Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 4:33 pm
Iowa And Beyond
Iowa proved a road to victory for Mitt Romney, but it was a road to nowhere for Michele Bachmann.
"Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside," Bachmann said Wednesday at a West Des Moines news conference. The Minnesota congresswoman decided to end her 2012 presidential bid after finishing sixth in Tuesday's caucuses in Iowa — the state where she was born and where, just five months ago, she won a Republican straw poll in Ames.
Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 12:33 pm
The photo finish in Iowa — officially, Mitt Romney bested Rick Santorum by only eight votes — has catapulted Santorum into the front ranks of Republican presidential hopefuls.
"This is huge news for Santorum," says Charlie Arlinghaus, who directs a conservative think tank in New Hampshire. "I don't think there's a way to spin the results without saying he's the big winner tonight."
Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 8:54 am
At Ron Paul's caucus night event in Ankeny, Iowa, most of his supporters were celebrating. Paul finished a strong third in Tuesday night's caucuses.
But one man in the crowd — famed Republican strategist Frank Luntz — was much more concerned with what happens next.
"I think over the next 24 to 48 hours, the campaign's gonna get a little bit meaner, a little darker, and a little bit more personal, as the candidates now fight for their life," said Luntz, who spoke with NPR in between television appearances Tuesday night.
Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 2:05 am
It's on to New Hampshire for at least some of the Republican presidential candidates, and The Associated Press reports that Newt Gingrich will take out a full-page ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader Wednesday contrasting himself as a "bold Reagan conservative" against Mitt Romney, who he labels a "timid Massachusetts moderate."
Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 11:10 pm
NPR's Ari Shapiro reporting from the campaign trail in Des Moines Tuesday night spoke to a supporter of Mitt Romney, who was locked in a close race with GOP rivals Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
"I'm not really surprised," said Colleen Boyle. "Santorum's put in a lot of effort here, so it does make sense that he surged ahead in the polls."
Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 8:19 pm
At a coffee shop in Muscatine, Iowa, Tuesday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was asked whether nominating a social conservative might sink the party's chances of winning the White House in November.
Muscatine is in a more moderate part of eastern Iowa, and the man who asked the question told Gingrich there are many business people — fiscal conservatives — who don't agree with the GOP platform positions on abortion, gay rights and other issues. The man asked Gingrich if social conservatives are throwing fiscal conservatives "under the bus."
Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 6:57 pm
While Iowa caucusgoers are kicking off the official 2012 Republican presidential nominating contest, in the social media realm among users nationwide, Texas Rep. Ron Paul already is in the lead, according to a data analysis of Facebook use by Socialbakers, which collects social media statistics.
"The amount of interactions are just insane," said Socialbakers CEO Jan Rezab. "Ten percent of Paul's Facebook fans are talking about him. The average for brands like Coca-Cola is just 1 percent."
The results from Iowa suggest what has been clear for months: Republicans remain divided about their presidential choices.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney eked out an eight-vote win after he and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum swapped the slimmest of leads back and forth in Tuesday's caucuses. With returns complete, each had won the support of roughly 25 percent of caucusgoers.
Despite the near-tie, Iowa caucus rules do not allow for a recount. Texas Rep. Ron Paul was third at 21.5 percent, according to The Associated Press.
Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 8:50 am
After months of campaigning, it's finally caucus day in Iowa. Polls still show a fluid race, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum heading the pack.
Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 7:00 am
If GOP front-runner Mitt Romney cannot quickly persuade his rivals and voters that he is the inevitable nominee and that further resistance is futile, he may be in for an expensive and time-consuming slog.
Unlike GOP presidential primary seasons of the past, the one that begins in Iowa Tuesday was actually designed to slow down the emergence of a winner by stretching out the calendar and altering the delegate allocation rules.
Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 10:09 am
After concentrating on Iowa more than any other Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum is gaining on front-runners Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, a new Des Moines Register poll shows. Santorum is hoping to consolidate Iowa's Christian conservative vote — the strategy that won the state for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee four years ago.
Jeanne Zyzda did not expect more than 100 people in her Sioux City coffee shop, the Daily Grind. Not all at once, and not on a holiday.
Originally published on Sun January 1, 2012 12:04 pm
Most of the Republican presidential candidates are stumping in Iowa on this last Sunday before the state's caucuses.
The only major contenders not in the state are Rep. Ron Paul, who is spending New Year's Day at home in Texas but returning to Iowa for several events Monday, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who remains ensconced in New Hampshire, where the scene shifts after Tuesday night.
Originally published on Sun January 1, 2012 5:37 am
A little over three hours outside Des Moines, Iowa, in the northwest corner of the state, is the city of Le Mars. A sign proclaims this is the Ice Cream Capital of the World.
Saturday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney spoke in Le Mars at the Family Table restaurant. His speech, like all Romney campaign speeches, was about President Obama.
"This is an election to decide whether we're going to go further and further down the path of becoming more and more similar to a European welfare state, or whether instead we're going to remain an exceptional nation," he said.
Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 9:04 pm
Because the news media abhor the absence of drama as much as nature supposedly detests vacuums, Rick Santorum's rise in recent polls of likely Iowa Republican presidential primary caucus voters definitely scratches a journalistic itch.
Santorum's ascent to the top three in Iowa polls, along with Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, has spiced up the race, especially after the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania spent so many months stuck in the caboose of GOP candidates.
It's hard for us to believe, but StateImpact New Hampshire launched just five short months ago. During that time, we've worked to bring you data-driven reports and analysis focused how business and the economy in New Hampshire work. Our goal is to bring you original journalism, to dig deeper into the big stories of the day, and to bring you the stories you didn't even know were there. And, we've tried to do it in as interesting and as accessible a way as possible.
We're going to do more of the same in the New Year.
With Christmas and Hanukkah wrapped-up, we've officially reached the pre-New Year's lull. This brief respite from the regularly scheduled holiday cheer is when many people take the opportunity to consider their accomplishments and failures over the past year, and resolve to do better in the future. Other people just go to work for a few days and get really, really bored at their desks as they countdown to their next party.
Either way, it's a bit of a restless period, isn't it?
Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 9:12 am
Every four years, a small subset of political junkies starts salivating over the prospect that no one candidate will garner enough delegates to win his or her party's nomination for the presidency. That would lead to the junkie's greatest fantasy: a brokered convention.
With the 2012 presidential election on the horizon, NPR's Debbie Elliott heads to Camden, S.C., to hear from the close-knit Gaither-James family. Like other African-Americans — considered the political base for President Obama — they're concerned about the economy and today's political climate.
Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 1:35 pm
(This post was retopped with the latest news at 1:30 p.m. ET.)
Marking the end of the latest pitched political battle in Washington, President Obama said this afternoon that Congressional approval of measures to extend for another two months a payroll tax cut and benefits for the long-term unemployed is "good news just in the nick of time for the holidays."
"I said it was critical for Congress not to go home without preventing a tax increase" and the expiration of the long-term jobless benefits, Obama said, "and I'm pleased to say they've got it done."
Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 12:01 am
Texas Congressman Ron Paul is anything but an establishment GOP candidate. Yet, he is at the top of the polls in Iowa, largely because his message appeals to more than just the typical Republican caucus-goer. That was made clear when he met John McCarthy and Michelle Godez-Schilling, both of whom attended a campaign stop in Dubuque, Iowa.
"I would like to say I'm an independent, and for the first time in my life I'm affiliated with one of the two major parties because of you," McCarthy told Paul.
Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 1:00 pm
You may not have heard of Buddy Roemer. But he's running for president. And despite an impressive resume and gift for turning a phrase, Roemer barely registers in the polls. He's conducting his quixotic run for office without accepting campaign contributions that exceed $100.
Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:24 pm
Born in the spring of 1958, former Sen. Rick Santorum — the son of a psychologist and a nurse — was the second of three children in a Catholic family. The Pennsylvania Republican spent most of his childhood in the Pittsburgh suburbs.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il has died of apparent heart failure. He was 69.
In a "special broadcast" Monday from the North Korean capital, state media said Kim died on a train due to a "great mental and physical strain" during a "high-intensity field inspection" Saturday. It said an autopsy done Sunday "fully confirmed" the diagnosis.
Kim Jong Il wanted his successor to be his son, Kim Jong Un, who is believed to be in his late 20s. But there was no immediate word on a new leader in North Korea.
Originally published on Sun December 18, 2011 12:40 pm
As the final U.S. troops leave Iraq, they leave behind the largest U.S. Embassy in the world.
There will be about 16,000 people working for the State Department at the embassy in Baghdad and consulates elsewhere in Iraq.
At least 5,000 of those in Iraq will be private security contractors, and there are lots of questions about whether the State Department is ready to run such a big operation in such a volatile country.