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Romney After Straw Poll

Fox News Sunday

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace, reporting from Iowa on the results of the Republican straw poll, next on "Fox News Sunday."

This weekend, all eyes were on the American heartland and the race for president. We'll talk with the man who won the Iowa straw poll about what this does for his campaign and what he would do as president, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.

Plus, from the campaign trail, we'll examine where both the Republican and Democratic races stand now with our Sunday Iowa panel -- Carl Cameron, Michael Barone and Mike Glover.

And our Power Player of the Week, Ann Romney, on her campaign to become first lady, all right now on "Fox News Sunday."

And good morning from Des Moines, Iowa. Our home base today is the state historical museum, and up the hill you can see the golden dome of the Iowa state capitol.

Well, last night some 35 miles north of here in Ames, Iowa, the first significant votes of the pre-season were cast in the state's non-binding Republican straw poll, and here are the results.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won with more than 4,500 votes, or 32 percent of the total. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was a surprise second with more than 2,500 votes, or 18 percent. And Kansas senator Sam Brownback finished third with 2,100 votes, or 15 percent.

So what does it all mean? For that we turn to Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron, also here in Des Moines.

Carl?

CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS: Thanks, Chris.

Well, Governor Romney worked it hard and probably spent $1 million or $2 million more than any of his other rivals who competed in it. Of course, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain were on the ballot but they did not compete.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAMERON: There was never really any doubt that Romney would win. He used all the hype to cast himself as the GOP change agent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today the people of this great state sent a message to America, and that is that change begins in Iowa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON: Fourteen thousand, three hundred and two unofficial ballots were ultimately cast, a lower turnout than straw polls past, but still more than 10 percent of the expected turnout at the real caucus next year.

Candidates rocked them, bussed them, dunked them and fed them for their support. After Romney, with nearly one-third of the vote, second went to Mike Huckabee with 18.1 percent, third to Sam Brownback at 15.3 percent.

Huckabee cast himself as the straw poll's dark horse surprise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, you've got to admit for what we had to work with and resources we had, for us to surge, coming in second is the victory. It is the story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON: The no-shows were punished in Ames. Rudy Giuliani came in eighth, beaten by prospective candidate Fred Thompson, who was seventh. John McCain was tenth, with less than 1 percent.

Tommy Thompson, who arrived by Harley, said before the straw poll that if he didn't take first or second, he'd drop out. He came in sixth, behind Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMERON: Despite the Ames straw poll, the GOP nominating race remains wide open. Mitt Romney is now arguably the frontrunner in the early test states, but Rudy Giuliani is running a national campaign and leads the polls across the country.

Of course, at that point, the question becomes what happens to Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. Both of them visit Iowa this week.

Chris?

WALLACE: Carl, thanks for that.

And joining us now, the winner of the Iowa straw poll, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Welcome back to "Fox News Sunday," Governor, and congratulations on yesterday.

M. ROMNEY: Well, thank you, Chris. And it's already warm here in Des Moines.

WALLACE: It sure is. What do you see as the significance of your victory yesterday?

M. ROMNEY: Well, it's a big start getting ready for the caucuses. You want to do well in the straw poll so that you can build the organization, get your fundraising machine under way, make sure that your message connects with the people of Iowa, because if you can do well in the straw poll, it gives you the real boost that you need to go on to the caucuses.

And of course, if you do well in the caucuses, that helps in New Hampshire and traditionally gets you going in a national campaign.

WALLACE: Now, as you well know, there's an expectations game. It's not just whether you win but how big a win you have. You got 4,500 votes.

By way of comparison, eight years ago when he was first running, George W. Bush got 7,400 votes, and David Yepsen, the political columnist of the Des Moines Register, kind of a guru here, called your victory, quote, "a bit hollow."

M. ROMNEY: Well, I'm very pleased to win, let me tell you. I got a higher percentage even than the president got eight years ago. And you know, it was a warm day, and actually it was difficult turning people out.

And we asked them, "Come on. Come on into the Ames straw poll." And they said, "Look, everyone says you're going to win. It's an easy win. You're way ahead."

And we've turned our people out. We hoped to get out about 4,000 to 5,000. We did. They came. They voted. I won. Can't do better than that. That's exactly what I was hoping for.

And frankly, the key for me is building that organizational base that propels me for the caucuses.

WALLACE: Let me ask you, though, because it is interesting that eight years ago, George Bush -- when he was running, 23,000 Iowans came and voted at the Ames straw poll.

This year, yesterday, 14,000 voted. And some people are reading that as an indication that Republicans here in Iowa and, according to the polls, across the country are a bit dispirited.

M. ROMNEY: You know, I don't think that's the case, but you know, I'll let the gurus do their work. I think instead people thought that this was a pretty forgone conclusion.

I also think that you had a couple of folks not participating in the race, and so they didn't bring out the numbers they would have normally brought out.

But we've also had a Republican lead over the last several years. When George Bush ran, we'd had eight years of Bill Clinton, and I think there was a lot of anger in the Republican Party, and I don't think that level of anger is there. WALLACE: Let's talk a little bit about the rules of the straw poll, because it isn't just you come and you vote. In fact, you need to buy a $35 ticket.

Somebody described to me a loser as somebody who actually pays for his own ticket, because most of the time campaigns like yours and your competitors pay the $35.

Some creative accounting, I'm sure, from some of your rivals when they added up how much you'd spent on tickets, and buses, and organization, and a $2 million ad campaign -- they say you paid about $800 per vote.

M. ROMNEY: Well, they're missing one key thing, and that is the advertising was not for the straw poll. People don't come to a straw poll based on ads.

The advertising is helping build the base that I need as somebody that's not terribly well known in Iowa to get better known, to have a message that connects with people and to get ready for the caucuses. It's the caucus that you really aim for.

And what I'm pleased about is that the message I came to Iowa with -- and that is that I could strengthen America, get the job done to strengthen our military, to strengthen our economy with better good jobs, and to strengthen America's families -- that that message connected with the voters here in Iowa.

And I did it on the air. I did it at the grassroots level. I did over 300 events in Iowa over this last year. And a campaign, to be successful, has to have the resources, the ground team and the message, and we put that together.

WALLACE: You pointed out the fact that there were some people who weren't here. Do you think your victory is at all diminished by the fact that Giuliani and McCain and Fred Thompson didn't come to play yesterday?

M. ROMNEY: I think it's actually enhanced. I think if they thought they could have won, they'd have been here. The reason they weren't here wasn't an indication of their strength in Iowa.

And so I think what you're seeing is that they looked at the field and said, "Gosh, Mitt Romney's message and his resources and his ground team is so strong, we can't compete there."

And if you can't compete in the heartland, if you can't compete in Iowa in August, how are you going to compete in January when the caucuses are held? And then how are you going to compete in November of '08?

Because fundamentally, you've got to win Iowa if you want to win the presidency. This is a purple state.

WALLACE: Well, so let me ask you about where this puts you in the race for the GOP nomination. With your victory in the Ames straw poll yesterday, are you now the frontrunner for the Republican nomination?

M. ROMNEY: Oh, wouldn't that be nice? I've got a long way to go to become a frontrunner. Hopefully, I'll become a frontrunner or the frontrunner in about December or January, and I've got a long way to go. I'm not terribly well known across the nation.

But what's encouraging and pleasing to me is that the state or states where I've really spent my time, the first two -- New Hampshire and Iowa -- I'm doing well.

And the tests that have been had across the country, whether that was the Memphis straw poll, or the South Carolina county straw polls, or now here the Ames straw poll -- I've won each of them.

So I'm pleased that the message is connecting, that all of the barbs that get thrown by my competitors are being dismissed. People are getting to know my family and me and saying, "Look, this is a guy who could lead our party." I sure hope so.

WALLACE: I'm going to get to some of those barbs in a moment, but let's talk about strategy, because you clearly -- you're not as well known, I think you'd agree, as Fred Thompson or John McCain or Rudy Giuliani -- not as well known nationally.

You're counting on victories in the early states, in Iowa, in New Hampshire, to kind of springboard you so that when you get to the big states later in January and early February, you're on even or even have an advantage over them.

Would the compression that we saw this week, with states moving up and Iowa and South Carolina and New Hampshire all getting crunched, is that going to make it more difficult for your strategy?

In a sense, are you going to have less of a time for your momentum to play out?

M. ROMNEY: You know, it could be read both ways. And that may well be the case. There are some who have looked at it, like the Wall Street Journal, and say it makes Iowa and New Hampshire even more important, because if you do well in those first couple of states, get the boost from those first states, there's very little time for one's opponents to try and minimize that big win and then go on and rebuild for South Carolina or Michigan or Florida.

So I don't know how it's going to work out. But I can tell you that so far, in the tests that have been given to us, we've come out on top. And I plan on having the resources, the message and the ground team -- the grassroots effort that has proven to be successful to date.

WALLACE: Well, let's talk a little bit about not all of that but also ideas. You're running as the true conservative of the race, running to the right of Rudy Giuliani, but you're going to get a big factor in this race pretty soon.

It looks like Fred Thompson finally, after all the build-up, is going to get in right after Labor Day. Doesn't he have a longer and less complicated record as a conservative than you do?

M. ROMNEY: You know, I have a record as a governor. And talk is cheap, but action speaks very loud. And I was a governor for four years. And on the issues people care about, they can see what I did as governor.

And I'm happy to put my record up against anybody that's running for president. I really think that the United States of America is the largest enterprise in the world, needs to have somebody who's actually led something, managed something, knows how to make things happen. And I've got a record of doing that.

So we'll talk about issues, what we believe, but also what we've done. And my record is clear in that regard. I know people will try and twist and turn, but I'll be able to talk about what I've done when other people are just talking about what they'd like to do.

WALLACE: OK. Let's talk about twists and turns, because this question of flip-flops, real or alleged, continues to dog your campaign, and I want to ask you about it.

In the debate last week, you were asked what is the defining mistake in your life, and here's what you said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. ROMNEY: My greatest mistake was when I first ran for office being deeply opposed to abortion but saying I'd support the current law, which was pro-choice and effectively a pro-choice position. That was just wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Governor, back then you said a lot more than just you support the current law. We took a look at what you said when you were running for the Senate in 1994 and also running for governor in 2002. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. ROMNEY: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years that we should sustain and support it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. ROMNEY: I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard. I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts's pro-choice laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: For eight years -- eight years -- you said that you would protect and respect a woman's right to choose.

M. ROMNEY: Yes. Yeah, that's right. And then when I became governor -- I don't know what's so unusual about this, but when I became governor and when legislation was brought to my desk that dealt with life, and I sat down and I said, "Am I going to sign this? Because I personally oppose abortion. Am I going to sign this?"

And I brought in theologians. I brought in scientists, took it apart -- this related to embryonic cloning. And I said, "I simply have to come down on the side of life," and wrote an op-ed piece in the Boston Globe and said, "Look, here is why I am pro-life."

And I laid out in my view that a civilized society must respect the sanctity of life. And you know what? I'm following in some pretty good footsteps.

It's exactly what Ronald Reagan did. As governor, he was adamantly pro-choice. He became pro-life as he experienced life.

And the same thing happened with Henry Hyde and George Herbert Walker Bush. And so if there's some people who can't get over the fact that I've become pro-life, that's fine.

But I'm not going to apologize for the fact that I am pro-life and that I was wrong before, in my view, and that I've taken the right course.

WALLACE: But let me ask you, is it fair to say that you would not be running for president if you had not held elective office as governor of Massachusetts?

M. ROMNEY: Well, I would think that's the case.

WALLACE: Fair to say that you would not have been elected governor of Massachusetts if you had been staunchly pro-life back in 2002?

M. ROMNEY: You can't predict that. How in the world can I predict how I would have...

WALLACE: Do you really think you would have had a chance in the state of Massachusetts?

M. ROMNEY: ... if I had won in Massachusetts? And by the way, the major organizations in Massachusetts, like NARAL, wrote articles saying I was dangerous, don't support me.

I never called myself pro-choice. I never allowed myself to use the word pro-choice because I didn't feel I was pro-choice. I would protect the law, I said, as it was, but I wasn't pro-choice, and so...

WALLACE: But do you think that you -- let me just ask, if I may, sir...

M. ROMNEY: Well, let me also just point out -- therefore, they were adamantly opposed to my campaign, said I was not reliable. Ted Kennedy, as you may recall, said he was multiple choice. So there was a concern there, and I took a campaign which was based on conservative principles. I said I was in favor of traditional marriage. I was opposed to same-sex marriage. I wanted to hold our taxes down.

And the truth is as a governor, I faced the issue of life and came out on the side of life on every single occasion that a bill was brought before me.

WALLACE: So do you see your victory yesterday as, in a sense, vindication that voters have heard all of this, have seen all the old clips, and basically don't care about the fact that you have had an evolving position over the years on the question of abortion as well as gay rights and a number of other issues?

M. ROMNEY: Well, I'm not going to so easily go along with your idea about evolving on other issues, but I changed my position on abortion. I was effectively pro-choice, given the statements I had made, but I am pro- life. I'm proud of that.

And I frankly think that the people whose campaigns were entirely focused on trying to bring me down and attack me -- those campaigns weren't successful.

So I'm not going to overstate the results of yesterday. Obviously, they're going to continue to come at me with hammer and tong, but I believe people want to look beyond the attacks and understand what is it that a person stands for.

And I think with 300 events across Iowa and a message that was clear as a bell, people coming out in large numbers on a hot day sent a pretty strong message.

WALLACE: Governor, we've got to take a quick break here, but when we come back, we will talk about how President Romney would differ from President Bush.

And we'll return from our "Fox News Sunday" headquarters across from the state capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, right after this message.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: And we're back now at the Iowa State Historical Museum here in Des Moines, Iowa with our special guest, Governor Mitt Romney.

Governor, next month General Petraeus will be making a progress report to Congress on the state of affairs and the state of the surge in Iraq. It seems almost certain to be a mixed picture with some military progress and obviously a political stalemate in Baghdad.

You say that you support the surge, quote, "at this point." How would President Romney decide how long you would continue to keep this enhanced number of U.S. soldiers in Iraq?

M. ROMNEY: Well, obviously, a hypothetical with all the potential permutations of what might develop is kind of hard to fashion, but if we're making progress that suggests there's a reasonable probability of success in stabilizing Iraq, that's a course I'm going to follow.

I get a chance to speak almost every week to people who've been there, who are non-partisan, and the response I'm hearing is very much like what we heard from Brookings and CSIS, which is that we seem to be making some progress there, albeit slow.

That's encouraging to me, because the consequence of withdrawing with a massive civil war breaking out and a regional conflict ensuing could have consequences for our nation and the world that are really quite frightening and perhaps cause us to come back again.

So a course of stability would be very, very encouraging, and I think there's some signs -- it's not definitive at this point -- some signs that that's what's happening.

WALLACE: You took a shot, I think it's fair to say, at Senator Obama last week when he said that if we had actionable intelligence on high-level terrorist targets in Pakistan and President Musharraf wouldn't act, that we will. You said that he had gone from being Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in a week.

But let me ask you, if you had intelligence about terrorists in a foreign country and that country's leaders either wouldn't or couldn't act, what would you do?

M. ROMNEY: Well, you know, when you're running for president of the United States, you have to think about the question and the answer, but you also have to think about the implications of what you're saying around the world.

And Pakistan is a tinderbox. And of course, America keeps its options open to do what we think is in our best interest. But in a place like Pakistan, you make sure that you don't say things that could be misinterpreted and misused. And that was what his error was.

Of course, if we receive actionable intelligence about Osama bin Laden, we will take appropriate action, but we don't describe exactly what that might mean.

We have an ally there, Musharraf. We don't want in any way to try and weaken him in a very difficult situation, and that was...

WALLACE: But not talking about Pakistan, would you agree...

M. ROMNEY: ... and that was his mistake.

WALLACE: ... that you would take unilateral action if necessary to take out Al Qaida?

M. ROMNEY: What I'm saying is that we will do what's in our best interest. We'll take action as necessary to get Osama bin Laden or to take out Al Qaida as we can.

But we also have to be careful in our choice of words not to give aid to people who would use these words against us, and that's where Barack Obama went awry, is that he said things that you simply don't say on the international stage without recognizing that there's going to be repercussions among our friends.

We work with our friends. We also protect our interests.

WALLACE: I watched you give your speech in Ames yesterday in which you said that it's time for things to change in Washington.

M. ROMNEY: Yeah.

WALLACE: You have also said that you are not a carbon copy of President Bush, that you would do things differently.

In terms of management and priorities, how would you run a different administration from George W. Bush?

M. ROMNEY: Well, we're different people, of course, and I respect him enormously for what he's accomplished and what he will yet accomplish. But there are some things I'd do differently, I'm sure.

I want to bring in a real strong team of people who have very different backgrounds, a lot from the private sector, and I want to take on a whole series of efforts.

One is not just to win in Iraq and in Afghanistan, win the peace there, but I'd like to take on an effort globally to defeat jihad which is military in scope but also non-military, that combines our non-military resources with those of other nations to help move the word of Islam toward modernity and help the Muslims themselves reject the extreme.

I also want to get health care for our citizens, not a government takeover, socialized medicine plan. I want health care for our citizens.

I want to let middle-income Americans save their money tax-free so we can invest in a growth economy.

I want to protect good jobs here. We've got to become more competitive with Asia. China and India are coming.

WALLACE: Can I pick up -- I want to pick up...

M. ROMNEY: Yeah, sure.

WALLACE: ... on that about the economy, because as a successful business man, you have said one of your top priorities is to strengthen the American economy.

I want to take a look at your record of performance as governor of Massachusetts. Here it is. Your state ranked third-lowest in creating new jobs during your term. It would have ranked second from the bottom except for Louisiana and Hurricane Katrina.

Manufacturing employment dropped 14 percent. That was the third- worst record in the country. And there was a net migration of 222,000 people from Massachusetts, a net migration. That was the third- highest population loss in the country during those years.

Governor, researchers at Northeastern University looked at the economic performance of Massachusetts during the Romney years and said it was one of the worst in the country.

M. ROMNEY: Well, I've got very different statistics than you do and than they do. First of all, there were no censuses taken during that time period, and so any numbers on population are just estimates by various folks.

And secondly, when I came in to Massachusetts, we were losing jobs every single month. Our budget was out of balance by some $3 billion. It took about a year, year and a half. We turned that around, started adding jobs every single month, added 53,000 jobs in the last couple of years that I was there since the downturn.

And a lot of the jobs that we fought for, like bringing in the largest single biotech manufacturing facility in the country, Bristol- Myers Squibb -- we won that. It's not going to be built for another couple of years. A lot of our successes are coming down the road.

And I'll tell you, there's no question but that having a person who understood business and built a pipeline of new businesses made a difference for Massachusetts.

I got there. I think there were six companies in the pipeline that were thinking about coming to Massachusetts. When I left, as I recall, it was 238. We fought hard. We're rebuilding the state. You're going to see the product of that generate great results for years to come.

WALLACE: Finally, Governor, I want to ask you about two semi- personal controversies which might seem a little bit smaller but that people take seriously and I want to ask you to clear the record on.

One of them is the big dog controversy. Back in 1983, you took your Irish setter, Seamus, on a 12-hour road trip tied to the roof of your car...

M. ROMNEY: No, no, no, no, not quite like that.

WALLACE: Let me finish. Let me finish -- in a kennel, inside a kennel.

M. ROMNEY: Yes, yes.

WALLACE: OK. I have a yellow lab named Winston. I would no sooner put him in a kennel on the roof of my car than I would one of my children.

Question: What were you thinking?

M. ROMNEY: This is a completely airtight kennel and mounted on the top of our car. He climbed up there regularly, enjoyed himself. He was in a kennel at home a great deal of time as well.

We loved the dog. It was where he was comfortable. And we had five kids inside the car. My guess is he liked it a lot better in his kennel than he would have liked it inside. WALLACE: Well, I've got to tell you, Massachusetts law and dog lovers -- and I'm one of them -- take this seriously. Massachusetts law prohibits carrying an animal on top of a car, even in a kennel, as cruel and inhuman. Do you really think you did nothing wrong?

M. ROMNEY: I wasn't familiar with that in terms of Massachusetts law. Love my dog. We've had a lot of dogs over the years. Love them. Seamus, as his name is, climbed up there all by himself, enjoyed his ride, and whether you're in the back of a pickup truck or in the rooftop carrier, it was a good ride.

And all I can tell you is I didn't know that there was any problem with that in terms of the law. And he was a good friend of the family. We love our pets.

WALLACE: Finally, you caused a bit of a stir this week when someone at one of the wonderful town meetings that they have here -- and people ask you all kinds of questions -- asked you whether or not your sons had served in the Army and, in fact, were serving in the military in Iraq, and you answered that they had not, "One of the ways that my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president."

Can you understand why that answer has upset some people?

M. ROMNEY: Oh, I misspoke there. I didn't mean in any way to compare service in the country with my boys in any way. Service in this country is an extraordinary sacrifice being made by individuals and their families.

I've been calling for a surge of support, as you know, by the American citizens. There's no comparison. I'm very pleased and proud of my boys and the help they're doing for their dad, but it's not service to the country. It's service for me. And there's just no comparison there.

WALLACE: We've got to leave it there. We want to thank you so much for coming and joining us today. Congratulations again on your victory, and safe travels on the campaign trail, sir.

M. ROMNEY: Thanks so much.

WALLACE: Thank you for joining us.

M. ROMNEY: Thanks, Chris.

WALLACE: Thank you.

And we should note that you will want to stick around for the very end of the show. Our Power Player of the Week is a contender for first lady, who I think it's fair to say is a pretty big supporter of Mitt Romney.

So what happens next in the Republican race for president? We'll find out from our Sunday panel here in Des Moines, Iowa when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)










WALLACE: We're back reporting from Des Moines, Iowa, and it's time now for our special Sunday Iowa panel -- Michael Barone of U.S. News & World Report, Carl Cameron of Fox News, and Mike Glover of the Associated Press.

And, gentlemen, welcome to our Fox News headquarters on the balcony, and I must say it's a kind of hot Sunday morning here in Des Moines, overlooking the state capitol up the hill here.

We all play this sill expectations game. It's not just enough that you win, it's how much you win by.

Carl, let me start with you because you're a master at this silly game. Was Mitt Romney's victory big enough?

CAMERON: Probably for the first few days. The truth of the matter is his rivals are going to come out here, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani, in the next couple of days to try to knock it down.

He'll get a little bit of a bump. We saw that in the polls in the last couple of weeks. He was already rising because of the absenteeism that was going to affect the Ames straw poll.

So it solidifies his claim on Iowa frontrunner status, for sure.

WALLACE: Mike, as our Iowa resident expert, what do you make of his performance and the performance of the other candidates?

MIKE GLOVER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I think Carl's right. I think he did what he had to do. He invested far more than any of his rivals in the straw poll. And he needed to win. He needed to win substantially, and he did.

And for the moment, I think the political community is giving him his due for the day. He needed to win. He won.

WALLACE: And let me ask you, Michael, because I think a lot of people are also making a great deal of the fact that Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, came up here and finished second.

MICHAEL BARONE, U.S NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Well, Mike Huckabee surprised people. He spent less time and money...

WALLACE: And a lot less money.

BARONE: ... on organization than Sam Brownback did, but I think you have to keep this in perspective, Chris. I mean, he got 832 fewer votes than the third-place finisher in the 1999 caucuses here. This was Elizabeth Dole, who then dropped out of the race.

I think the big story here is the decline in turnout, down 40 percent from the corresponding contest in 1999.

WALLACE: Yeah, let me ask you about that, Mike, because 23,000 Iowans came to the Ames straw poll in 1999 when George W. Bush was running for president the first time. Fourteen thousand turned out yesterday. What do you make of that?

GLOVER: It was a different era. If you think about 1999 -- and I think Governor Romney mentioned this in the first segment, and I think he's got a point.

In 1999, you were coming up to the end of eight years of Bill Clinton's presidency, a uniting factor within the Republican Party. They were united in hating him, united in trying to find somebody to replace him.

At that point, in August of 1999, George W. Bush was the candidate. So there was a lot of energy, enthusiasm and excitement behind Republican politics that year.

You don't sense that this year. There was a poll I saw last week that said something like 19 percent of Republicans are very satisfied with their candidates this time around. There's an angst in the Republican Party.

WALLACE: Well, that's what I want to get to. It's not just the question that they're the ins, not the outs, this time, Carl.

There does seem to be -- and as Mike said, in the polls -- a lack of satisfaction with this field. Was that reflected in the relatively low turnout in Ames yesterday?

CAMERON: Sure. The Republican campaign staff, the voters who go to these events -- they acknowledge that the environment is not exactly positive for a Republican candidacy right now. And there's a sense that Democrats may have a bit of an advantage.

But it's worth noting that for all the criticism of the Ames straw poll, the caucus itself in Iowa has -- its record turnout was only 105,000 Republicans for the caucus that will take place in this coming January.

To have 14,000 people show up at Ames is more than 10 percent of that vote. So any candidate who would pass up an opportunity to address a captive audience like that, as Thompson, Giuliani and McCain did, is making what many think is a calculated misjudgment.

Fourteen thousand people turning up anywhere in the middle of August, particularly when there was a state fair down the road a short distance, is a tremendous expression of support and enthusiasm, albeit smaller than perhaps the years past.

WALLACE: And we should add that the state fair down the way here in Des Moines was offering workshops on sticks, so that was quite an attraction to a lot of us.

Michael, let's take a look at the big picture beyond Ames. What do the events of yesterday do -- what do they do both for the people who are running in Ames and for those three big guys out there, the shadowy presences of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson, who didn't play yesterday?

BARONE: Well, obviously, it's a plus for Mitt Romney. He's done well here in the first-in-the-nation state.

I think Giuliani, Thompson, remain very much serious and possible factors. Mike Huckabee got a boost.

I think one of the interesting things -- if you'd listened to the speeches at the straw poll yesterday, you would have supposed that the Democratic Party was the party in power.

Mitt Romney said this is a vote for change and change begins in Iowa. You heard George W. Bush referred to, I think, as the president rather than George W. Bush. This was very far from the atmosphere of the previous Republican conventions.

This is a party whose partisans are afraid they're going to lose, who are worried about it, and who are not entirely happy with this administration's record, particularly on immigration and illegal immigration and on spending.

WALLACE: Carl, let's talk about the other big news, political news, this week, and that is the question of the schedule for 2008.

South Carolina has now moved up to January 19th. There's talk that New Hampshire is clearly going to move ahead of that, and Iowa still ahead of that but still squeeze into 2008.

As I brought up with Governor Romney, his strategy is that he's going to win in Iowa, he's going to win in New Hampshire, and he's going to get what George H.W. Bush used to call the big mow, and that's going to kind of slingshot him past the better-known candidates when they get to the big states.

Does the compression of the schedule help or hurt that strategy?

CAMERON: It probably hurts the frontrunners with big money, and yet there's no strategy for winning better than winning. And for those candidates who plan to do well but not win in Iowa and New Hampshire, they put themselves at an obvious disadvantage.

Romney has a tremendous challenge. Should he do well in Iowa and New Hampshire and then get ready for South Carolina and Florida, the deck is stacked by the candidates who have the national organization.

There is something akin to what George W. Bush did in 2000 happening with Rudy Giuliani. He's waiting for the big crush of big states. Giuliani has a very, very large advantage in places like California and Florida and New York.

Mitt Romney hopes to build for it. The front-loading of this, whether we see a caucus and a primary in the first week of January, which is now entirely possible, doesn't necessarily undermine Mitt Romney's strategy of winning to win, but it could create some problems for Rudy Giuliani if all of the attention goes to his rivals and they suddenly find themselves better prepared to go ahead.

WALLACE: I want to bring you in on this, Mike Glover. Do you think the compression of the schedule where we could have three or four contests in the first two weeks in January, when people are still paying attention to bowl games -- does that help or hurt the Romney strategy of winning early and getting momentum?

GLOVER: I don't think it hurts it, because I think people over the four-year period forget about the megaphone effect of these early states -- the huge amount of free media you get from a win in Iowa, a win in New Hampshire, the speed with which momentum develops.

Over a three-week period, if you recall, in 2004, over about three weeks, we all knew who the nominee was going to be and probably who the running mate was going to be. That could happen this time.

I think there's an old theory being run by Mitt Romney -- let's do the Iowa and New Hampshire thing -- and a new theory being run by Rudy Giuliani, which is let's survive the first states, live to fight again in the big states.

That's never been done successfully. We'll see if that plays out.

WALLACE: And I want to ask Michael Barone, as our historian analyst on this subject -- we've got about a minute left in this segment -- which strategy do you like more, the old strategy or the new strategy?

BARONE: Well, the fact is we haven't had a statistically significant number of presidential contests to draw statistical conclusions from it.

A lot of things that have never happened before in politics sometimes happen, and I think it's very much an open question.

I think the Democratic voters have been pretty solid in their preferences for the primaries. They haven't changed much. Republican voters have been very fluid and are looking around.

So I think it's really impossible to predict right now. We've seen a good victory by Mitt Romney. We've seen Mike Huckabee with his eloquence come into play. But there's a lot more deliberation to be done.

WALLACE: A definite maybe. We've got to take a break here, panel. But coming up, a testy week for the Democrats who want to be president. Did anyone move up on the frontrunner, Hillary Clinton? Back with some answers from our panel in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: On this day in 1981, IBM announced the completion of its first personal computer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Here it is, the IBM personal computer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: The P.C. sold for over $1,500 and sparked a revolution in home computing.

Stay tuned for more from our panel and our Power Player of the Week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, D-N.Y.: I have stood up against the right-wing machine and I've come out stronger, so if you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I'm your girl.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: That was Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton talking tough at a debate this week.

And we're back now in Des Moines, Iowa, at the State Historical Museum with our special Iowa panel -- Michael Barone, Carl Cameron and Mike Glover.

And yes, I have finally, after almost an hour out here, given into the heat. But you guys are hanging in there, so my admiration.

Let's talk about Hillary Clinton. I'm not sure, Carl, that she would have said "I'm your girl" at the start of the campaign with all the questions about a woman president. It seems to me to show an increasing confidence.

CAMERON: There is a level of confidence and her charm offensive that has not gotten a great deal of attention. For months, Hillary Clinton has gone out of her way to be more likable.

The campaign and she know full well that if there is a liability and a problem in her candidacy, it's that so many people won't think about the possibility of voting for her.

Well, we've seen stories about her showing a little bit of cleavage on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

WALLACE: Oh, boy.

CAMERON: We've seen stories about how she's brightening up the pastel colors and trying to put a little bit more of a smile on.

That's clearly working, and part of it is pointing out that both Barack Obama and John Edwards, who had set out -- Edwards' campaign in 2004 and Obama's this time around -- as unifying Democrats who would be positive, optimistic and idealists are now attacking her regularly.

WALLACE: Michael, would you agree that the Clinton juggernaut is rolling right along?

BARONE: Well, I think we...

WALLACE: And you don't have to talk about cleavage. You have permission to...

BARONE: No, I think I won't touch on that subject. But in any case, the -- no, fact is that Hillary Clinton has shown a lot of discipline, and she's also shown herself able to take advantage of opportunities.

In debates when Barack Obama has made some comments about talking to foreign leaders and so forth, she was right in there saying that, look, she wasn't necessarily going to talk to these people if it wasn't to the advantage of the United States.

So I think she's well prepared. As Carl says, she's trying a certain amount of charm. She can say, "I'm your girl." Most of the rest of us would not want to describe her as a girl, unquote.

And if anything, she's gaining in the polls. Democratic primary voters have not moved around very much in the polls. They seem to have had one view, but if they've moved anywhere in the past two weeks, it's been a little bit toward Hillary Clinton, not away from the frontrunner.

WALLACE: Let's bring Mike in here again to give us your special view being here in Iowa. Clearly, the person who's counting most on an Iowa victory among the Democrats would seem to be John Edwards.

GLOVER: Sure.

WALLACE: He's almost got to win here. What's your sense of how he's doing and how Clinton and Obama are doing? If they beat him here, he may be out of it.

GLOVER: Yeah. He's got a very tough row to go here. He's almost got to win in Iowa. He's here a lot. He's starting a bus swing on Monday that's going to have him all over the state. He's doing an intense grassroots thing. So he's betting the farm on Iowa.

If either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama beats him here, he has some deep trouble. And I think it's interesting, talking about Hillary Clinton and trying to be a bit more human. Well, remember, Iowa's caucuses are very grassroots, very personal, a very one-on-one type of campaign. People expect to see their candidates in their living rooms. People expect to meet them. People expect to talk to them. People expect to interchange with them.

And in a very real sense, people have to come to like the candidate they eventually end up backing, and that's why I think it's very important for her to establish herself as somebody who...

WALLACE: How would you say that the three candidates are doing here in Iowa at this point?

GLOVER: I think they're all doing very well. Hillary Clinton is establishing herself slowly as that kind of candidate that can make her way through a living room.

Barack Obama -- well, it still remains to be seen if he can get past the star power and get into the one-on-one type of campaigning.

John Edwards has established that one-on-one personal relationship with a lot of Iowa Democrats. We'll see if that can survive the worries about his electability.

WALLACE: Let me turn, Carl, to Senator Obama, who, interestingly enough -- and we saw this with Mitt Romney again today -- continues to have some trouble with his comments about taking out Al Qaida in Pakistan with or without the cooperation or the agreement of Pakistani President Musharraf.

How do you think the whole question -- that, and also the issue of meetings, having these summits every 20 minutes with leaders -- how do you think that's working out for him?

CAMERON: There are two narratives that each -- there's one narrative that each candidate wants to put out. Hillary Clinton wants to make it clear that she is the candidate of experience and thoughtful, studied leadership.

And she took a hit last week when it was discovered that having criticized Barack Obama for taking nuclear weapons off the table in the hunt for Al Qaida, it turns out that she actually took nuclear weapons off the table as related to Iran.

So her sort of security Democrat image was tweaked with a little bit of a gotcha on her past record.

On the other hand, Barack Obama's narrative, his desire to characterize himself as the candidate who can unify the Democratic Party and end the politics of partisanship and personal destruction, has taken a number of hits because he's been quite aggressive in his attacks on Hillary Clinton, and his security portfolio has been undermined repeatedly by his own remarks.

WALLACE: Michael, I want to turn to another subject for Democrats, and that is the war in Iraq.

We had a very interesting scene this week where Senator Dick Durbin, very partisan, very antiwar and the number-two Democrat in the Senate, was in Iraq and said that the surge is, in fact, reducing violence on the ground in that country, but that he still wants to start pulling troops out because of the fact that he says that there's this political stalemate among Iraqi politicians in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, Congressman James Clyburn, one of the Democratic leaders in the House, said that if the surge starts working, quote, "It would be a problem for Democrats trying to withdraw U.S. forces."

Do you get a sense that Democrats are beginning to waver in terms of this issue of continuing to push come September for pulling U.S. troops out?

BARONE: Well, we had Harry Reid a couple of months ago saying the war in Iraq was lost, the military effort couldn't work.

And now we see this evidence not just from pro-Bush people but from Kenneth Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, Democrats who have criticized the Bush administration, saying we are making military progress.

When General Petraeus reports in mid-September, Congressional Democrats are going to be faced with the choice if he reports serious military progress, do you want to retreat while we're making military progress. And it seems to me that they may not be able to summon up majorities for even symbolic resolutions at that time.

That's why Clyburn, who's the Democratic whip in charge of getting votes, said it would be a real big problem for us.

I think it's a real big problem for any American political party when it is seen to benefit politically from an American defeat.

Americans generally don't want to see our cause defeated, and I think Democrats can smell a problem coming up.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about that, Carl. Do you get the sense that there's any wavering? You sure don't see it on the campaign trail. They're still as antiwar as ever.

Do you get a sense that if Petraeus comes back and says, "Look, it's a mixed picture, some military progress, big political stalemate," that you could see some pulling back by some of the Democratic candidates?

CAMERON: Yeah. I think one of the reasons we heard so much of the antiwar rhetoric in the last week was because they had this big YearlyKos Convention where bloggers got together in Chicago and brought all the candidates together, and that compelled the Democrats to perhaps put a slightly sharper point on some of their antiwar rhetoric.

But all of the Democrats, with one or two notable exceptions, have at one way or another left the window open, saying that they will leave American troops there to help fight Al Qaida, that they will leave American troops in Iraq in order to deal with more training of Iraqi troops, that they will be involved in protecting the oil fields if necessary, and essentially left open the idea that we'll be there a lot longer than they're talking about.

WALLACE: We've got less than a minute left, Mike Glover. Your sense on the ground among Democratic activists here in Iowa -- any wavering at all, or are they still, "Let's get out?"

GLOVER: No, no wavering amongst Democratic activists. I think Carl makes a very good point. There's a big difference between Democratic politicians who are worried about the upcoming primary season and Democratic politicians who are worried about the general election.

The base of the Democratic party is very antiwar.

WALLACE: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. We want to thank you all so much for helping us out on the road in Iowa this week.

And up next, a very special Power Player of the Week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)










WALLACE: Sometimes in the early campaigning, the spouses seem to get as much attention as the candidates.

With that in mind, we close out this special Iowa-based edition of our show with a special Power Player of the Week, Ann Romney.

And, Mrs. Romney, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."

A. ROMNEY: Thank you.

WALLACE: Good to have you here.

A. ROMNEY: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: So we talked to your husband. Now let's get the word from the boss. What do you make of the victory in the Ames straw poll yesterday? And where do you think it puts the Romney campaign in terms of the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination?

A. ROMNEY: You know, we're energized. We're feeling good about it. We're loving the people of Iowa. This is a very good process. We've also enjoyed it, which has been wonderful.

WALLACE: The spouses -- and I don't have to tell you this -- the spouses of the candidates are getting a lot of attention this time.

Some reporters are calling Jeri Thompson, the wife of Senator Fred Thompson, a trophy wife. I don't know if you read it or not, but there was a mean, I would say scurrilous, article in Vanity Fair about Judith Giuliani.

Are you surprised that in 2008, people, or at least reporters -- and I don't know if I'd say people -- still expect political wives to act a certain way?

A. ROMNEY: You know, I can't try to even guess what's expected of anybody. All you know is you play the cards you're dealt, and you are who you are, and you just go forward.

WALLACE: Does it bother you, though, to see you this criticism and this pigeonholing?

A. ROMNEY: I don't think anyone enjoys that, and it's tough. This is a tough process. And you know, we all love our spouses and hope for their best, and we're all there helping them and supporting them, and all of a sudden you get attacked.

No, I don't think anyone enjoys that at all.

WALLACE: Well, let me try to make it a little tough for you. Back in February at a Republican event, you said you're often asked what sets your husband apart -- you know where I'm headed on this -- from all the other candidates in the 2008 field, and you said he's only had one wife.

And you said afterwards that you were joking about the whole Mormon polygamy image, but as voters make up their minds -- and that's what they really are doing, making up their minds about these various men and one woman as possible presidents -- do you think that's relevant, the issue as to whether or not a spouse has been married only one time?

A. ROMNEY: You know, voters have to make their own choice on that. I'm not going to be the one -- we are who we are, and we'll just go from there.

WALLACE: Do you think character is an issue in the campaign?

A. ROMNEY: You know, again, those -- people have to make up their own decisions on whether that's important to them or not.

And you know, part of the thing for me, too, being with Mitt -- I'm on the campaign trail with him. Part of it is to help round out his edges or let people just see him as a whole person.

The other half of it really is I feel sorry for the guy. I just want to keep him, you know, feeling OK. I want to be with him. We enjoy being with each other.

So there's two parts to, you know, what we're doing as a spouse, you know. You're there to -- you know, someone's kicking him all the time, and you just kind of want to -- you know, Chris, you're kicking all the time, and...

WALLACE: Well, but it comes with the job.

A. ROMNEY: ... you know, it's part of it. And so you just want -- you want to be there as a spouse just to support and help, and I'm sure all the wives are doing that, too. WALLACE: You have become a bit of an issue recently here in Iowa because Senator Sam Brownback, in some of his calls to voters, pointed out the fact that you supported and contributed to Planned Parenthood in 1994.

I know now that you're helping to raise money for Massachusetts Citizens for Life. When did you make your decision to change on the whole issue of abortion and why?

A. ROMNEY: I never had a change. You know, a check for $100 written in -- 1993, I believe, was when the check was -- I don't even remember writing the check. I know today I wouldn't write the check. I mean, how do you remember all the checks you've written, you know -- how many years ago was that?

So I've had to make a decision, a personal decision, on this, and it came pretty much at the same time with Mitt, with feeling about M.S. and research dollars and everything else, as to the value of life and experimentation on life.

And it gave me pause at that time to say whose life is more important, and I had to come out on the side of life when it came for me making a real personal decision about research dollars going to creating new human life for experimentation.

WALLACE: We've got a few seconds left. Where are you headed to next?

A. ROMNEY: I'm heading back to Boston for a few days of rest. Mitt is going. He's going to California, Nevada. I don't know. He's going all over the place.

WALLACE: And probably a little bit of (inaudible).

Mrs. Romney, we want to thank you so much for joining us, and please come back.

A. ROMNEY: Thank you.

WALLACE: And congratulations again.

And that's it for us today here from Des Moines. A special thanks to our crew here in Iowa as well as the State Historical Museum for hosting us.

For more visit the FOX News Sunday web page.

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