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Hop on the bus, Gus

August 15, 2011
By TAMMY R. LAWSON - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

So, Michele Bachmann wins the Iowa Straw Poll.

Rick Perry enters the race right before.

Tim Pawlenty drops out the day after.

And a "Whoa!" in between: Ron Paul loses to Bachmann by only 152 votes.

Oh, such excitement in the race of presidential contention lately.

At Thursday's opening of the Iowa State Fair, I was witness to exchanges between Mitt Romney and audience members during his Soapbox speech. The first few minutes were calm. The last few, no so much.

At conclusion, he was immediately escorted down one of the walk ways as both the curious and media hovered about. Yes, I was one of them. Romney and I exchanged small talk; he was very gracious, though you could sense there were other things on his mind.

I did give the man a break, however - forgoing the question of whether he was going to try the fried butter on-a-stick.

After Romney disappeared from sight, I said to the person with me, "That may hurt him Saturday straw poll wise, and before long snippets will be used in 'counter-attack' ads."

Out of about 17,000 votes, he received 567.

And sure enough, I viewed two 30-second spots Sunday morning during commercial breaks of "Meet the Press," stressing those infamous words "Corporations are people, my friend."


It was slightly reminiscent of the scream heard 'round the world from Howard Dean - and for me, kind of like Groundhog Day.

To be completely honest, I really haven't had a chance to research Thad McCotter, who came in dead last out of the 10 and received 35 votes, but I did read where his camp paid $18,000 for a campaign space in Ames, which averaged around $514 per vote. Therefore, he came out even on the tent.

Perry has already begun his Iowa meet 'n greets across the state, arriving in Waterloo Sunday.

In turn, President Obama will fire up a motor coach of his own Monday and Tuesday for stops in Decorah and Peosta.

Critics have snickered at the fact Iowa even conducts the straw poll, calling it nothing but a frenzy for the media, and its votes are unofficial.

Maybe so, but it gives them something to talk about. Did they not find it interesting that Perry was a write-in candidate and prevailed over Romney by 151 'straws?'

It seems as if the event does offer some kind of gauge on what voters are thinking - enough so that T-Paw quit.

Money's tight.

(Or as the Huffington Post put it, "The loser of the Ames Straw Poll will probably also enjoy prominent placement in the political newshole.")

A somewhat rancid statement but sadly, a true one.

By the primaries, let's say it shall be interesting to see who else hops off their own bus.


Reporter Tammy R. Lawson is a Monday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Tammy R. Lawson at 641-753-6611 or



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