The US Report is on the road, heading to Charleston, S.C. for the Red State Gathering. Top of the agenda: Texas governor Rick Perry’s speech on Saturday. Media are reporting Perry will announce his candidacy for president on Saturday.
Also top of the agenda: last night’s debate in Iowa and the straw poll. Voting in the Ames Straw Poll begins on Saturday.
TUSR will post throughout the weekend, bringing you news about one of the most influential gatherings in conservative politics.
As for the debate, in my opinion Gov. Mitt Romney and former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich out-performed their peers. I was disappointed in Gov. Tim Pawlenty—he has a good record but I don’t think he’s been able to connect with the broader GOP base yet. Also attacks don’t fit Pawlenty’s character.
Rep. Michele Bachmann held her own as did businessman Herman Cain. Sen. Rick Santorum stuck to a far right platform, and Rep. Ron Paul came across as comfortably Libertarian. Dr. Paul makes a great deal of sense when he talks about the Federal Reserve and entitlements, but as I’ve said before, I believe his core supporters actually turn people off.
Former ambassador Jon Huntsman appeared comfortable handling the issues—Republicans are actually getting their first up close look at him. He comes across as moderate and his strongest point in my opinion is his expertise on China.
At the Charleston conference, Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) will open the event with a welcome reception on Friday evening. That reception will be followed by speeches from Florida governor Rick Scott and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will bring the night to a close by hosting a reception.
President Barack Obama has also been campaigning in hopes of keeping the presidency in Democrats’ hands in 2012.
What strikes me, however, is the increasing attention to the GOP candidates despite the bully pulpit Obama holds. The drama and fireworks right now are in the GOP camp. Perry's speech on Saturday combined with the Ames Straw Poll will occupy headline writers for several days.
Another thought occurred after last night’s debate. Republicans have an abundance of candidates and legacy media have largely resorted to typical attacks and smears. Fact is any one of those candidates would make a fine president and a better leader than we have at present.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Aug. 12, 2011)