Romney's Iowa confidence grows
December 29th, 2011
11:46 AM ET
11 years ago

Romney's Iowa confidence grows

Cedar Falls, Iowa (CNN) - As another Republican front-runner fell in the polls in Iowa, steady-as-he-goes GOP candidate Mitt Romney appeared to see his moment.

The man who has watched a string of opponents alternately vault to the lead in Iowa was greeted by a host of good news when he arrived in the state Tuesday.

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At the first three stops on his Iowa bus tour, capacity crowds prompted the campaign to open overflow rooms. By Thursday the campaign had re-jiggered its expectations and set up a tent outside Romney's morning stop at a diner, where about 40 voters who could not squeeze into the cafe waited to see the candidate.

A campaign aide said he had expected Romney's support to grow in the state as undecided voters began to make their final decisions, but said the campaign had been surprised by the size of the turnout at events.

In a sign of increased confidence, an aide confirmed Romney will spend caucus night in Des Moines - instead of in Romney's firewall state of New Hampshire, where the campaign could cushion the blow of a poor Iowa showing.

Romney has long said he would like to win Iowa, but has also said he does not expect to win every state. He went a step further Wednesday in acknowledging the momentum he felt in the Hawkeye State.

"The numbers that are showing up are a lot more than we'd expected. And their level of excitement and enthusiasm and their willingness to caucus on my behalf is encouraging," he told members of the media in Clinton. "So the response I'm getting is really quite heartening."

A CNN/Time/ORC poll released Wednesday showed Romney at the head of the pack with days to go before caucus day.

But Romney's confidence in Iowan voters has been misplaced before, to disastrous results for his 2008 presidential effort. Four years ago, Romney's campaign poured millions into its Iowa effort only to finish a disappointing second.

Battered by the loss, Romney's campaign limped on to New Hampshire, where he lost to Sen. John McCain.

This time, political analysts have said even a second-place finish could boost Romney in the GOP primary race, if fiscal iconoclast Ron Paul were to win Iowa.

Paul has built a strong organizational base and a wellspring of support in Iowa, but has failed to gain the establishment support some say is necessary to win the GOP nomination.

But asked Wednesday whether finishing second after Paul in Iowa could still be a win, Romney did not hesitate.

"Uh, no," he said.

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (14 Responses)

    Well you're not going to come in first in Iowa Willard. I hope you're prepared to be disappointed.

    December 29, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Woman In California

    I hope with ALL my heart he gets the nomination just so he can face off with the president and then, I want to see the president DESTROY him in front of the whole world. This is my New Year's wish.

    December 29, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. ThinkAgain

    Of course his confidence is growing: The GOP is going to count the caucus ballots in secret, so Mittens is sure to win.

    And if I were a non-betting Mormon, I'd say Mittens is comfortable with that, telling himself that it's good for the GOP and the country, just like he told himself breaking up all those American companies and laying off all those American workers and shipping all those American jobs overseas was good for the country because it was good for the Bain Capital shareholders.

    December 29, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    CNN endorsing Romney we got it CNN

    December 29, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. Bill

    Measuring the drapes yet Mittens? Never going to happen folks.

    December 29, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Death to Sycophants

    Mittens is in for a shock in NH as well. Ron Paul's support is wide and deep up here. Mittens thinks that NH likes him because he owns a multi-million dollar lakefront vacation home here. When Ron Paul bounces with the impending Iowa victory, NH will follow suit.

    December 29, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. Jariv

    Go Mitt Go !!! A true leader.

    December 29, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. LacrosseMom(real one)

    NO Evangelical or Baptist, etc., will vote for a Mormon.

    December 29, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |

    My wife and I called 148 Iowa numbers yesterday. We spoke with 63 people. 27 of those people didn't know anything about the caucus. The remaining 36 knew very little to a moderate amount about the caucus process. 2 said they supported Newt Gingrich. 4 supported Mitt Romney. 4 supported Rick Santorum. 1 supported Michelle Bachmann. 0 supported Huntsman. 52 supported Ron Paul.

    I know my poll is small, but I wouldn't call the results meaningless. CNN is lying.

    December 29, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Four and The Door

    I'm looking forward to the steady string of wins from now until November 6, 2012 when Mitt Romney wins the General Election, Jan. 3, 2013 when the Republican House and Senate are in place and Jan. 20, 2013 when Mitt Romney is inaugurated. I will call the the Path to Prosperity for all Americans. This is how we get this country working again.

    December 29, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    @ LacrosseMom(real one)

    You are spot on. I'm a baptist and I will NEVER vote for Romney or Huntsman EVER.

    December 29, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. willie floyd

    Woman in CA-I'm in the Southeast but I'm with you 100%!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012/WARREN 2016

    December 29, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. RoboBobo

    It's one thing to like someone because he has a nice hair cut, or because he tells the right kind of story on the campaign trail – it's another thing to go Caucus based on these inane feelings.

    I mean you'll get 100 million people to watch the super bowl, only a few will do a push up and try to get in shape to play football.

    So – that spells problems for Romney. Why on earth would someone care about this guy.

    Romney could defeat Obama, because Romney is Obama. He supports the same policies, and lacks any particular philosophy – he's just a 'management' type guy, who asks consultants whats best, and makes decisions based on the consensus of the moment. That's pretty much the same as what Obama does – and what George Bush did.

    Lets not forget George Bush dramaticallly expanded the obligations of government with the unfunded prescription drug program – even before the economic meltdown, Bush did the $1200 refund to couples to 'stimulate' the economy, and then went on to sign stimulus bill after stimulus bill. Lets not forget the unfunded dramatic expansion of military expenses and nation building help that we randomly give out to various nations around the world – based on false pretenses like 'weapons of mass destruction'

    In short Bush spent money like a drunken sailor, he was as liberal as any president – far more liberal then Clinton or even Obama when it came to spending.

    Romney may win – but it won't be important. It's just more of the same Bush/Obama type 'management' of the economy.

    Frankly there is only one candidate – Ron Paul, that is an alternative to that thinking – cut spending. Allow free markets to work, and get out of the way.

    The republican establishment is trying to say Ron Paul wasn't effective as a congressman because he voted against spending bills, instead of getting new spending bills passed.

    This has been their latest line – it just goes to show how they think – they completely missed the point of what Ron Paul was doing. They don't get it. In their hearts – they don't get it.

    December 29, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Four and The Door wrote

    I'm looking forward to the steady string of wins from now until November 6, 2012 when Mitt Romney wins the General Election, Jan. 3, 2013 when the Republican House and Senate are in place and Jan. 20, 2013 when Mitt Romney is inaugurated. I will call the the Path to Prosperity for all Americans. This is how we get this country working again.
    Does this mean that you have finally settled on a candidate? I need you to make up your mind. I've got on an itchy mouse finger. Several months ago you felt you needed more time. I cramping up trying to hold back the flood of diatribes I've got in store for your candidate. Mitt Romney?

    December 29, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |