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IA-03 news roundup: NRCC more interested, Appel releases first ad against Young

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:24:46 AM CDT

As expected, Iowa's third Congressional district campaign between former State Senator Staci Appel and Senator Chuck Grassley's former chief of staff David Young is shaping up to be the most competitive and most expensive of Iowa's four U.S. House races. Within days of Young's surprise victory at a GOP special nominating convention, the Appel campaign released its first paid advertisement highlighting Young's long career as a Congressional staffer and support for cutting Social Security and Medicare. Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee added Young to its list of "contenders" and is now paying for robocalls attacking Appel.

Follow me after the jump for details on the latest IA-03 campaign developments.

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IA-Gov, IA-Sen, Iowa caucus: Highlights from the new Vox Populi poll

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 09:44:02 AM CDT

The first Iowa survey by a brand-new Republican polling firm, Vox Populi, shows close races for governor and for the open U.S. Senate seat. Toplines for those races and for the 2016 Iowa caucuses are after the jump.  
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Weekend open thread: Church and state edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 07:15:00 AM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

The non-profit advocacy group Secularity USA brought world-famous evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins to Des Moines on Saturday. I couldn't make it to the event; if you were there, please share your impressions. The mission of Secularity USA is to raise public awareness "of the dangers of religious bias in government and promoting the traditional separation of church and state." While Dawkins is a well-known atheist, Secularity USA seeks to unite "religious and nonreligious supporters of church-state separation."

Governor Terry Branstad signed a proclamation this week inviting "all Iowans who choose to join in thoughtful prayer and humble repentance according to II Chronicles 7:14 in favor of our state and nation to come together on July 14, 2014." I wouldn't go so far as one blogger, who declared that Branstad "signed away separation of church and state," but it does seem inappropriate for the governor to lend his support to such a specific religious movement. The "Prayer 7-14-14" group, which is calling for the national day of prayer, sounds pretty far out there. Endorsing this project is different from routine appearances by governors at prayer breakfasts, or the prayers that typically open daily sessions in the Iowa House and Senate.

I wonder whether the governor's staff sensed that he crossed a line, because I didn't see any announcement of this event on the governor's official news feed. Normally that feed highlights several proclamation signings each week. It mentioned more than half a dozen other documents Branstad signed this past week--including, ironically, a proclamation for Muslim Recognition Day. Perhaps Branstad viewed inviting Iowans to pray on July 14 as nothing more than empty pandering to the FAMiLY Leader contingent, which is promoting the national prayer day. The governor hasn't elevated social conservative goals in most of his public speeches or in his legislative agenda.

Former Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan headlined an Iowa GOP fundraiser in Cedar Rapids last night. O.Kay Henderson posted the audio at Radio Iowa. As usual for Ryan, he said little about social conservative priorities, focusing instead on federal budget and tax issues, Obamacare, and the need for Republican unity. But he did nod to his religious heritage by urging his audience to give up "infighting," "tunnel vision," and "acrimony" for Lent.

Last month I never managed to post a thread on one of this year's biggest news stories related to church-state separation: the U.S. Supreme Court considering what has become known as the Hobby Lobby case. After the jump I've posted six links on the oral arguments in that case, which will determine whether two corporations are entitled to a religious exemption from the 2010 health care reform law's contraception mandate.  

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IA-Sen, IA-Gov, Iowa caucus: Highlights from the new Suffolk poll

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 15:40:00 PM CDT

The Suffolk University Political Research Center asked 800 Iowa "likely voters" about this year's biggest races. The margin of error for the survey, conducted between April 3 and April 8, is plus or minus 3.5 percent. Suffolk's press release summarizing the highlights is here. Full results are here (pdf). Tables are here (pdf).

Representative Bruce Braley leads all Republican rivals for U.S. Senate in the first Iowa poll conducted after Braley's comments about Senator Chuck Grassley gained wide attention. Braley is still better-known than the GOP candidates, and more Iowans have a favorable than unfavorable impression of him. The bad news for Braley is that he is below 40 percent against each of the Republican candidates.

Suffolk's poll indicates that the GOP IA-Sen primary is now a two-tier race, with State Senator Joni Ernst and Mark Jacobs each commanding more than 20 percent support, and the other candidates in the single digits. That makes sense, since Ernst and Jacobs have the most establishment support and are the only Senate candidates who have been able to raise their name recognition through paid advertising. But 40 percent of respondents were undecided.

Governor Terry Branstad's still in positive territory, with 48.5 percent of respondents viewing him favorably and about 35.4 percent unfavorably. His lead over Democratic State Senator Jack Hatch is smaller in this poll than in any other Iowa survey I've seen, though: 42.4 percent to 32.1 percent.

Among respondents who said they are likely to participate in the 2016 Democratic caucuses, 63 percent favor Hillary Clinton. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was far behind with 12 percent, followed by Vice President Joe Biden with 10 percent. It's hard to say who is really in second place, since the margin of error for the Democratic caucus-goer subsample is quite large (plus or minus 8.4 percent). Nevertheless, Clinton clearly maintains a commanding lead.

I wouldn't read much into the Iowa GOP caucus results from this survey. All the potential presidential candidates (Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Sarah Palin, Marco Rubio, and Condoleezza Rice) are clumped close together, between 6 and 11 percent support. That's within the the margin of error of plus or minus 8.7 percent for that subset of the Suffolk poll.

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Weekend open thread: New Register poll edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 16:25:00 PM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? The hour I lost with "spring forward" was the hour I needed to get the open thread up at the usual time. But better late than never. All topics are welcome.

For the past week, the Des Moines Register has been releasing results from its latest statewide poll. Selzer & Co surveyed 703 Iowa adults between February 23 and 26, producing a statistical margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent. This morning's newspaper revealed that President Barack Obama's approval rating has hit a new low in the state he carried in the last two presidential elections. Just 36 percent of respondents said they approve of Obama's job performance, while 59 percent disapprove. Those findings will embolden Republican candidates who plan to make this November's elections a referendum on the president's policies.

Looking ahead to the 2016 caucuses, 50 percent of Iowans, including 88 percent of the Democrats in the Register's poll sample, think it would be good for Hillary Clinton to run for president again. Support for Vice President Joe Biden was much lower, with 33 percent of the full sample and 58 percent of the Democrats saying it would be good for Biden to run for president again. Like I've said before, there is no evidence Hillary Clinton has any lasting problem with Iowa Democrats.

U.S. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's reputation with Iowa Republicans doesn't appear to have suffered from being on the losing ticket with Mitt Romney in 2012. Selzer's poll for the Register found that 67 percent of Republican respondents think it's a good idea for Ryan to run for president. The full sample was split, with 41 percent supporting a Ryan presidential bid and 42 percent saying it would be a bad idea. In the Republican sub-sample, 65 percent said it would be good for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to run for president again, 50 percent said the same about Texas Governor Rick Perry, and 48 percent said the same about former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.

My impression last year was that other potential candidates, including U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, are telling Iowa Republicans what they want to hear, while Santorum's message is not striking the same chord. If Ryan runs for president, he will surely come under attack for recent deals with Democrats on the federal budget.  

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New 2016 Iowa Republican caucus discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 06:40:00 AM CST

It's been a while since we had a thread about the 2016 presidential campaign on the Republican side. Spin your own scenarios in the comments.

Public Policy Polling's latest survey of Iowa Republicans shows a jumble, with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee slightly ahead, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas notably trending up and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida trending down, along with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Highlights are after the jump, or click here for full results and cross-tabs. I'm not surprised to see Cruz's favorability improve, as he wowed Republican crowds during two Iowa visits last year.

PPP's robocall format only allows a maximum of nine candidates to be listed. I find it strange that the pollster included Huckabee and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, neither of whom seem likely to run for president in 2016. It's all the more odd since the poll did not give respondents a chance to choose former Senator Rick Santorum, the narrow winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses, as a presidential candidate.

PPP's poll also did not offer respondents a chance to choose Texas Governor Rick Perry, who came to Iowa this week. He appeared on Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" program, attended a "business roundtable" in Davenport organized by the Koch Brothers group Americans for Prosperity, and spoke to GOP activists in Polk County at a private fundraiser and a small "rally" at Governor Terry Branstad's campaign headquarters. I've posted excerpts from Perry's "Iowa Press" comments below. I was particularly interested in his take on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoing a bill that would have allowed private businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples. Perry provided a textbook example of how to pivot away from the question you don't want to answer the question you wanted.

Another ambitious Republican excluded from PPP's Iowa poll is former Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who recently agreed to headline the April 3 GOP dinner in tiny Ringgold County. Brown visited the Iowa State Fair last summer and spoke at a Scott County GOP event in November.  

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Weekend open thread: Storylines

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 17:45:00 PM CST

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? I saw Peter Jackson's new Hobbit film, and it's a good movie if you don't mind the director taking major liberties with the plot of the novel. If you're a dedicated fan of Tolkien's story, you will probably agree with Christopher Orr, who called it "bad fan fiction." What I appreciate about Jackson is that unlike George Lucas (massively overrated as a director in my opinion), he didn't try to make his film too much of a kids' movie. There were plenty of children in the theater audience, but The Hobbit doesn't include as many stupid characters or cheap laughs as the Star Wars movies.

Today's edition of the Sunday Des Moines Register contains some findings from the latest Iowa Poll by Selzer & Co. The margins of error are large due to small sample sizes of Iowa Democrats and Republicans, but the headline news is that Hillary Clinton's favorable/unfavorable numbers are 50 percent/45 percent with all Iowa respondents and 89 percent/7 percent with Democrats surveyed by Selzer between December 8 and 11. In other words, this poll does not support the narrative I've argued against repeatedly, which holds that Clinton "needs" to do more retail campaigning here to compensate for her allegedly poor Iowa caucuses showing and failure to connect with Iowans. In my view, Clinton didn't do as badly here in 2008 as some people believe, nor is she as unpopular among rank and file Iowa Democrats as some bloggers imagine. She will not have any substantial Democratic competition here or anywhere else if she runs for president again.

Speaking of unfounded beliefs, backers of proposed casinos in Cedar Rapids and Jefferson (Greene County) talk a good game about the economic development their projects will bring. Economists Ernie Goss of Creighton University and Dave Swenson of Iowa State University threw cold water on those claims during this weekend's edition of Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" program. Excerpts are after the jump, including Goss' memorable comparison of some casinos to a "neutron bomb" that "destroys" surrounding local businesses such as restaurants.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.  

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Conservative poll shows Christie, Cruz, Paul leading Iowa caucus race

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 12:12:00 PM CST

A Harper Polling/Conservative intel survey of 390 "likely Republican caucus-goers" on November 23 and 24 indicates that 17 percent of respondents would support New Jersey Governor Chris Christie if the Iowa caucuses were held today. Another 17 percent were "not sure," followed by 16 percent for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, 13 percent for U.S. Senator Rand Paul, 11 percent for former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, 9 percent for U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, 7 percent for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, 6 percent for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, and 3 percent for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

I am skeptical about any poll that identifies "likely caucus-goers" more than two years before the caucuses, and I doubt Christie has any chance of winning here. Then again, he could win a plurality if he's the only perceived "moderate" in a crowded field of conservatives. I expect Iowa Republicans to gravitate away from sitting members of Congress and toward governors, but I think Walker will have more appeal here than Christie.

When Harper Polling/Conservative Intel tested Hillary Clinton against each of the Republicans among the full poll sample of 985 "likely voters," she led everyone but Christie, who led her by 43 percent to 38 percent. Keep in mind that the party breakdown in this poll sample closely matched the 2010 turnout in Iowa. Presidential-year turnout is higher among all partisan groups, but especially among independents. In the 2010 general election, 281,546 no-party voters in Iowa cast ballots. But nearly 500,000 Iowa no-party voters cast ballots for the 2012 presidential election.

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Paul Ryan's going to need a better message than that (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 07:15:00 AM CST

Roughly 800 people came to Altoona on Saturday night to celebrate Governor Terry Branstad's birthday and raise money for his re-election campaign. The featured speaker was House Budget Committee Chair and 2012 Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Listening to his remarks at Radio Iowa's website, I didn't hear a serious contender for the presidency in 2016.

Three big things were missing from Ryan's speech.

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Ted Cruz Iowa prospects discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 16:39:47 PM CDT

Judging from the reception he got in Des Moines and Le Mars on Friday and Saturday, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is still a hot property for conservative Iowa Republicans. I've posted links and highlights about Cruz's latest visit after the jump. Any comments about his impact on Iowa politics or his potential as a presidential candidate are welcome in this thread.

I see Cruz as a showboater who will peak long before the 2016 Iowa caucuses, as people tire of his over-promising. Granted, many Republicans savor the fantasy that everything would go their way if the evil establishment only listened to "constitutional conservatives" like Cruz. Nevertheless, I expect Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will have a winning message during the next caucus campaign. He can claim to have delivered on more conservative dreams than members of Congress like Cruz, Senator Rand Paul, or Representative Paul Ryan. I would love to be wrong and see the GOP nominate Cruz for president, though.

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Possible 2016 presidential candidates comment on budget/debt ceiling deal

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 20:20:00 PM CDT

Most Americans are relieved the federal government will be fully operational again this week, but the short-term deal on the 2014 budget and debt ceiling isn't popular on the right wing of the Republican base. I got a kick out of this "Tea Party Insult Generator" based on real comments posted to House Speaker John Boehner's Facebook page.

Of the members of Congress who may run for president in 2016, only Representative Peter King of New York voted yes on the deal to reopen the government (the House roll call is here, and the Senate roll call is here). King isn't a real contender for the GOP nomination anyway; he would be running for president to send a message.

House Budget Committee Chairman and former Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan voted no last night, as did Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz. After the jump I've posted statements from all of those politicians about the deal. Their talking points will make a good impression on likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers, even if the events of the last few weeks have hurt the GOP on the generic Congressional ballot.

Any comments about the federal budget, debt ceiling, or next presidential campaign are welcome in this thread.  

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GOP presidential candidate speculation thread

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:35:00 AM CDT

It's never too early to talk about the next Iowa caucuses. Here are a few news items to get the conversation started: Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the last GOP vice presidential nominee and chair of the House Budget Committee, will headline Governor Terry Branstad's birthday event in Altoona this November.

Representative Peter King of New York, the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, is thinking about running for president and specifically criticized two other likely candidates: Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. It sounds as if King doesn't expect to win the nomination, but wants to "get my views out on national defense and foreign policy" and prevent people like Paul from being "the face of the national Republican Party."

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is my ridiculously early pick to win the 2016 caucuses, but I think Paul Ryan could do well here too. I don't see Peter King having strong appeal with Iowa Republicans.

I tend to agree with Josh Marshall that we are seeing "the end of Marco Rubio" as a presidential contender. Immigration reform is probably going nowhere, and Rubio bet a lot on that horse. Conservative talk radio host Steve Deace is wrong about most things, but probably not wrong about Rubio's "Iowa problem." The young senator would be better off running for re-election in Florida in 2016 and putting off any presidential ambitions for at least another four or eight years.

The latest Public Policy Polling survey of Iowa Republicans showed no clear front-runner.

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PPP poll: if Hillary runs, she wins Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 20:12:00 PM CDT

Hillary Clinton utterly dominates the Democratic field in Public Policy Polling's latest survey of Iowa. About 71 percent of Democratic respondents would support the former first lady and secretary of state she runs for president in 2016 (full results here). Under normal circumstances, I would say it's too early to poll an Iowa caucus campaign that won't be in full swing for another two years. But I think this poll is a good indicator that she will have nothing more than token opposition in the Democratic primaries if she runs for president again. It doesn't matter how much or how little she does "retail politics" in Iowa--she would win the caucuses easily. If Clinton doesn't run for whatever reason, Vice President Joe Biden would be the early front-runner. If he stays out, it will be a wide-open race.

On the Republican side, PPP found a real jumble. Asked whom respondents would most like to see as the GOP's next presidential nominee, U.S. Senator Rand Paul led with 18 percent of Iowa Republican respondents, followed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (16 percent), Representative Paul Ryan (15 percent), former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (14 percent), Senator Marco Rubio (11 percent), Senator Ted Cruz (10 percent), "someone else/not sure" (7 percent), former Senator Rick Santorum (6 percent), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (2 percent), and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (1 percent).

I am surprised they didn't ask about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who's my absurdly early pick to win the Iowa caucuses. He is much more likely to run for president than some of the other names included in the survey. I am also surprised that so many respondents picked Christie and so few picked Santorum.

It's way too early for meaningful polling on the 2016 general election, but for now Hillary Clinton leads all potential GOP opponents in Iowa. Any comments about the next presidential campaign are welcome in this thread.

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Steve King comments on possible IA-Sen race

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 17:48:00 PM CDT

Appearing on Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" program today, Representative Steve King (IA-04) acknowledged that the open U.S. Senate race will be a "slight uphill battle" for any Republican, but asserted that he can see a "path to victory" if he decides to run.

I am still 100 percent convinced that King will opt out of the Senate race eventually, citing personal reasons (not political reality). Nevertheless, his comments on the Senate race are worth reading closely, so I've enclosed them below. You can watch the whole interview or read the full transcript here.

King claimed to be unable to think of any positions he has taken that are "out of step with Iowans." Near the end of this post, I've suggested two issues that would become central features in Bruce Braley's case against King.

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How Harkin and Grassley voted on the Senate budget and amendments

by: desmoinesdem

Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 20:35:00 PM CDT

The U.S. Senate approved a budget for fiscal year 2014 at 4:38 am on Saturday after voting on amendments for most of the night. The budget passed by 50 votes to 49 (roll call). Iowa's Senator Chuck Grassley and the rest of the Senate Republicans voted no, joined by four Democrats representing red states. The rest of the Democrats, including Senator Tom Harkin, voted for the budget.

As is often the case, Senate votes on various amendments were more interesting than the final party-line vote on the budget. Follow me after the jump for details on how Grassley and Harkin voted on some of those amendments. I've also enclosed statements from Grassley and Harkin.

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House approves Paul Ryan's budget: How the Iowans voted

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 11:56:00 AM CDT

Yesterday the U.S. House approved a fiscal year 2014 budget prepared by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. The bill also sets budget levels for fiscal years 2015 through 2023. Bleeding Heartland covered Iowa reaction to the latest Ryan budget here. After the jump I have details on yesterday's vote and statements released by members of the Iowa delegation.

Despite the spin from some Congressional Republicans and Governor Terry Branstad, it's important to remember that Ryan's budget is not balanced and will not be balanced even 10 years from now. Both the non-partisan Tax Policy Center and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have noted that Ryan does not say how he would offset trillions in lost revenue from income tax cuts he proposes. In addition, the Ryan budget "understates defense spending by $100 billion over the next ten years" and assumes that the 2010 health care reform law will be repealed, which obviously won't happen. The Ryan plan isn't about eliminating the federal deficit, it's a plan to end Medicare as a single-payer program and change the role of the federal government in the lives of low-income Americans.

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GOP "autopsy" discussion thread (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 16:40:00 PM CDT

The Republican National Committee released a so-called "autopsy" on the 2012 election results today. You can read the full report on the "Growth and Opportunity Project" here. I've posted a few excerpts, links and thoughts after the jump.

Any comments about the GOP's rebuilding and rebranding effort are welcome in this thread.

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Iowa reaction to Paul Ryan's new budget

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 17:45:00 PM CDT

U.S. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan presented his new federal budget blueprint today. As before, he would end Medicare as a single-payer system for all Americans under age 55, slash spending on programs for the poor such as food stamps and Medicaid, and cut taxes for some, though the details there are fuzzy. He would not cut the defense budget or Social Security. Ryan says his budget would be balanced in 10 years, but he relies on some assumptions that won't happen, such as repeal of the 2010 health care reform law.

I've enclosed Iowa political reaction to the Ryan budget below and will update this post as needed.

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How future presidential candidates voted on the fiscal cliff deal

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:20:00 AM CST

Iowa GOP Chair A.J. Spiker spoke for many conservative Republicans yesterday when he urged members of Congress to vote against the "ill-advised" deal to avoid tax increases. "The so called "Fiscal Cliff Deal" will only hurt middle class families, continue out of control government spending and fails to address the $16.5 Trillion Federal deficit [sic]," Spiker said in a statement.

Republicans Tom Latham (IA-04, IA-03 in the new Congress) and Steve King (IA-05, IA-04 in the new Congress) voted against this bill. So did likely 2016 presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Rand Paul in the U.S. Senate. However, in a surprising move to me, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan voted for the deal. I figured Ryan would end up with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and most other House Republicans, who objected to the lack of spending cuts. Ryan later told reporters, "I am not afraid of anything, I think it needed to pass. [...] I wanted to stop a big tax increase."

Any comments on the long-term political implications of yesterday's votes are welcome in this thread. Rubio has already warned that the deal will hurt small businesses and future economic growth. He is wrong about the impact on small businesses, but economic growth probably will be weak during the next few years, which will vindicate his views in the eyes of conservatives.

UPDATE: A few more House Republicans who voted no may run for president in 2016 or 2020: Mike Pence, just elected governor of Indiana; Tim Scott, just appointed U.S. senator to replace Jim DeMint of South Carolina; Jeff Flake, just elected U.S. senator from Arizona.

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Final Des Moines Register poll and Obama, Romney in Dubuque

by: desmoinesdem

Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 19:25:00 PM CDT

President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney both headlined rallies in Dubuque today as two new polls showed the president ahead in Iowa.  
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