King acknowledges his Internet presence, commenting that he tends to see three controversial quotes ascribed to him. “Two of the three are dishonest, and that other one is warped,” he remarks, refusing to identify the quotes. “So they have to make it up now.”
One quote that stirred controversy this summer — and that King’s staff said was taken out of context — had King saying to SiouxLand News, “Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.” The “subject matter” was a 12-year-old being pregnant as a result of statutory rape or incest. King has also taken heat for making this analogy about prospective immigrants: “You get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. Well, we’ve got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet. We’ve got the vigor from the planet to come to America.”
“You’ve got a bunch of dishonest people with millions of dollars,” King continues, alluding to the liberal blogosphere, “and I don’t know why they have any credibility. We should really look at them and push their input off the scene, since it’s not valid.” Does he ask for corrections? “Not in every case. If it’s a publication that has some credibility, like AP, we will, but if it’s the left-wing organizations, they exist to perpetuate those things, and so you’re not going to get journalism or cooperation from those places.”
Robinson agrees that it’s plausible King could win a statewide contest — and that he’s a more formidable opponent than his detractors acknowledge.
“This constant argument that King is unable to win a statewide contest is incorrect,” Robinson says. “The Democrats’ top candidate is [Iowa congressman] Bruce Braley. He’s kind of the liberal version of King in a way. And so they’re very similar.”
“The race would be more polarized if King was in it,” Robinson acknowledges, “but also you would spur a ton of activist activity if he was the nominee. . . . The Des Moines Register says Iowans don’t like him; they’ve never really witnessed King doing the town-square circuit. He’s a very good politician and very reasonable, and some of his stuff gets overhyped and that’s why there’s a perception of him that he is unable to win in Eastern Iowa,” which is more independent.
King simply points to his track record when talking about why he’d be a formidable Republican candidate.
“I’ve been elected in 53 of the 99 counties,” King remarks, referring to the two different congressional districts he’s won, “and we’ve won with significant majorities along the way.”
— Katrina Trinko is an NRO reporter.