The Washington Times - January 4, 2012, 10:23PM

BRENTWOOD, N.H. — The Ames Iowa straw poll might not be the best barometer for picking the winner of the state’s caucuses, but it sure makes for an “interesting vacation” — at least that’s according to one of Rick Santorum’s top surrogates here in New Hampshire.

Before introducing the former Pennsylvania senator to the audience gathered at a nursing home here, Claira Monier, the state co-chair, gave those in attendance a snapshot of the experience she had at the August event, as she drove home the importance of the role that New Hampshire voters have in deciding the first-in-the-nation primary.


“I went to Iowa to watch the straw poll,” she said. “That was a interesting experience. If you ever you wanted an interesting vacation, go to Iowa for the straw poll. It is an education.”

Her comments came hours after Michele Bachmann withdrew from the presidential race, roughly five months after she trumpeted her victory in the straw poll, saying it was evidence she was ready to president.

Mr. Santorum, who finished second in the caucuses, placed fifth in the straw poll, while Mitt Romney, the winner of the caucuses, finished seventh in the straw poll.