Friday, February 16, 2007


We wanted to let everyone know that we will have a lot of weekend content coming at you following a funfilled Saturday and Sunday. What to expect:

A full report from John McCain's Cedar Rapids event courtesy of the same correspondant who reported about Mitt's announcement on Tuesday night.

A recap of Brownback's trip to Western Iowa

Fall-out over McCain skipping votes in Washington to be in Iowa and

a Mitt Romney interview with Face the Nation on Sunday.

Gron Stall

Honestly what would we do without Mike Gronstal?? He truly is a visionary leader. What would we do without his perseverance, dedication, and commitment to making a difference for Iowans. Under the direction of this great sage the Iowa Senate yesterday passed a resolution that stated for the record their opposition to the troop surge....

In related news the Iowa House passed a resolution expressing their gratitude to the folks at American Idol for entertaining us so thoroughly this season...

Seriously, doesn't Governor Lug have any other priorities in his agenda. The Democrats finally take control of the legislature and the governorship at the same time and this is how they spend their time? This resolution matters even less than that non-binding resolution the real Senate may or may not vote on. It's comepletely worthless. And in typical Democrat fashion they don't offer any solutions to the Iraq problem, just disapproval of our current course. Here are a couple of gems from the morning Register.

Senate President Jack Kibbie, an Emmetsburg Democrat, said the war needs to be brought to an end. "Most people believe there were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein is history, and so it's my opinion the people of Iowa are asking their political leaders to express their opinion and send this message

Really? Can't we close the book on the WMD talking points? You are right Jack, there were no WMD's, point conceded. Now what? What do we do going forward? Well in Jack's opinion the people of Iowa are demanding their state senators express their disapproval of Iraq. That's step 1. We haven't heard this clamoring for action from our state senators around the Cooler's local watering hole, but hey maybe we just aren't talking to the right folks.

"This resolution should be a heck of a lot tougher. It should be talking about us getting out of there," said Sen. Michael Connolly of Dubuque.

Does Mike realize it doesn't matter what the resolution says since he's not a member of Congress? Was he drinking on the floor yesterday?

You might wonder how this relates to the 2008 Iowa caucus. Umm, it doesn't really, except it continues to reinforce the fact that the Republicans need to have an upfront dialogue about this war and offer SOLUTIONS going into 2008 because its clear that as usual the Democrats won't have any.

We'd love to hear from our buddy Drew Miller in the comments on this one ;)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

McCain's Straw(n) Man

John McCain’s Iowa campaign filled out their leadership team today when they added Iowa native and University of Iowa (represent) graduate Matt Strawn. Strawn will serve as McCain’s Iowa Director and run the day-to-day operations. He’ll work closely with senior advisors Karen Slifka, Chuck Larson, Jr., Ed Failor, Jr., and campaign chairman Dave Roederer. Strawn has been Rep. Mike Rogers’, a Michigan Republican, top political advisor for the past 5 years and chief of staff since 2003. He also served as an advisor to Jeff Lamberti’s failed congressional campaign in 2006. Jonathan Martin at politico had the scoop.

Caucus Calendar-Ads

Not a lot going on today but there is much coming ahead...

Tommy Thompson- Saturday, February 24th, Kelly's Irish Pub in Davenport at 4:30
John McCain- In McCain's first trip to the state as a candidate exploring a bid for president. His has a 945AM townhall at the Hotel Ft. Des Moines, a 115PM townhall at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cedar Rapids, and a 5PM chili dinner in Davenport.
Mitt Romney- Back in the state on Monday the 19th to speak at a dinner sponsored by Sioux, Lyon, O'Brien, Plymouth, and Cherokee Counties in Orange City. Go to for more info.

Also Duncan Hunter is running the first candidate ads in Iowa, it aired during the 10PM news at Cooler HQ last night. The production qualities are not good, as the video shows Duncan walking outside talking directly into the camera. The theme of the ad is "peace through strength." Hopefully we can see it a 2nd time and give a better review.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tommy Boy

Tommy Thompson announced the addition of an honorary state chair yesterday. Charlotte Mohr, a Scott County GOP activist will serve in that role. Mohr was Gov. Terry Branstad's state chair during his re-election efforts, she was an active participant in the BC04 campaign in Scott County as well as Mike Whalen's failed congressional bid in 2006. She joins Chad Olsen and former speaker Ron Corbett as senior Iowa advisors to Governor Thompson.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Romney Recap

Not to try and outdo Kay Henderson's well written Radio Iowa blog review of the Romney event or anything...but here's the Cooler's recap of Romney's announcement. The following report was written by a friend of the Cooler in attendance and is posted here without edit...

I'd start by asking you and your readers to excuse any misquotes or errors in my report. I tried to take notes during the speech but my handwriting was illegible...Also I have bad grammar so either fix it or deal with it...

I managed to navigate the suprisingly nasty interstate on the way to the fairgrounds. I arrived at about 12:45 and there seemed to be about 150 people in attendance at that point (I'm terrible at eye-balling these things so I hope nobody gets mad if my guesses are wrong.) I milled around for a bit, the room had some farm-like decorations..a John Deere tractor, hay bales etc.... I took my seat in one section of bleachers but it appeared that area was reserved for "Farmers for Mitt" so I moved to a different area. Lots of legislators in attendance, I probably saw about 7 or 8 of them before the speech even started.
A little before 1, Gentry Collins did an intro, wearing a sportscoat without a tie. After the prayer it was onto Doug Gross. Let me say, Doug had his coffee this morning. "ARE YOU EXCITED!!!" he screamed. By this time I'd say there were 250 people in there maybe 300 or more. But one thing is for sure and that is the room was not full. At this point let me remind you that the roads were TERRIBLE and I didn't have to go far, so its understandable. Back to Doug. He said that he'd met with all the "erstwhile" candidates. I spent the next couple minutes trying to figure out what erstwhile meant. While I was zoning out he made a joke that everyone laughed at. I tried to find out what it was but the people I was sitting with wouldn't explain. Anyway Doug introduces Mitt's family and he comes to the stage with a country music song playing. Right as they start a group of young guys yell "We Love You Mitt." to a smattering of applause and laughter.
Mitt's wife starts and the most memorable thing she said was "I think they're going to go to all 83 counties" and without missing a beat, Mitt says "It's 99." I was glad he had that knowledge handy. Then Mitt goes, he thanks his "sweetheart" and gets off to the speech. At this point, I have to say that I have seen Mitt more comfortable giving a speech. He wasn't bad by any means, he's a very good speaker. But he seemed a little more scripted than usual and a little less comfortable with some of the material. He kept notes on the podium and referenced them pretty often. The beginning of the speech is bio and Michigan stuff mostly. Then he takes his first subtle jab at McCain saying "I don't believe Washington can be transformed by someone from the inside, someone that has spent their whole life there." After that the speech picked up some steam. About halfway through he got to the official announcement part. "With them behind me, with you around me, with all of America watching I declare that I am running for President." After a big cheer the crowd got a "Mitt Mitt Mitt Mitt" chant going. The loudest and longest cheer of the speech came a few minutes later after Mitt expressed his support for the President when it comes to Iraq. He ends talking a lot about freedom. After the speech Tom Petty's "Running Down the Dream" comes on and there's quite a buzz in the room. Right as I'm about to leave, Mitt jumps back on stage apparently because he forgot to acknowledge some of the local "dignitaries." Governors Ray and Branstad specifically. Then he goes into an impromptu riff about some issues. He was more comfortable at this point than during the whole speech, you could tell he had got his groove. After about an additional 3-5 minutes he calls it quits and they play "Life is a Highway."
All in all I'd say the weather hurt the energy in there a little bit. Mitt has a very distinct voice and speaking style and it seemed to resonate with a lot of the people in the room. I was glad I made it. Don't tell my boss.

We're hoping our friend can do this again in the future. Thanks for the breakdown.

All Mitt All the Time

It's announcement day! If you don't want to go out into the cold and snow, we've got a morning full of Romney links for your perusal... Let's get started.

Sam Brownback fired the first formal salvo of the nomination fight last night. In a press release on the eve of Romney's announcement, Brownback's camp lists in painstaking detail Romney multiple flips from pro-life to pro-choice and back and forth again. You can see the release here and an article about it here.

David Yepsen, one of Romney's most ardent supporters in the Gang of 50 writes this morning about the challenges Romney faces in overcoming his evolution on key social issues. But he also notes Romney's strongsuits- business background, proven ability to work with Democrats and get results i.e. health care plan, and his ability to move up quickly in the current field.

The L.A. Times notes that Romney is matching McCain step-for-step in securing support inside the Beltway, highlighting the support he has from Denny Hastert and Vin Weber, among others.

The Boston Fox News station does a long piece on Romney's Mitt-flopping and has a slew of old Romney video. One of the clips we haven't seen is of Romney opposing a tough immigration bill, "I do not believe that we should deny all services to people who come here from across the border," Romney said. See the video here.

And if that's not enough for you we've got Michigan supporters jumping from Romney to McCain, the AP on Romney's announcement, a Jewish group criticizing Romney for announcing from an anti-semites musesum (who knew Henry Ford was an anti-semite?), A few things you might not know about Romney's bio, a nice National Review preview of the announcement and EJ Dionne doing a column on politicians who flip-flop on abortion.

Phew. Back with more later.

Update- Drudge has the text of Romney's announcement speech.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Romney's Ag statements reminiscent of Kerry

During one of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry's many sojourns to Iowa in the 2004 Democrat primary, Matt Drudge made a big deal about statements Kerry made in 1996 in support of gutting the Department of Agriculture. "I think we can reduce the size of Washington. Get rid of the Energy Department, Get rid of the Ag department or at least render it three-quarters the size it is today," Kerry said. (You can see the enormous original Drudge banner headline here. Clearly there was considerable coverage dedicated to this revelation.)

As Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney makes his presidential announcement in Iowa tomorrow it will be interesting to see if he is held to that same standard. In 1994 Romney made statements almost identical to Kerry's. In that race Romney also supported drastic cuts to the department of ag and he also expressed his opposition to farm subsidies. Take a look.

"Romney Backed the virtual elimination of the Energy and Agriculture departments to cut the deficit." (Boston Herald 7/13/94). In a different article that same year Romney said that "federal farm subsidies should be cut." (Boston Globe 11/6/94)

These positions will definitely not endear him to many folks in the farm lobby here in Iowa and elsewhere. While there are certainly fiscal hawks that this type of rhetoric appeals to, eliminating the Department of Ag is not a sustainable position for a presidential candidate. If Romney decides to change his tune on this it will be particularly noteworthy since the issues that he has flipped on to-date have been from a generally more liberal position to a more conservative one. A switch on this topic would be a pander in the other direction.

John McCain has gotten a lot of ink for his opposition to farm subsidies, but to our knowledge Mitt Romney has gone unchallenged on this topic. It will be interesting to see whether he gets pressured on this by the local media or by Matt Drudge as he announces his bid for the presidency in the Hawkeye state tomorrow.
We'd ask that everyone show respect in the comments section of this post regarding Gov. Romney and the previous post regarding Sen. McCain. -CC

Reformer Running into Problems

John McCain has a long trail of supporting reform in the electoral process, most notably his pairing up with Democrat Russ Feingold in sponsoring the Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act in 2002. He also was vocal in criticizing the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth on their tactics in the 2004 election and has a long paper trail of opposing big monied interests in politics. These past actions are drawing a lot of attention to his current fundraising habits. In the past week, both the New Moscow Times and the Washington Post have had front page features on McCain the reformer, cozying up to fundraisers and consultants he has criticized in the past.

Today, The Post pointed to McCain's alliance with A. Jerrold Perenchio, who donated $9 million to Progress for America, a group McCain criticized in 2004. Now Perenchio is raising money as a co-chairman of McCain's national finance committee. There are a number of others listed in the article who had connections to the 527's that McCain has criticized and called illegal who are now leading donors for his campaign. At least 6 of McCain's leading donors were heavily involved in 527's according to the report.

Last week, The Times pointed out that the producers of the Swift Boat ads that he called "dishonest and dishonorable" have now been hired to be part of his advertising team. It's worth noting that the firm, Stevens Reed, Curicio, & Potholm also worked for McCain in 2000.

One of the challenges McCain will face is that he will receive particular scrutiny when it comes to his relationships with fundraisers and his fundraising behavior...for good reason. As one of the poster boys for clean elections, the media always loves to point it out when politicians aren't if it practicing what they preach.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Weekend Links

If you did not see the blog this weekend we ask that you please read the below letter about the new Cooler policies. Comments have been re-opened with the exception of those that created the problem in the first place. Back to the game.

In a very timely fashion, Polk County GOP Chair Ted Sporer made an extremely insensitive remark about Barack Obama this weekend. He rhetorically asked the Des Moines Register reporter "how they would like to vote for someone who's name rhymes with Osama." Remember Sporer created controversy in the week leading up to the November election by defending Rush Limbaugh's assessment of Michael J. Fox. There was some good news for the Thompson campaign in that article. They drew a crowd of 80 to Pagliai's Pizza in Johnston.

In other Obama news, he drew a crowd of 15K to his announcement over the weekend in Chicago and over 6K to an event in Ames later that day. Obamamania has certainly taken hold in Iowa.

Sam Brownback addressed a Right-to-Life group in Davenport in his continued quest to become the credible conservative alternative in the race. This statement regarding the "2nd part of his platform" was particularly interesting.
"The second part of his platform, he said, is rebuilding the family structure, the breakdown of which is the cause of many of the nation’s social ills. "
Brownback also picked up the endorsement of key Quad Cities soco activist Luana Stoltenberg.

We'll be back with more this afternoon. Please respect our wishes and let's get off on the right foot with a positive dialogue.

  • Caucus Coolerisms
  • The Cooler Line

    Mike Huckabee 10-9
    Mitt Romney 3-1
    Fred Thompson 9-1
    John McCain 9-1
    Rudy Giuliani 12-1
    Ron Paul 12-1
    Duncan Hunter 98-1
    The Cooler line is an exclusive creation of Caucus Cooler and will be updated as the political environment changes.
    It is an unscientific assessment of the Iowa Caucus (not the Presidential race as a whole) from an insiders view at the given time. The line IS NOW mathematically accurate but is NOT intended for gambling purposes. Information may only be reproduced with credit to the Caucus Cooler.