tv Americas News Headquarters FOX News November 20, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm EST
>> good do see you, sir. a candidate can survive iowa. they can go anywhere. >> in this hour... inside the iowa caucuses. >> i have never waiverred once. >> always quirky. >> i heard you are going to have pork chop on a stick? >> rarely predictable. >> get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself. >> retail politics. >> lots of people -- >> who's making the sale? >> hi, what's your name? >> who's delivering the vote? >> romney is not coming. >> does that make you mad? >> good to see you. >> why does it matter?
>> what happens if you don't win iowa? >> well, we'll talk then. >> fox news reporting, the fight for iowa, here's bret baier. >> the author who described a sleepy iowa farm as a field of dreams was writing about baseball. but he could have been talking about presidential politics, where the dreams are even bigger. you have heard it before, the first in the nation, iowa caucuses, always first in the nation. well, some people worry that iowa -- mostly rural state with a relatively small population, plays too big a role in the electoral process. the counter argument goes like this. in iowa, individual people still matter, citizens need to harb things now the firehouses and school gyms and community centers. candidates can't just make big tv buys, they earn their votes, handshake by handshake n. iowa,
a well-fund, well-known politician can learn he doesn't have what it takes or a small campaign can catch a second win. this cycle, president obama is a formality. but it's a different story for republicans, criss-crossing this state for more than a year. august 2010, des moines, iowa, 17 months until the 2012 caucuses. it's 100 degrees at the state fair. and former minnesota governor tim pawlenty is feeling the heat. >> fast-forward with me. what are you going to do? >> it's his fourth trip to iowa in nine months. >> we have fire hired a staff in iowa. are you running for president? >> i haven't decided that yet. >> newt gingrich is here as well. >> i shouldn't do it, but i'm going to, just for you. >> officially, he's just testing
the water. >> several conservative analysts say newt is a brilliant thinker. but every once in a while, he's a grenade thrower and he goes too far. >> i think if you are going to be somebody trying to develop idea, develop a conversation, lead people in new ways of thinking, you are occasionally going to be saying things that are on the edge. >> a month later, former alaska governor sarah palin hits des moines. >> i am going to ask you, iowa, do you love your freedom? are you proud to be an american? >> where are you on the 2012 run? >> if there is nobody else -- i think wants to do the job and is willing to make the tough decisions, i would be willing to run for office? >> if you didn't see people that you felt could do as good a job as you, you would get in? >> that's what it comes down to, yes. >> please welcome the next president of the united states, michele bachmann. >> to understand presidential politics, have you to understand
the iowa caucuses. >> what a great day. >> where by accident or design, grassroots organizing meets the equivalent of a smoke-filled room. and to understand how that works, you have to take the pulse of iowan voters. >> how are you, sir. >> not just over the days and weeks before the voting begins itch they are hard on them. >> this great-grandmother has been involve in iowa politics since 1992. >> i say prayers for them because they nail them to the tree. >> romney, i went to des moines and got that signed. >> no mere activist. >> that was a letter that president bush wrote to me. >> she's a super volunteer. >> you know, i would love to take it with me in the grave, you know? >> for her ability to pull a crowd. and every candidate knows it.
as you will see this hour, the candidates are only half the story of the iowa caucuses. >> it's intimate, there is discussion, there is debate. there is neighbor with neighbor, family with family. >> robin, a correctional education coordinator from mt. mezzant, iowa, also gets one-on-one treatment from the candidates. >> know there has been talk about iowa does not choose the top candidates, but the top candidate is in that top three. i guess we separate the chaff from the wheat. >> that's why in 2010, 15 men and women who were thinking about running for president made an appearance in the state. you including a candidate who made a big bet in iowa in 2008 and came up short. this time, he's trying something different, but can it work? coming up next, why presidential hopefuls ignore this state at their peril.
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iowa picks corn. new hampshire picks presidents. that's what they say out east to disparage the importance of the iowa caucuses. but american political history tells a different story. going back to 1846, iowans had chosen delegates to the national conventions in the springtime, through a quick succession of local, county, district and state caucuses in which party leaders were mostly in charge. but that changed after 1968, the most tumultuous year in modern american politics. lyndon johnson decided not to run. and robert kennedy was assassinated after the california primary. vice-president hubert humphrey didn't compete, but he got the nomination in a chicago convention, scarred by violent street protest. >> come on, do it, officer!
>> that spurred democrats to make new rules to get the party rank and file more power itch the caucus process came out of democratic party reforms in light of the 1968 convention. the idea was, we don't want to sigh any smoke-filled rooms. >> iowa caucus historian, jeff stein, said that led to big changes in his state. >> for 1972, they decided to elongate the process, start picking delegates at precinct level, then the county and then the state and to the national connection. -- national convention. so there was citizen input from the start itch the new, elongated process, required iowa democrats to hold their first round of caucuses in 20,000 or so precincts, much earlier than before. they scheduled them first in the country, even before new hampshire's primary. few realized this would be a sea change in our presidents are
chosen. >> nobody knew what they were doing, the caucus system, nobody was contesting it really, very much. >> in 1972, pat caddell was a pollster for george mcgovern's campaign. mcgovern was polling at 5% nationally, months before the caucuses. >> so the game in iowa was -- to exceed what you expect people will do, give money, support and momentum. >> mcgovern was second behind the frontrunner and won the nomination. then lost to republican richard nixon by a landslide. gerald ford replaced nixon after watergate and in 1976, iowa republicans move there'd caucus to the same day as democrats to share the media attention. that year, reconfirmed the importance of iowa. more than a dozen democrats were competing to run against the incumbent, ford. one was former governor jimmy
carter who announced in december, 1974 and was at 1% in the polls in october, 1975. >> forgot him in the last poll. >> but pat caddell, an adviser for cartener '76, says his candidate had a plan. >> the strategy was simple. iowa's a launching pad to put him on the map. >> the peanut farmer and born-again christian worked iowa hard. >> he would stay at people's homes and make his bed in the morning. he was a farmer that was a big deism he understood rural america. >> carter finished ahead of all other candidates. and the rest is history. >> governor carter, are you prepared to take the constitutional oath? >> i am. >> what impact did jimmy carter have on the caucuses? >> that became the blueprint to follow. lots of folks since then have said, if kiown iowa, i can leverage that into being a major player. >> which is why frontrunners ignore the caucuses at their
peril. ronald reagan discovered that in 1980. >> campaign staff convinced him that he didn't have to spend as much time in iowa as maybe he should. >> his son. >> caller: mookal, campaigned for him. >> i went to iowa and i called my father. and i told him, george bush is going to beat you here. >> george h.w. bush did win with 32% of the vote, beating reagan by 2 percentage points. >> racingan took iowa for granted. he assumed his reputation alone would secure the nomination. if anything, iowa voters don't like to feel sleighted. >> reagan managed to turn things around and take the nomination. he picked bush as his vice-president. >> reagan won iowa, there is no reason bush would emerge. i think you can say that it's responsible for joacialg bush being vice-president, later being president. >> just to follow through on that logic, had he not beat bush
41, would we see bush 43? it could be that the iowa caucus and the effort of bush 41 in 1980, turned the course of history in two or three presidential races. >> after carter's landslide defeat to reagan, the democratic establishment tried to tamp down iowa's influence, says pat caddell. >> they wanted no more mcgoverns and carters. they wanted to knock out the time necessary for an unknown to emerge and become well enough known to win other contests. >> so the democrats shortened the time between iowa and new hampshire, from one month to one week. >> they rigged the system. they left a hole in it that effectively allowed what i believed then, a chance to have a momentum campaign. >> a campaign strategy pat caddell employed with gary hart who, ran against walter mondale in 1984.
>> my theory was very simple. finish second to mondale in iowa, beat him in new hampshire and ride the momentum in the national campaign. and gary hart came within a hair of doing that. >> hart's unexpectedly strong challenge, vindicated pat caddell's strategy, which others would try again and again. in 1988, vice-president george h.w. bush became the next front runner to get blindicided in iowa by a new force. >> i love to see you as one nation under god. >> the religious right. >> up to that time, evangelical christians had not gotten into politics. i realized, if the precincts are organized and candidates can win, so i set out to organize people. >> i was hosting an iowa caucus and the people i had not seen in the caucus before, good, solid, evangelical people, my neighbors and friend his a slip of paper.
i am siting there as an establishment republican and i'm resentful because they elected their delegates and i became an alternate, not a delegate. i thought the johnny-come-latelies have come in and organized and taken over our process. >> the johnny come latelies propelled pat robertson into second place, behind bob dole and ahead of the stunned vice-president. bush did end up win winning the nomination and the white house. but the party was changed for good. >> not only did they lay down the parameters, especially of social conservativism, but they built the bonds for constitutional conservativism and the social and fiscal issues tied together. in 2004, iowa showed it could not only turn an unknown into a contender tcould destroy a frontrunner. howard dean, with his strong opposition to the iraq war and pioneering use of the internet, looked like he might run away
with the nomination. >> howard dean worked the state and worked it hard. a lot of people got to know him and the morthey got to know him, the less confidence they had in him. >> joe trip pywas howard dean's campaign manager. >> we knew days in advance, we were going to lose iowa. we were hemorrhaging support. >> john kerry's foundering campaign had bet everything on iowa. and he won. john edwards came in second and dean slipped to third. then he delivered his disastrous "i have a scream" speech. >> and oregon and washington and michigan! and then we are going to washington, d.c. to take back the white house [yelling]. >> iowa is completely full of stories like that. every cycle i have ever been nsomething unexpected happens. >> kerry cruise to the nomination and picked edwards as his runningmate and lost.
but if any year confirmed the impact that iowa has on the presidential nomination process, it was 2008. on the democratic side, john edwards campaigned almost exclusively in iowa. hoping a win would propel him past the hillary clinton juggernaut. enter the junior senator from illinois, barack obama. a community organizer, with a great ground game and growing celebrity support. >> thank you, iowa. >> obama won the caucuses with almost 38% of the vote, while clinton finished third, edged out by edwards. suddenly, the entire race was changed. >> it isn't too much to say that vaulted him into the office? >> certainly the iowa caucus win is what really gave him the momentum. >> iowa was pivotal in the republican race as well. as a spoiler. the favorite to win the state was former massachusetts governor mitt romney, who had bet bigot caucuses.
>> he was all in in iowa. he built organization in iowa. he had a lot of people on payroll approximate he worked it hard. i saw him a lot of places. >> he ran nonstop tv ads. >> i'm mitt romney and i approved this message. >> won the straw poll and seemed to be doing everything right. >> he had advance teams and cleanup teams and a media team and it was -- it was a very sophisticated, well-organized effort. >> in contrast, the g.o.p. front runner, former mayor rudy giuliani, a national hero after 9/11 and a social liberal, all but skipped iowa, hoping it wouldn't matter. >> that will go down in history as a classical bad strategy. >> because evangelical christians, 60% of the caucus goers voted in droves for a dark horse, former arkansas governor and baptist minister, mike huckabee. >> it was the network in 1988,
nastructure that exists today was certainly something that supported mike huckabee. >> tonight, i love iowa a whole lot. >> his win shook up the ranks. romney was staggered. >> you win the silver in one event, it doesn't mean you will win the gold in the final event. >> giuliani never recovered. and john mccain who, had been left for dead politically, filled the void. historical footnote, mccain finished fourth in iwamp it's the only time since 1972 that someone who didn't finish among the top 3 candidates in iowa won his party's nomination, which brings us to 20 telph. this time, mitt romney is the closest thing to a consistent g.o.p. front runner. but according to the polls, only about a quarter of republicans support him. and so he faces the same challenge as giuliani in 2008. he could, more or less bypass the state, lowering expectations to avoid another embarrassing
loss. but that would give the rest of the field the chance to use an iowa win to sling-shot past him nationally. >> a candidate like mitt romney to skip iowa or marginalize iowa, what is the danger? >> someone else wins and becomes the national darling and then can pull a surprise in new hampshire. >> let me tell you something about presidential politics. this is not a game of calculation. it is big strokes, bold strokes, trying to fine tune it and do that -- maybe it will work, but not usually. >> the unexpected can happen. >> in iowa, the unexpected often happens. >> coming up, in the freezing iowa winter, some candidates try sweetie i think you need a little extra fiber in your diet.
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>> as iowans dealt with the cold, bleak months of winter, 2011, the candidates pondered their strategies, some big names stayed on the sidelines, others hoping to get a jump on the competition, joined the field. >> if you are thinking about hitting the road in iowa, stay home today. >> but many of the long shots for 2012 are not staying home. >> we have been here several times already. how many of you are happy with the direction of the country? >> herman cain isn't even registered on national polls. >> i can tell that you are not, i'm not. >> but the few iowans attending this event quickly warm up to him. >> i'm joe. >> it's a great morning. it's freezing. >> minnesota congresswoman michele bachmann is a rising political star. but this is her first trip to iowa as a possible presidential
candidate. >> i come here with a positive message. but the reality in some aspects is very grim. >> it's 30 below and there is snow. you are talking to folks in a diner. >> i have a distinct advantage in that i grew up there. so it feels like home. >> i would rather have the next building boom in des moines than in duby. >> former house speaker newt gingrich hopes an early start will launch him into the top tier. >> there will be no bailouts for states. >> this was former minnesota governor tim pawlenty's eighth visit to iowa in the past 16 months. >> our future can be influenced and must be influenced by brave, courageous, faithful people who understand and see the challenge. >> but all the time and money pawlenty has spent in iowa has gained him little support among iowa republicans. >> i have been out of work for about six months. >> we have to belt build a
different kind of economy. >> people are anxious about the economy and one potential candidate many would like to check out, new york real estate developer, donald trump. his plane arrives but he's not on board. an aide carries the message. >> we are very aircrafts to learn about iowa and report back to mr. trump. >> most people outside iowa, mind find such traffic a year before voting a little ridiculous. but with no candidates officially declared yet, iowans wonder, what is taking them so long? >> there are a few people scratching around town here, but i don't see any real activity. march 7, 2011. >> this is the start of the 2012 presidential caucus. >> the iowa faith and freedom coalition holds a fund-raiser in a suburb of des moines.
400 people expected. 2,000 show up. >> we need leaders who can not just talk the talk, but who can walk the walk. >> i'm a supporter of governor pawlenty, but i am glad to have gingrich and others here. >> have a job, so you can have a sense of dignity. and work is important. >> it's always exciting that we're in the first in the nation. >> weeks later >> all we. is for government to get out of the way so we can educate ourselves and our children. >> on the state capitol steps. >> we need to get rid of the department of education. >> a rally for home schoolers. >> the family also has a level of authority that the government may not trample upon. >> pawlenty, cane, santorum, romney and newt gingrich, who quickly offended conservatives by criticizing house budget
committee chairman paul ryan's economic and medicare plan. >> what you did to paul ryan is unforgivable. iowans let him have it. >> you undercut him in the house -- >> no. >> you are an embarrassment to our party. >> i am sorry you feel that way. >> why don't you get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself. >> it's all part of the process. >> they really do tackle the candidates. it's an amazing thing. if a candidate can survive iowa, they can go anywhere and they will be just fine. [chuckles] >> still to come, a state fair, a straw poll and a lot of fireworks. fox news reporting, returns after the the postal service is critical to our economy-- delivering mail, medicine and packages. yet they're closing thousands of offices, slashing service, and want to lay off over 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses, but not for reasons you might think. the problem ? a burden no other agency or company bears.
i'm gregg jarrett. it appears that congress super committee has failed to reach a deal that would cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion borrowing any last minute breakthrough the 12-member panel expected to admit defeat tomorrow. the failure of the plan could trigger automatic cuts. it's also possible the country's credit rating could be downgraded yet again. deadly in egypt. reoccupying in tahir square. four people were reportedly dead
they want them to hand over power to a new civilian government. now back to fox news reporting. 9 fight for iowa. check out foxnews.com. >> it's easy to fall into the pattern of covering the presidential race from the perspective of the candidates. there are stump speeches, attack ads and political calculations. what is missing is the prospective of regular americans as they make the difficult choice of which candidate will be best of the country. so this hour, fox news reporting has decided to look through the other end of the telescope, so to speak. we followed iowa republicans close up as they went about the business of choosing the candidate who will face president obama in 2012. >> i have made them for all the old, old campaigns from way back when. >> memorial day weekend, joani is baking cookies for one
candidate in particular. >> we can only put one in the oven at once. >> her favorite. >> forme governor of massachusetts, mitt romney. >> i look youngener that picture, though. >> she's rounded up 200 of her fellow republicans to fill this barn for him. romney hasn't campaigned in iowa in seven months. but the number-1 objective is beating president obam amount of he has failed when it's come to creating jobs for the american people. he has failed. >> she believes that romney is the most electable in the g.o.p. field. >> you got quite a turnout. >> yeah. >> romney who, in the past supported abortion rights, gun control and government-run health care, stumbled in iowa in 2008. >> welcome back to iowa. >> thank you. good to be back. >> romney's hedging his bets here this time. >> this time, i decided, let's have a lean campaign, not go to every state that starts off
early. >> his lean campaign, even announced it wouldn't enter the ames straw poll in august. a key test of strength ahead of the january caucuses. >> i thought it was a bunch of poppycock. >> paulenty supporter and g.o.p. chairman, jim kirkpatrick. >> he's not running a lean and mean campaign. he has a war chest. he could spend as much time in iowa as he wants to. >> skipping the straw poll is a big risk, says a g.o.p. activist who doesn't know who she will support. >> there might be some who are offended and not even going to give him the time of day. but there are other who is will vote for him. >> like joane. >> you know, i want every one of those candidates to come. and romney is not coming. >> does that make you mad? >> not even a teeny weeny. >> meanwhile, a major shake-up in the 2012 republican contenders for president -- newt
gingrich's entire senior campaign staff has quit today. gingrich decided this week to take a cruise in the caribbean and that is in part the reason that many of these staffers have abandoned the candidate. >> a legitimate candidate doesn't go on a cruise in the middle of a campaign. >> when that happened, it reinforced that he was not a viable candidate. >> call old friends and go, i would like to write you a check, but since you're dead. >> at the same time, michele bachmann is, emerges as a formidable challenger to romney. >> everything i need to learn, i learned in iowa. >> but she follows that with an embarrassing gaff that suggests she hadn't learned her iowa history quite well enough. >> it's like john wayne was from waterloo, iowa, that's the spirit that i have. >> she mixes up iowa legend john wayne and serial killer john
wayne gacy. >> john wayne gacy lived in waterloo -- you know, mass murderer. if you are from waterloo, you would know the difference between the the duke and a felon. >> sure, sure. >> that's part of the deal. >> yeah. >> is it a challenge? >> oh, sure, it's a challenge. but the president of the united states has to stand up and lead the nation and they can't embarrass the american people. so part of toughening up and learning how it do this job. >> also on june 27, another republican jumps in, hoping to catch iowa lightning in a bottle. >> i never thought i would be speaking here. >> thaddeus mccotter. >> in all honesty, you never thought you would hear a speech from a dude named thaddeus. he asked an undecided for coffee. the washington big shot, courting the iowa activist. for now, at least, she's only
willing to give him friendly iowa advice. >> you have to get your -- your statements down so you can talk to people, face to face. >> july tumps to august and the straw poll fast approaches. >> the straw vote sends a powerful message. >> the steaks rising with each passing day. >> when you look at my record of results, it's the best of any candidate in this race. august 11... >> what are you going to do? >> the iowa state fair. >> you get to ask your question, i get to get my answer. >> romney's back. >> you don't like may answer, you can vote for someone else. i am not going to raise taxes -- that's my answer. >> just hours before a fox news debate. >> iowa are looking for a candidate who can win. romney partisan joane... has scored a prime seat in the
auditorium. >> welcome to ames, iowa. >> romney's holding steady at around 20% itch that's the leadership we need to have in the white house. >> but nobody lays a glove on him. >> congresswoman bachmann didn't vote for that bill because of stripping away a pro-life protection. >> instead, his challengers attack each other. >> governor pawlenty cut a deal with the special interest group. >> and the questioners. >> i wish you will put aside the gotcha questions. >> joani loves it. >> who better? and he really did. >> did anybody cassene the debate last night? >> the next day -- >> with your help tomorrow at ames, iowa, we are going to make barack obama a one-term president! a chance for some last-minute politicking. >> i heard you have something called a pork chop on a stick?
i just sent my staff out to get me one. >> the solution will not be to take your dreams and put them in a highly centralized bureaucratic washington. >> we are teetering on theeng of an economic disaster. we have to drastically shrink the size of our federal government. >> another conservative favorite makes a surprise appearance. but sarah palin is not in the race. or on the ballot for the following day's vote. >> i do come back to september 3. >> straw polls in the past, somebody in the top 3 has gone on to win the nomination. >> robin is volunteering at the straw poll for the first time. >> after today, we might see some drop out just because they don't have the means to -- to make it in the national scene. >> the candidates all buy tickets for their supporters to show up and cast ballots in a straw poll t. supposedly shows the strength of your support
because you are able to marshal the troops and get them to show up. >> campaigns buy spots to pitch their tent, where they provide food and entertainment for iowans, they hope are supporters. ron paul bid $31,000 for the most coveted, next to the polls. >> really it shows who is willing to pay the most plony in order to secure a win. >> but the candidate with the most money to spend isn't competing. >> i wish he had come. but he spent a lot of money here four years ago and didn't get him anywhere. >> romney's decision not to contest in the straw poll gives jim kirkpatrick hope for his candidate, tim pawlenty. >> we are here to support governor pawlenty. >> it is quite a show. 16,000 people turn out. 2,000 more than in 2008. >> i am a supporter of michele bachmann right now. but i am keeping an open mind. >> michelle is our best hope. >> you did it.
>> it was bachmann who got the most vote, slightly more than ron paul. >> have you just sent a message. >> you spent a lot of money there, ahead of the straw poll. was it worth it sno. >> a lot less than a lot of other candidates. other candidates had been there for years and spent millions. >> like the fellow minnesotan, tim pawlenty, who dropped out the next day, to the chagrin of supporters. >> it wasn't a surprise to me, just that he did so quickly. i thought -- he would take a day or two, and he was just -- >> iowa claimed the latest victim. but none of the survivingand candidates seemed closer to closing the deal with the undecided republicans. >> i think we are looking for somebody else to join in. you know? because maybe we are not ceived with what everybody else is telling us at this point. >> indeed, even as iowans were counting the ballots, a new candidate, far from the hawkeye state announced he was entering
the race. >> i declare to you today, as a candidate for president of the united states! >> would iowans resent rick perry for stealing michele bachmann's strawl poll thunder? and what would they think of the texas governor when they got a closer look? coming up, what exactly happens inside a caucus? >> we get all the ballots? one reason there are so many iowa surprises. congratulations. congratulations. congralations. today, the city of charlotte can use verizon technology to inspire binesses to conserve energy and monitor costs. making communities greener... congratulations. ... and buildings as valuable to the bottom line... whoa ! ... as the people inside them. congratulations. because when you add verizon to your company, you don't just add, you multiply. ♪ discover something new... verizon.
>> we have over thirty two 72 of us in here right now. >> unlike primary, where you come in, vote and leave... iowa caucuses are face to face, a chance to debate the issues. and sometimes, sway others to your way of thinking. they're also, as you will see, less about winning actual delegates than about gauging voter sentiment in small groups around the state. >> two of each going. >> there are 99 counties in iowa. what does that mean for the caucuses? >> there are 2100 precincts between the 99 counties. >> iowa caucus historian -- >> it's literally the neighborhood level, where someone across the street from you may go to a different caucus. so it's the politics at a retail level. >> think about it, a cold january night, 15 below, people driving in from 7, 8, 10 miles away to come to my construction
office to gather 15 to 20 people there. >> iowa congressman steve king has hosted many caucuses. people come in, we check them to be registered republicans. in they are not registered republicans, we will register them on the spot or invite them to go back out in the cold. >> this activist. >> it is not impersonal, you know? have you people together discussing and debating and talking. that's what it's all about. >> i will be the chair. >> then we elect a chair. there's an agenda. one is to establish the planks in the platform. >> we believe the social security system should be protected. >> also, we are electing delegates to the county convention, delegates and alternates. >> at the county conventions, the delegates will elect another slate of delegates to districts who, in turn will pick delegates to the state convention, who finally choose iowa's 28 delegates to the republican
national convention, in tampa. but that all happens months later. so the results on caucus night will not be the actual number of delegates each candidate has won. it's more complicated than that. the first thing to understand is that during the candidate picking part of the evening, republicans and democrats do things differently. democrats actually have to declare their support publicly, by physically standing in sections of the room designated for each candidate. recommends vote by secret ballot. but they still discuss the pros and cons of the candidates first. >> and there will be advocates for each of the candidates and they will give a speech for their candidate and at the conclusion of the speeches for the candidates, then we pass out slips of paper and we each right our candidate down on that, fold the paper over and put them in a hat and go in the corner and appoint a couple of people to
count the votes. >> we get all the ballots? >> the votes are not binding on the delegates sent to the national convention. but that has not stopped them from being coveted in the presidential sweepstakes. it is that quirky system that in the past has allowed candidates way down in the polls to become frontrunners and even presidents. and it could easily happen again, says joe trip py, the veteran of six presidential campaigns. >> iowa can make or break you and that's -- that's the fate. and organization and a good message, but a lot of it is luck. >> and undecided republicans, guard their states first-in-the-nation pregative. she says american democracy needs to allow any candidate with good ideas the chance to break through. >> i think iowa has proven ourselves as asking the tough questions and getting who they really are. we are very well educated.
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it won't be long before republicans start choosing their 2012 presidential candidate. and the del kit count starts here. the frontrunners want no surprises, just their ticket punch for new hampshire. the rest of the field aims for the shock headline, reporting their surprisingly strong finish, welcoming them to the top tier. iowans have a history of making those headlines, with voters still looking, anybody can happen. >> the joke is always, what did you do before? iowans will say something like,
i don't know, i have only met him five times. >> mid-august, iowa voters get their first close look at governor rick perry, who soars to the top of the national polls. >> i will try to make washington, d.c. as incons quential in your life as i can. >> and falls to earth just as quickly. his presidential run now depends on a strong showing in iowa, says fayette county g.o.p. chairman. a pawlenty man, now backing perry. >> i think he would be an excellent candidate. hope he picks tup on the next debate. >> by mid-september, cain is beating perry as the leading conservative alternate testify romney. >> now is not my time. >> when governor christie announces he won't run, followed by tea party favorite, sarah palin, the 2012 field is set. and romney's back -- barely as the frontrunner. >> hi, there.
council bluffs, iowa. >> how are you? >> only romney's fifth trip to the state. but the big question is whether he is changing course and trying to win the caucuses. that might end the race almost before it starts. >> are you ready to commit to iway. i would like to win every state. i probably won't win 'em all. >> but he's keeping expectations low. three days later, des moines. >> i have heard there could be close to 1,000 people here tonight. i am not too surprised that romney didn't show up. >> robin is off to to the faithd freedom coalition. she's undecided no longer. the sought-after activist is going to back -- >> i am going to say ti really like newt. i like his intelligence. i like what he has got to say. >> 2012...: is the most
important election in this country since 1860 [applause] >> gingrich had no political pulse just months ago, now he's pulling in double digits. but tonight's big star was herman cain. he hasn't been seen in iowa since the straw poll in august. and his tiny staff has been all but invisible. but he says that will change. >> they are hiring people so fast -- i'm serious, i lost count. i met some of my people tonight that i hadn't even met. >> michele bachmann has hardly left iowa since her straw poll victory, but is now seen as second tier. >> what happens if you don't win iowa? >> we'll talk then. >> mr. cain, i want to congratulate you on winning the des moines register iowa poll? >> really. e >> in the des moines register poll, the gold standard for iowa, shows cain leading among likely caucus goers at 23%. >> 23-22 against mitt romney.
>> well, thank you. that's a very nice, pleasant surprise! >> but that very night, cain is hit with the first of what will be a series of sexual harassment allegations. later that week, he and romney both missed the reagan dinner, a major g.o.p. fund-raisener des moines. perry and gingrich, each at 7% in the poll, both deliver, so has santorum, who has visited every one of 99 counties. and bachmann, getting praise for unwaiverring intensity and ron paul who bought up more commercial time than any other candidate. >> we spend too much, we tax too much. >> romney's returned to iowa the following monday, signals this is still one big scramble. and the disastrous perry debate wednesday, he's followed on friday by new national polls that underscore, everything's
still up for grabs. with the january 3 caucuses less than 7 weeks away, once again, the entire country is waiting to see what iowa voters will decide. history suggests two things about the 2012 iowa caucuses. there will be surprises and the results will have a substantial impact on who wins the nomination. so if, as the candidates claim and many americans believe, the united states is at an historical turning point, what iowans and a do here could reverberate around the world and even across generations. that's our program. i'm bret baier. thanks for watching. sweetie i think you need a little extra fiber in your diet.
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