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The Gazette KCRG
Posted November 29, 2011
What’s Ahead Nov. 29: Is Romney running to win in Iowa?

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signs autographs after speaking at a campaign stop, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, in Medley, Fla. While others focus on Iowa's caucuses or the early primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina, Romney is set to spend the day in the state welcoming endorsements from three top Cuban-American Republicans, attending several fundraisers and visiting the port in Tampa to discuss trade policy. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Is Mitt Romney running to win in Iowa?

Seems it depends on who’s answering that question.

The former Massachusetts governor’s communications director Gail Gitcho said Nov. 28 her boss’s strategy “is to win there” when asked about Iowa.

She didn’t repeat that during a conference call with Iowa reporters Monday to respond to the Democratic National Committee’s four-minute Internet video and a 30-second television ad highlighting Romney’s “flip-flops” on a number of issues.

Romney campaign leaders in Iowa stopped short of saying their candidate will score a victory in the Iowa precinct caucuses Jan. 3.

“Whoever wagers a good campaign over the month of December will do well,” said Brian Kennedy, who’s heading up Romney’s Iowa team. “Mitt Romney is one of those candidates who will do well.”

Of course, a candidate can “do well” in Iowa without winning because so much of the caucus contest is about expectations. Romney has worked to lower expectations. He’s campaigned here seven times this year compared to 29 times for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Georgia businessman Herman Cain each have made 26 visits.

Romney has raised expectations with visits, additional staff and opening an Iowa headquarters. Kennedy and ad Iowa adviser David Kochel suggested Romney would be back more than once before the caucuses.

“There are a couple of debates in Iowa and there will be other opportunities for the governor to get out here,” Kochel said.

Romney “plans to come to Iowa again and again,” added Kennedy

Gitcho’s comment as well as Romney launching ads in Iowa make it clear “Romney is now counting on a win in Iowa,” according to Megan Jacobs of the Iowa Democratic Party.

Mitt’s in the mail: Romney recently mailed four-color advertising pieces address a variety of issues including the argument he is the strongest challenger to Obama. Other mailers address illegal immigration and social issues, including his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. It appears to be an appeal to the so-called “values voters” — Christian conservatives who show up in large numbers for the caucuses.

The ads may be an attempt to blunt the impact of Christian conservatives, who have been discussing plans to block Romney from winning the caucuses. Romney has been suspect in their eyes for changing his position on issues important to them — abortion, for example.

Another was headlined “It’s up to you, Iowa” and encouraged Iowans to take 30 minutes to vote or be “stuck” with four more years of Obama.

Going postal: Romney’s not the only GOP hopeful giving the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service a boost with campaign mailings. Texas Rep. Ron Paul mailed a manila envelope stuffed with an executive summary of his plan to cut the federal budget and also hit Iowans’ mailboxes in recent days.

Santorum matriculates: Look for the University of Northern Iowa to announce another commitment to its presidential candidate education forum which starts Nov. 30 with Michele Bachmann’s appearance on campus.

Santorum apparently will be on the Cedar Falls campus Dec. 9 to participate in the regents’ university’s series of forums “Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities in Education Today.”

UNI has extended invitations to the candidates, including President Obama.

On the calendar:

Nov. 30

Michele Bachmann, 1 p.m., University of Northern Iowa’s presidential candidate education forum at 1 p.m. Nov. 30 in Bengtson Auditorium in Russell Hall

Michele Bachmann, 3:30 p.m., town hall meeting, 2020 W. Bremer Ave., Waverly

Michele Bachmann, 6:30 p.m., town hall meeting, 1000 Blunt St., Charles City

Dec. 1

Newt Gingrich, 7 p.m., Polk County Robb Kelley Victory Club, Johnston

Dec. 4:

Rick Santorum, 2 p.m., town hall, Sidney Senior Center; 5:30 p.m., Mid-America Center, 1 Arena Way, Council Bluffs

Dec. 5

Rick Santorum, 9:30 a.m., town hall, Stoney Creek Inn, Sioux City; 12:30 p.m., town hall, 4 Brother’s Restaurant, Le Mars; 7:30 p.m., rally, Dordt College Campus Center, Sioux Center

Dec. 7

Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, Republican Jewish Coalition, Washington

Dec. 10

8 p.m., Des Moines Register/ABC News/Yahoo!/Republican Party of Iowa live presidential debate, Drake University

Dec. 15

Fox News/ Republican Party of Iowa live presidential debate, Sioux City

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