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“Iowans Won’t Forget This”

Rick Perry’s reported decision to announce his candidacy on the same day as the Ames straw poll apparently isn’t playing well with some Iowans. In particular, Craig Robinson, editor of The Iowa Republican, seems to be taking the news remarkably hard:

Stealing some of the media attention away from the straw poll and the candidates that are participating on Saturday may seem like a savvy thing to do, but it comes at a high price.  Perry now risks alienating the very people he needs to support him in order to win the nomination.  It also seems arrogant to think that he can steal the some of the spotlight from Ames.  National members of the media are already in Iowa to cover the lead up to the straw poll and Thursday night’s Fox News debate.  Perry is basically going to attempt inject himself in to the national news story, but his speech and entrance into the race will not match the excitement of Ames.

There were bound to be some bruised egos from Perry’s reported decision, but here’s where Robinson loses me:

Perry is acting as if he is the 800-pound gorilla that is about to enter the race, but he’s not.  He has a great resume and looks the part, but the TIR poll conducted in late June showed him at only eight percent in Iowa.  Perry’s decision to forgo competing in the Fox News debate and the straw poll is also a sign of weakness, not one of strength and conviction.

A bit dramatic considering the circumstances. First of all, the whole announcement story is just based on unconfirmed news reports right now. Second, Perry can’t compete in the Fox News debate since he hasn’t made his candidacy official yet. And third, Perry’s supporters tried to get him included in the Ames poll, but were reportedly turned down by the Iowa GOP.

Robinson’s gratuitous shot at Giuliani (“We shouldn’t be surprised.  The candidate [Perry] endorsed for president in 2008, Rudy Giuliani, never could figure out Iowa either.”), is also a total non sequitur. There’s someone else who has trouble letting go of Perry’s Giuliani endorsement, and coincidentally, it’s the same person who won the last Iowa caucus and still has a lot of clout in the state.

Is there a potential drawback in Perry bigfooting the Iowa poll? Yes – the Des Moines Register warned it could irritate certain circles in the state GOP. But it sounds more likely an Ames-day announcement would have negative long-term consequences for Iowa than for Perry’s own campaign. If his announcement makes the straw poll look insignificant or meaningless, it could change the way future GOP candidates view the state. Which may explain why some Iowa Republicans are on edge.


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