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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters at his caucus night rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Romney's Iowa win falls short of 2008 showing

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won Iowa's caucuses by the narrowest of margins, collecting fewer votes than he won here in 2008 — even as the caucuses themselves saw a slight uptick in voters compared with last time. Published January 4, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds an early morning rally at the Temple for Performing Arts on the day of the Iowa caucus, Des Moines, IA, Tuesday, January 3, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Iowans press candidates on same issues that concern Republicans across country

Iowa's caucuses may not always pick the eventual presidential nominee, but voters this year did something more helpful to the process: They asked the kinds of tough questions about the economy and spending that are on the minds of Republicans across the country who still have yet to vote. Published January 3, 2012

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets residents Jan. 3, 2012, during a caucus day rally at the Temple for Performing Arts in Des Moines, Iowa. (Associated Press)

Romney vs. 'anyone but' in Iowa

Four years after a second-place finish in Iowa's caucuses mortally wounded his campaign, Mitt Romney is counting on the state to write a different story on Tuesday — a win here could go a long way toward sewing up the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Published January 2, 2012

After a campaign stop at Paula's Maid Rite Restaurant in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, Michele Bachmann greets Advanced Placement government and history students from Taylor High School of Cincinnati, Ohio. Mrs. Bachmann's husband, Marcus, is at right. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Bachmann defies poll forecasts

If Michele Bachmann's campaign is running on fumes, as the polls seem to suggest, you'd never know it from the crowd of supporters and journalists that filled four shops in West Des Moines Monday afternoon to catch a glimpse of her. Published January 2, 2012

Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks Jan. 2, 2012, during a campaign stop at the Rising Sun Cafe in Polk City, Iowa. (Associated Press)

Santorum vows end to blaming Obama once in White House

Former Sen. Rick Santorum said Monday that if he wins the presidency he will not blame President Obama but will take responsibility for the country from the first day — contrasting himself with the current president who he said demonizes his political opponents "by name." Published January 2, 2012

Heather Goode served then candidate Barack Obama a slice of pie and a cup of tea when he stopped at the Smokey Row Coffee House while campaigning in late 2007. Iowans have rubbed elbows with many candidates over the years. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Iowans await Obama's pledge to bring change

In the sandwich shops and restaurants of Iowa where Barack Obama built his 2008 victory, new questions have replaced those about his faith: Has the president fulfilled his campaign promises, has he produced the change he promised, and is the country better off? Published January 1, 2012

Supporters listen as Rep. Ron Paul of Texas speaks at a campaign event at the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa, on Thursday. All of the Republicans are fielding questions about cutting spending and whether they are the candidate who can do it. (Associated Press)

Spending cuts are Iowa voters' No. 1 issue

Amid all the questions about election strategy, immigration and China, one issue keeps popping up nearly any time a Republican candidate meets with voters in Iowa — how can spending be cut, and are you the candidate to do it? Published December 29, 2011

STEADFAST: "We can't afford a president who's going to be just a little better than the president who's in there right now," Rick Santorum tells voters. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Santorum pulles no punches in Iowa

Fighting back against the charge that he's too conservative to be the Republican presidential nominee, former Sen. Rick Santorum said Thursday that he's just throwing the bombs others haven't been willing to throw. Published December 29, 2011

HAPPY CAMPER: GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul gets a kick out of hearing compliments for being punctual at a town hall Wednesday in Newton, Iowa. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Paul enjoying view from top of polls

As his government-shrinking, military-cutting, fiscal responsibility message is getting a second look by GOP voters, Ron Paul is suddenly the talk of Iowa. Published December 28, 2011

'OUR TIME': Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney delivers a speech Tuesday at a hotel in Davenport, Iowa. The former Massachusetts governor said the 2012 presidential election will be "an election to save the soul of America." (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Romney looks past Iowa to Obama

Saying President Obama is risking "the soul of America," Mitt Romney kicked off his stretch run to Tuesday's Iowa caucuses with his eyes squarely on the general election, even as the rest of the Republican presidential field took aim at one another. Published December 27, 2011

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, speaks Dec. 22, 2011, about extending the payroll-tax cut during a briefing on Capitol Hill. (Associated Press)

Tax bill set for increasingly rare conference committee

Last week's tax fight in Congress was about many things — Social Security taxes, unemployment benefits and an oil pipeline — but House Republicans tried to make it into an even bigger fight over the institutional relevance of the House of Representatives itself. Published December 27, 2011

A Chinese clerk counts U.S. dollars in exchange for Chinese renminbi at a Hefei, China, bank. (Associated Press)

China spared penalty over value of currency

The Obama administration said Tuesday that China is making headway on its currency-valuation policies and should not be deemed a currency manipulator — fighting back against top Senate Democrats who had demanded President Obama sanction the U.S.'s top economic competitor. Published December 27, 2011

House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., is followed by reporters after holding a news conference on the payroll tax cut on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Congress approves short-term payroll tax, unemployment benefits

Congress closed out its legislative year on Friday the same way it began: with a divided House and Senate agreeing to a short-term extension, in this case renewing the payroll tax holiday for two more months, but leaving the bigger work for later. Published December 23, 2011

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat

Shortened session shows divide over tax cut

House Democrats tried Wednesday to force a vote on the Senate's two-month extension of the payroll-tax cut, but Republicans gaveled the House closed to prevent them from having a chance, as top GOP leaders huddled down the hall to try to figure a way out of the impasse. Published December 21, 2011

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, walks Dec. 20, 2011, to the House floor in the Capitol in Washington. (Associated Press)

House vote puts tax cut in limbo

The House officially voted Tuesday to start negotiations with the Senate on the payroll-tax fight — but Senate Democrats have said they won't cancel their vacation to conduct the talks, leaving an impasse that could mean an average $1,000 tax increase on 160 million taxpayers in the new year. Published December 20, 2011

House Speaker John A. Boehner (Rod A. Lamkey/The Washington Times)

Deal on payroll-tax cut starts to unravel

All sides insist they want to see a yearlong extension of the payroll-tax cut, but its chances dimmed Monday as House Republicans rejected the Senate's two-month compromise offer and demanded face-to-face negotiations - something Senate Democrats rejected out of hand. Published December 19, 2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann plans to touch all 99 of Iowa's counties over the final three weeks of the campaign leading up to the state's Jan. 3 caucuses. She made 13 campaign stops Saturday. (Associated Press)

Bachmann sprints across Iowa

It's midafternoon on a clear but blustery Saturday and Rep. Michele Bachmann is in the middle of what could be the busiest campaign swing in Iowa caucus history, and she's signing a man's bald head with a black marker. Published December 18, 2011

In this Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, photo provided by NBC News, Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, appears on NBC's "Meet the Press" in Washington. House Republicans said Sunday they oppose a bipartisan, Senate-approved bill that extends a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for just two months and said congressional bargainers need to write a new version lasting a longer time. "It's pretty clear I and our members oppose the Senate bill," Boehner said, adding, "I believe two months is just kicking the can down the road." (AP Photo, NBC News, William B. Plowman)

Boehner rejects deal on payroll tax

House Speaker John A. Boehner on Sunday rejected the Senate's bipartisan compromise short-term payroll-tax extension deal, reigniting a nasty legislative fight and once again raising the chances that a $1,000-per-year tax increase on families will take effect in two weeks. Published December 18, 2011

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a town-hall meeting on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, in Charleston, S.C., while campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Iowa's Des Moines Register endorses Romney

Iowa's biggest paper endorsed Mitt Romney in its Sunday editions for the Republican presidential nomination, painting him as a reasonable and thoughtful choice to send to Washington. Published December 17, 2011