Santorum, Perry and Paul

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Good Wednesday morning. My day started a few hours earlier than normal. I headed out to the Westside Conservative Club bi-monthly meeting at the Machine Shed in Urbandale for Rick Perry’s appearance. By far, it was the biggest crowd I have seen for a speaker for the group. 200 plus people. An organizer told me Perry’s campaign made calls to try to get people there and it apparently worked with the overflowing crowd. I didn’t arrive until a few minutes before 7am for the 7am scheduled start. Not a smart idea. My limited view included the backs of dozens of people’s heads. So I heard a lot more of what happened when Perry took the microphone, rather than saw it. Perry’s warm up act didn’t exactly leave the people feeling warm and fuzzy. Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio said, “Boy, I’m getting to know Iowa, the great state of Iowa. What is it? The Buckeyes?”. And the crowd groaned. After prompting from someone in the audience, Arpaio continued, “The Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes.” More boos and groans from the crowd. Then he added, “Well, it’s 3 o’clock Phoenix time”, in an apparent reference to the early time back home which caused his gaffe. Although, in case anyone cares…to be correct, Sheriff, it would have actually been about 6am Phoenix time. Des Moines is in the Central Time Zone. Phoenix is the Mountain Time Zone. Des Moines follows Daylight Saving time. Phoenix doesn’t. So right now, it’s one hour behind Des Moines. You know, in case you care.

Anyway, back to the business at hand…Perry made light of the goof. He said, “Well, you know how to get an Iowa crowd riled up in the morning…call ’em Buckeyes. Actually, there’s probably some Cyclones in this crowd.”

Perry continued with his anti-insider talk during the rest of his remarks. He said about the other candidates, “You know, I got great respect for all those folks who are on the stage with me, the ones that are so-called front runners right now. But you got to ask yourself, if we replace a Democratic insider with a Republican insider, is Washington going to change?” The crowd responded, “no.”

The last time I covered a candidate at the Machine Shed, I sat down with Herman Cain for what I was told was a 15 minute conversation. We got 6 minutes, I think…enough time to hear him say he didn’t have a problem with harassing women or understanding foreign policy. We did find out later, he had a bigger, more pressing problem of plummeting support that took him out the presidential race.

We’re headed off to Ron Paul’s event at the Iowa Speedway in Newton. It was a bit odd the campaign didn’t send out a press advisory to us. Someone called instead and told us of the event. It always make us feel a bit safer about whether an event is really going to happen to read it, rather than just a phone call. Not sure why, but it just does. Nevertheless, we’ll see what Newton brings us. Then we’re off to Michele Bachmann’s event in Indianola this afternoon. It’s scheduled to start around 4:15. Bachmann events habitually start late. We’ll see how she is doing on time today.