- - Monday, December 26, 2011

IOWA

State gets bus-tour blitz in week before caucuses

After a quiet holiday weekend, the GOP presidential contest returns in earnest to Iowa this week with several of the candidates, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota kicking off bus tours on Tuesday.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas arrives Wednesday. Recent polls suggest he is peaking as caucus day, Jan. 3, approaches, and in some surveys is tied with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney or even ahead.

The result figures to be a short but intense stretch of campaigning through small towns and even smaller towns, the sort of one-on-one politicking that has largely vanished in the electronic age.

The Perry bus will belly up to Doughy Joey’s in Waterloo and to the Fainting Goat in Waverly, an establishment whose website says that “after 10 p.m., we are the type of place your mothers warned you about.” Mr. Perry also will visit a vineyard and winery in Carroll.

Mrs. Bachmann will make an early-winter stop at a Dairy Queen, as well as Pizza Ranch establishments in Harlan, Red Oak and Atlantic, three localities with a combined population of 17,282.

VIRGINIA

Gingrich team: Ballot issue in Va. akin to Pearl Harbor

Newt Gingrich’s campaign director, Michael Krull, said he and his boss see the candidate’s failure to submit enough signatures to be put on Virginia’s Republican primary ballot next year as an “unexpected setback” similar to the attack on Pearl Harbor, according to the Hill newspaper’s Briefing Room blog.

Writing on the campaign’s Facebook page, Mr. Krull said: “Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941. We have experienced an unexpected setback, but we will regroup and refocus with increased determination, commitment and positive action. Throughout the next months, there will be ups and downs; there will be successes and failures; there will be easy victories and difficult days — but in the end we will stand victorious.”

The Hill reports that the Gingrich campaign, which initially vowed to pursue a write-in campaign, is “exploring alternate methods to compete in Virginia — stay tuned.”

IOWA

Romney, Perry release new ads as caucuses near

DES MOINES — Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, released a new television commercial for Iowa in which he cited a “moral imperative for America to stop spending more money than we take in. It’s killing jobs,” he said.

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