Politics & Policy

Can Cain’s Rhetoric Boost Him at Ames?

At the Western Conservative Summit in Denver last weekend, Herman Cain delivered such a powerful speech that conference attendees who had already voted in the event’s straw poll begged conference organizers to allow them to switch their vote to Cain. He won decidely, and if organizers had permitted vote switches, he would have won by even more than his 35-percentage-point margin over the next biggest vote-getter, Rick Perry.

Could such a phenomenon happen at Ames? That’s what I look at in my homepage piece today:

For Cain, this straw-poll win was just another to add to his impressive record. Starting with his surprise win over Sarah Palin in RedState.com’s presidential-primary bracket, the Godfather’s Pizza mogul has proven to be the king of winning the straw-poll votes of conservative activists. In February, he won among attendees at the Tea Party Patriots’ conference in Arizona. (Ron Paul won among online voters.) In March, Cain triumphed at Republican congressman Steve King’s Conservative Principles Conference held in Iowa, and in July, he won at the Conservative Leadership Conference in Nevada. Along the way, Cain has racked up victories at straw polls held at state and local Republican gatherings in Wisconsin, Hawaii, Washington, and Georgia. It’s no wonder that the Cain campaign needs a spreadsheet to organize Cain’s straw-poll victories. …


Cain will face some stiff competition there [Ames]. He has visited Iowa 25 times in the past year, but many of the other candidates have spent extensive time in the state as well. Both the Pawlenty and Santorum campaigns set aside the bulk of the month before Ames for the candidate to campaign in Iowa. The Pawlenty, Bachmann, and Paul campaigns are running TV and/or radio ads.

The Cain campaign is open about its more minimal approach towards Ames. “We’re not going to spend $1.2 million, as Governor Pawlenty has done. We don’t think it takes that,” Carmichael says. (Recent reports have indicated the Pawlenty campaign is spending about $1 million, although exact numbers have not been released by the campaign.) Cain said yesterday, according to Radio Iowa, that he “need[s] to finish in the top three.”

Full piece here.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...


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