Iowa Republicans defend caucuses
December 20th, 2011
08:55 PM ET
10 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. C. K. Justus

    I hope he wins and it shows how stupid the American primary voter is when we have separate primaries or caucuses.
    Primary elections should be just as the General elections, they should be held on one day for both parties at the same time and with no restriction who anyone could vote for other than for one candidate in one party.
    That way the All the American people have a say in who will be the nominee for their party of choice and of course the person of their choice instead of a few voters who have little choice as the campaigns go on and we have people like the Koch brothers and others buying elections of their puppets.

    December 20, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  2. Don WV

    "Several Republicans acknowledged that Paul's foreign policy stances–including pushing minimum engagement for the U.S. overseas–has dampened some support for him." I wish someone could show me how all of these endless wars has improved our countries defense? I see a country that is tired of war and BANKRUPT because of them!

    Ron Paul 2012!!!

    December 20, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  3. Rob in MO

    Ron Paul is such a phony – claims to be a liberatarian while advocating that the government force women to continue unwanted pregnancies against their will. This is government tyranny.

    December 20, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    It's the only time those hick farmers get any attention. Do they represent the REAL people in the rest of the country? NO

    December 20, 2011 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  5. Larry L

    Iowa and Ron Paul have been left behind by a dynamic, interconnected, and rapidly transitioning world. The politics and ideology of the 1950s are no longer relevant – just like the state and this candidate.

    December 20, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. germgaz1

    The Iowa Straw Polls have almost always proved to be meaningless - as they did again this year. The caucuses are equally easily influenced by individual politicians "buying" the votes. They are generally also meaningless.

    December 20, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  7. Iowa Resident

    As someone who plans on participating in the Iowa Caucuses, I will do so in support of Ron Paul.

    As a political Independent, who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, Ron Paul has the best plan to restore the Federal Government's Constitution; cut welfare and warfare, restore civil liberties and end the Fed Reserve Bank's influence on our currency!

    Question: What other modern "democracy" has two-party rule anywhere else in the world?

    December 20, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  8. Henry Miller

    The sad thing is that Paul is the only Republican who really makes sense. Of the rest of the pack. some are religious nuts, some are authoritarian statists, some are jingoistic war-mongers, most are some combination of the above, and some are all of the above. The only good thing that can be said about most Republicans is that they at least make the right noises about keeping the Democrats from reducing the country to an abject welfare state and spending it i(further) nto bankruptcy.

    December 20, 2011 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  9. Carlos

    Some Iowans seem to think that what happens in Iowa will determine he general election. I'd say, don't discount the other 49 states just yet.

    December 20, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  10. Ben

    To Ron Paul supporters, I did not vote in the last two presidential elections. But, I am now voting for Dr. Ron Paul. Before, I felt that picking between the two parties was like having to pick between the devil, and the son of the devil – the Democrats, and the Republicans. Honestly, I see both sides as being absolute traitors, to the American taxpayers. Anyway, 50% of Americans do not vote. I say, we need to reach out to these people, who are undecided, or disillusioned with Big Gov. Getting their vote is even more important than trying to change the minds of people, who are already deeply entrenched in their views. Talk to those who have lost all faith in politics. Explain how Dr. Paul is fearlessly taking on Big Gov. with all it's corruption, overspending, and backroom deals. Explain how he is fighting for the average American, and working to expose Big Gov's deeply embedded corruption, when no one else will. If we can each change just one undecided person's mind, and make sure that they get to the polls, we can win! Imagine if we each doubled, or tripled, our votes, by reaching out to the other 50%!!!

    December 20, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  11. m

    How hilarious. If the winner in Iowa has no relevance ergo Iowa has no relevance.

    December 20, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  12. Dan Sutton

    Oh look – a man with a brain might actually get elected to something, for the first time in living memory. Are we headed towards a meritocracy? Let's hope so: it's about time...

    December 20, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  13. womanforpaul

    America Needs Ron Paul.

    Ron Paul has had consistent policy positions from the start. The other candidates simply say what the voters want to hear. Ron Paul warned us about the housing bubble, the debt crisis, the collapse of the US dollar, the high employment and recessions; basically, the entire collapse of our economy. He is the only candidate who can get us out of our mess.

    Ron Paul is a man who defends the constitution, civil liberties, peace and prosperity. Paul has the wisdom, foresight, honesty and integrity to be president.

    Mitt Romney does not where he stands on any issue; Michelle Bachmann is just very angry; Rick Perry does not know very much; John Huntsman has worked for Democrats for many years; Rick Santorum is an extremist; and Newt Gingrich is philosophically unanchored, an unstable element, whom as Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speechwriter writes is a “human hand grenade who walks around with his hand on the pin, saying, Watch this!”.

    America Needs Ron Paul.

    December 20, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem I have with Ron Paul is that he is an idealist that hasn't realized that this isn't an ideal world. He also seems to be an isolationist. It makes me wonder if he would have faced the communists during the cold war or the Nazis in WWII. I wonder if he really understands that the constitution has a section for Congress that is allowed to make new laws as the times demand. That includes things like unemployment insurance and food stamps.

    December 20, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  15. T'sah from Virginia

    Wow – If he gets the votes in Iowa, it's the VOTERS that are deciding!!! So now the establishment is going against what the voters want. What a shame! What a MESS these TeaPublicans are in!!!

    Whew, President Obama can just sit back and relax for a moment and enjoy the circus!!!

    December 20, 2011 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  16. jim

    So would this GOP Establishment call the Iowa caucuses irrelevant if Gingrich was going to win? or Romney? They are bascially saying the will of the people of Iowa is irrelevant! People should literally be up in arms about this!!! The Republican party is hijacking Democracy!!

    December 20, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  17. Chris in CA

    So, if the status quo is interrupted at all, there are charges of irrelevancy? Wouldn't that indicate the exact opposite? For those of you in Iowa or anywhere else, who are undecided, let me ask you to look past the name-calling and take a look at the candidate. Look at what he says, what he has said for years, his voting record, and the way he conducts himself. Draw your own logical conclusions. If you determine that Ron Paul is not for you, then at least you have done so in a rational way. I did this 4 years ago, and have been a supporter of Ron Paul ever since.

    December 20, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  18. Independentvoter

    If the GOP is so mindless to not embrace the most conservative candidate then the GOP is lost

    People will write his name in as a message to the establishment that has for too long hand picked their candidates. The establishment has created too many things that voters of both parties do not Want.

    December 20, 2011 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  19. Cam

    I'm not concerned when it comes to Ron Paul's foreign policy views. I am very concerned when it comes to NEOCONSERVATIVES foreign policy. Newt wants John Bolton (neocon) to be part of his administration and Romney has neocons advising him on foreign policy.

    December 20, 2011 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  20. Kevin

    HAHAHaaa....Ron Paul has the GOP running scared! GO RON! He is the change we desperately need in this country

    December 20, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  21. Jonathan Bowen

    Ron Paul is going to win Iowa! I just met him in Exeter, NH tonight at a town hall meeting. The place was packed! Go Ron Paul!

    December 21, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  22. Andrew

    I want Ron to win Iowa just so I can see all the 24hr media hacks from Fox to CNN try to brush it off like its meaningless.
    The media has favorites .. Stop watching and go read.

    December 21, 2011 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  23. TommyO

    LOL – The only thing irrelevant is the MAINSTREAM MEDIA! The self proclaimed elite in Madison Avenue board rooms actually think us REAL AMERICANS care what they think! What a pack of schmucks – how dare they attempt to bully the grassroots of Iowa “If Ron Paul wins – you are irrelevant”. The good people in this Republic need to completely destroy these mainstream media thugs where it hurts – in their profits and losses! Turn your sets OFF and leave this bunch of losers left talking to themselves!!


    RON PAUL 2012!!

    December 21, 2011 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  24. morgan

    This comes as no surprise to me.
    The people currently in power do NOT want a Ron Paul sitting in the white house.
    They are scared of his ability to say no to wasteful spending. They don't like that because they have all become shopaholics. Spend, spend, spend. Putting our grandchildren in debt. I'm sick of it, my inlaws are sick of it, my neighbors are sick of it, 90% of the folks at the coffee shop are sick of it.

    We have lost control of congress. It is long past time to rein it in.

    Ron Paul 2012 or the Chinese will start taking possession of US land to cover our debt.

    December 21, 2011 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  25. Tony

    Caucuses are a huge joke!

    Why not let all the folks that want to vote, vote? By secret ballot the way elections should be held. You shouldn't have to explain to your judgmental neighbor why you support one candidate over another. In America it is actually none of their business!

    Get real Iowa!

    December 21, 2011 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
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