Iowans are heading out to the caucuses tonight. The weather is beautiful and should not be a factor in keeping folks from going out. The governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad said on Fox News this morning that he is expecting record turnout.
One thing to remember about Iowa is that the percentage of people that go out and caucus is relatively small. I have several family members in various parts of Iowa and I asked them about the phone calls and the caucuses. Only one of them even knows anyone who actually goes to caucus. All of them have been barraged by phone calls and most of those have been robocalls. The robocalls are not particularly effective: it's easier to hang up on a computer than to a person. As for support for a particular candidate, I got a variety of answers, including undecideds.
That is the thing about this particular caucus event, I think, that is interesting. There are so many undecideds. This thing could be a blowout for one candidate or a photo finish among three. Who knows?
Throughout the day I'll be posting updates and linking to others who are covering the event.
Legal Insurrection is doing the same thing and he will have a live event tonight.
Stacy McCain has been traveling through Iowa with the Santorum camp and he has terrific coverage and photos.
Real Clear Politics has an Iowa Caucus Primer on how the process works.
Here is Rick Perry's latest ad hammering Rick Santorum on earmarks. Effective or no?
Stay tuned for updates.
If you're blogging the caucuses, let me know and I'll link you.
Update 1: Yet another reason why the caucuses are so unpredictable:
Update 2: Pirate's Cove has analysis of what comes after Iowa. I don't necessarily agree with this, but we shall see:
By Wednesday, we could see Bachmann and Perry out, though they say they are going to South Carolina and bypassing New Hampshire. Santorum should survive. When it comes to Newt and Paul, we’ll have to see.
It will be interesting to see if the surge of volunteers that arrived Friday in support of Rick Perry pays off. Also, Perry has the cash to stay in for a while. I don't think Iowa will be his Waterloo.
Update 3: Megyn Kelly is broadcasting today from the Iowa state capitol building. It's one of the most beautiful state capitol buildings I've ever seen. Here's a YouTube video someone shot of the inside.
And, speaking of looking past Iowa, the GOP brain trust is already considering VP candidates:
While over a dozen names were suggested by the strategists, some with the campaigns, four top the list: South Dakota Sen. John Thune and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both surrogates for Romney, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the most talked-about Hispanic in Washington, and former Secretary of State Condi Rice.
Others receiving multiple votes were Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
"Romney is likely to have to go right," said one former Bush aide. "He'll need somebody to generate enthusiasm from the base. Rubio fits the bill."
What do you think? They're writing off Santorum as the nominee, obviously, as assuming it's Mittens even before a single vote is cast.
Update 4: The Des Moines Register has a handy guide and graphic to keep a vote tally. But...notice the ad at the top of the page. A glimpse of what is to come:
Update 5: Rush Limbaugh replayed the audio of Perry's smack down of Mike Allen. "This is NOT somebody stupid," he said. Rush said, "I LIKE Rick Perry!" Rick Perry makes him smile, he says. Rush also said he LOVES Rick Santorum and says that any of these contenders would be great. (Even Ron Paul?)
The Perry camp is fired up. He gave a motivational speech to his volunteers this morning:
“This election is about stopping a president of the United States and his administration that is abusing the Constitution of this country, that is putting America on a track to bankruptcy, and folks, we’re going to take America back. That’s what this is about,” Perry told the crowd as it gave him a standing ovation. “It is a powerful moment in America’s history, and you are on the front lines.”Of course, then he compared it to Omaha beach which is, I think, an unfortunate comparison. He's trying to make the case that this is historic, critical even. Considering the catastrophic losses on D-Day, this might be an overreach.
As for Newt, Rollins says Newt isn't raising money and is going to have a hard time in New Hampshire.
Rollins predicts Ron Paul will stay in the race to the end and should be treated with respect, but there's no path to the win for him.
Update 7: Ouch. Stacy McCain:
"...the Perry campaign is a lamentable joke here in Iowa. I’ve been talking to experienced Iowa Republicans during my travels the past week, and experienced observers are united in the opinion that Perry has wasted millions of dollars on a campaign that has done him more harm than good."
Stacy is, of course, in the Santorum camp and is not a Perry fan as you can tell.
Update 8: Left Coast Rebel has a live-updating event going on as well.
On Fox, Shep Smith talks to Debbie Wasserman Schultz who says the Republican field is "interchangeable" and "lackluster". Shep points out Obama's broken promises and DSW says that is "simply not true." She says he ended the Iraq war which was one of his promises. He passed Obamacare, she says, yet Shep points out it isn't a single payer system that the base wanted.
The woman is delusional. She says Obama has turned the economy around and that unemployment is declining. The Republicans have embraced the Tea Party and "out right winged each other" throughout the campaign.
She says Obama will win "handily."
Update 9: Today's Gallup poll:
Update 10: Rick Santorum's sweater vest is the new fashion icon. You too can have a sweater vest:
Update 11: Rick Perry's just released video:
Update 12: One of our local news stations is conducting its own "caucus," sort of like the Drudge Caucus, I guess. The results so far?
Update13: Michelle Malkin has a great Iowa caucus day post.
Phew. Are you ready? There are an estimated 614,000 active registered Republicans in Iowa. A small fraction of them will turn out tonight to vote in the first-in-the-nation GOP presidential caucus. The anticipated top three placers are a toss-up. Sunday’s PPP poll had it 20/19/18 for Paul, Romney and Santorum.She links to Stacy McCain's Santorum coverage. Both Malkin and Stacy are NOT Rick Perry fans which might explain why they don't link me. (Just kidding - Stacy has linked me often in the past. It's been a while since I got a Malkin link.)
Update 14: Rick Perry gets emotional during a speech today praising America's veterans:
Perry was joined on Tuesday by supporter Dan Moran, a Marine veteran who suffered third-degree burns on his body from a bomb explosion in Afghanistan. Perry, a former Air Force pilot, commended Nationwide for its focus on hiring veterans before turning to Moran.
“He understands the importance of selfless … selfless sacrifice,” Perry said with a pause, wiping a tear from his left eye.
Update 15: As the caucus results come in, here is a live, interactive map. And remember, Professor Jacobson will be hosting a live event. SIGIS will continue posts as well. The Des Moines Register also has a place where you can watch results come in but you have to put up with all the Obama advertising on the page.
Update 16: Here is a timeline of the upcoming primaries. Next event: January 10 - New Hampshire.
Update 17: I'm closing out this post now and heading over to Legal Insurrection to participate in his live event. Follow me over there. And thanks for stopping by this post today! I appreciate it.