOP leaders consider Paul unelectable and his nomination an impossibility. So they're getting ready to dismiss the Iowa results–and that makes Gov. Terry Branstad predictably mad.

In an interview with CNN, the Iowa Republican governor tried to finesse the significance of any Paul victory.

“It's who comes in second and who comes in third as well as who comes in first. And if somebody else does surprisingly well, it could well launch their campaign. It's happened before. So you don't necessarily have to win in Iowa, but you do need to be in the top three to be in contention going forward," Branstad said.

Republicans in the state do say Paul has the best organization of any of the contenders. In fact, one senior Iowa Republican said the congressman has taken a page out of President Barack Obama's playbook by energizing new people to participate - with a special focus on young voters.

Paul, who returns to the state on Wednesday for several days of campaigning, has an appealing message that may sound oddly familiar: Washington needs dramatic change, especially on the economic front. He pledges to cut $1 trillion out of the federal budget during his first year in office.

"I think what it says is that the voters in Iowa are looking for a dramatic change and recognize that the country is clearly going in the wrong direction. Ron Paul has the biggest plan, best plan, or at least the most, uh, comprehensive plan to reduce the federal debt. And that's the number one issue in Iowa. And he has a plan that would reduce federal spending by a trillion dollars in the first year. That's a dramatic, radical, change," Branstad said.

Several Republicans acknowledged that Paul's foreign policy stances–including pushing minimum engagement for the U.S. overseas–has dampened some support for him.

Also see:

Bachmann: I'm not a politician, don't even know how to be one

Romney, on Letterman show, jokes about hair, Newt Gingrich

Perry: Romney and Gingrich backed the 'biggest act of theft in American history'

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Ron Paul • Terry Branstad
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. ahetch

    Why do we care what Iowa says. There are 49 more states. We're not tied to Iowa and from what I've heard from that state, I'm very glad.

    December 21, 2011 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  2. Dixie AZ

    Isn't this caucus Iowa's main claim to fame? Iowa loves being first in the nation with their caucus. And now, heaven forbid, someone they don't approve of may win. What to do? You should love Paul. He's planning to do away with lots of government stuff. The department of Education, even the government itself, farm subsidies, social security, medicare, on and on. He's full of good ideas.

    December 21, 2011 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  3. joe smith

    typical AIPAC response; if they can't buy their candidate in by way of minipulating the media, which they control, they just use patsys like trump to spu unelectaility statements, and if that doesn't work, they just say we are taking our ball, and going home, after spending millions in Iowa, and in contrived debates to persuade the American people Romney is their guy, but the American people have spoken and honesty, integrity, the Constitution, wasteful spending have won in the form of Ron Paul..

    December 21, 2011 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  4. joe smith

    too bad you folks aren't in china, you'd make perfect filters..isn't that the same as hackers..

    December 21, 2011 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  5. joe smith

    Ron Paul will win despite the efforts of the liberal media, that means the American people win, not AIPAC, and their cry-babies

    December 21, 2011 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  6. TnMuse

    I think many Americans including Republicans are beginning to see the sense of Ron Paul's foreign policy as well as his economic policy. We can see in the news that our current policy of propping up dictators in other countries has led to problems like you now see in Egypt. We've been aiding Pakistan and now they are turning against us. Iraq was a failure and Afghanistan is going pretty bad too. The American people now realize they were lied to about WMD as a reason to go into Iraq, so many of them are questioning these threats about Iran. And Ron Paul is right about diplomacy worked with JFK in the cuban missle crisis, so if we can earn the trust and respect this nation once held, we've got a good chance of living peacefully in this chaotic world.

    Ron Paul might be energizing the young people with his economic policies, but we old tired people are really tired of war after war after war...especially when they are not declared by congress, they take so many lives unnecessarily and we can't afford them anymore. We are sacrificing the defense of our own country and our borders for the sake of ...well...WHAT? Somebody's mixed up philosophy in my opinion.

    Ron Paul is doing well in the republican primaries, but he will do even better in the general election because all of those people who believed Obama's lies are now looking for somebody honest to give their vote too. Do you know anybody besides Ron Paul that fills the bill?

    December 21, 2011 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  7. Logic in LA

    No Caucus should mean anything more than a straw poll. You have a process that allows very few people to spend their time moving form one candidate to another. This is neither fair or indicative of real choice.

    December 21, 2011 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  8. ed howard

    In spite of media bias that can cut a candidates vote in half, Paul was still doing so well that in desperation the GOP elites are trying to scare Iowans into not voting for Paul by threatening irrelevance. They are rather sad. Let the voters choose!

    See VoteYourHeart.US to learn more of how media Bias cost America $10 Trillion in debt.

    December 21, 2011 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  9. Not Known

    Ron Paul WINS 2012 election in a landslide..... pundits headlines read "what does this mean?" "do we redo the elections now?" and "what is this Constitution people keep talking about?"
    Is there anything he can do to get the news behind him.
    The only reason they keep asking if he will run independent and not ask the others is because he is the only one that would have a chance if he did!

    December 21, 2011 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  10. Steve Sproles

    The warmonger establishment is getting nervous. Ron Paul will give Americans their money back and he will give Americans their country back! They can't handle the truth! RON PAUL 2012!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 21, 2011 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  11. David

    I have to say, for a guy who does good no many polls, it just seems like he has everything working against him BUT the voters. Isn't that odd? I won't vote for him. He switched his beliefs on abortion, lost my vote. I'd rather he stick to his libertarian guns.

    December 21, 2011 04:56 am at 4:56 am |
  12. Georgia Tee

    Just another indicator that when the teapubs can't win by the rules, they just change them !

    December 21, 2011 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  13. Marie MD

    Doesn't matter what the 78 year old crazy wins in Iowa. He is NOT making it to the WH except on a tour!

    December 21, 2011 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  14. the truth

    Ok, so let me get this straight. Ron Paul energizes young people, independents, and is the most likely GOP candidate that a democrate would vote for, and somehow this is bad for the GOP?

    I switched to the GOP just to vote for Ron Paul, if he is not the nominee, then I will not be able to support the GOP any longer. I like most Democrats for Ron Paul will most likely vote for a write in for Paul or vote for Obama.

    The "GOP Leadership" should really consider how big the GOP could be with Ron Paul as the Candidate. I guess they are not serious about growing the party.

    December 21, 2011 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  15. Peter E

    Republicans hate Paul because he is an ACTUAL conservative. Republicans claim they are conservative, but consistently increase the size of the government and constantly channel taxpayer money into bailouts and subsidies for their corporate buddies. Paul would make actual cuts to the government, even the pet programs republicans wanted to keep. Paul also recognizes the waste of money Americas constant medling in every country in the world brings us, all the while putting us further in debt and in the pockets of China. Republicans don't want to cut our military budget. (largely, because they are in the pockets of the private contractors to the military, who actually end up with a lot of that money)
    No wonder republicans want to see Paul fail. They are afraid of actual conservatism.

    December 21, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
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