US Republicans in last Iowa blitz

2012-01-03 10:09
Clive - One day before Iowa holds the first vote of the 2012 White House race, Republican candidates blitzed the state on Monday, with frontrunner Mitt Romney ripping President Barack Obama on the sour US economy.

"This American president didn't cause the recession, but he made it worse and it'll last longer because of his policies," the former Massachusetts governor and millionaire venture capitalist told cheering supporters in Clive.

Romney and his rivals criss-crossed Iowa on the eve of its first-in-the-nation Republican nominating vote, which opens a state-by-state battle to pick the party's standard-bearer in the November 6 elections.

Romney, 64, has taken a thin lead in polls over veteran Representative Ron Paul of Texas, while former senator and ardent social conservative Rick Santorum has surged to third place.

"This is what the vote is about tomorrow: Are we sick and tired of the expansion of government?" Paul told a rowdy crowd packed into a hotel ballroom in Iowa's capital Des Moines, calling his rivals agents of the "status quo."

Paul, 76, whose libertarian leanings include staunch anti-interventionism overseas, accused the other candidates of supporting a foreign policy of "mischief around the world and policing around the world."

"This is my guy," hospital emergency room doctor Healy Burnham, 64, told AFP, as he smoothed out a Christmas-themed necktie. "How many foreign wars do we need?"

Little secret

But come November, "if it's Romney or Obama, I'll vote for Romney", he said.

Santorum pleaded with Iowans not to "settle" for Romney, who is seen as the more potent general election candidate, and "to pick the more conservative of the candidates" as he, too, attacked Obama for "failing this country."

He also fought back tears at a stop in Newton, Iowa, where he was asked about a 1996 family tragedy when the Santorums had a premature baby boy who died just hours after birth, calling it "a very difficult time in our life."

"Rick Santorum is a real conservative, I feel like I know his values," said Richard Puhl, 45, a computer programmer from Des Moines, who brought his children, ages 4 and 7, to see Santorum at a Pizza Ranch restaurant in Boone.

What about Romney versus Obama? Puhl didn't hesitate: "Romney. But I'd prefer not to have that choice."

Romney has made little secret that he hopes a first- or second-place showing in Iowa -- followed by a win in New Hampshire one week later, and a good score in South Carolina after that -- will let him win the nomination relatively early so he can focus his energies on the embattled Democratic president.

Paul's unorthodox libertarian views have earned him a devout following, but he is seen as uncompetitive in other states, while Santorum, 53, faces an uphill fight to match Romney's massive national organization.

Public opinion polls have been crueller to former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Representative Michele Bachmann, who said Sunday she hoped for a "miracle" in the heartland state's caucuses.

Massive campaign

But those long-shot candidates still raced across Iowa, its famed cornfields barren and brown with the winter chill, mindful that surveys have found nearly half of the state's voters say they could yet change their mind.

Unpredictable Iowa - where unemployment is well below the national average - is also an unreliable predictor of presidential fortunes: Senator John McCain, the eventual nominee in 2008, came in fourth that year.

But a victory in Iowa can lift a sagging campaign or give a top contender an extra air of inevitability, bringing fundraising dollars, endorsements and voter support that can shape the rest of the state-by-state nominating battle.

Romney's massive campaign war chest and high-profile endorsements have fed his image as the candidate to beat - but he faces stubborn doubts about his conservative credentials and has been unable to increase his support among Republican voters nationwide above 30%.

About 120 000 Iowans will gather Tuesday in hundreds of precincts across the state, meeting in school cafeterias, church buildings and other spots to vote after hearing speeches from their neighbours on behalf of the candidates.

Read more on:    ron paul  |  barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  rick santorum  |  us  |  us elections 2012
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.