GOP frontrunners court Iowans with motorcycles, pork roast
by Kent Covington & Nick Eicher
Posted 6/10/15, 03:20 pm
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, hosted the inaugural “Roast and Ride,” and she plans to make it an annual tradition. GOP White House hopefuls addressed the crowd outside a Harley Davidson dealership that looked more like a barn.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was on hand and made reference to summer movie season, when Hollywood rolls out its biggest box-office hits.
“Just this morning it was announced that the biggest blockbuster of the summer is coming out, starring Barack Obama. It’s called Honey I Shrunk the Economy!” Huckabee said, referring to a Labor Department report that the economy shrank seven-tenths of a percentage point in the first quarter of this year. Huckabee also renewed his call for a complete overhaul of the U.S. tax system
“It’s called the Fair Tax, and it no longer will punish people for working and saving and investing and even leaving something for their kids,” he said.
Rubio outlined his plan to grow the economy, beginning with a new approach to adult education that does not emphasize college degrees. He said the country must make it easier for Americans to gain an education in well-paying trades.
“We need an America where a single mom that’s working as a receptionist has the chance, while she works and while she raises her family, to also go back to school online at nights and on weekends,” Rubio said. “So instead of $9 an hour, she can make $60,000 as a paralegal or a dental hygienist or one of these other jobs that pay much more than what they’re making now.” He added that expensive college degrees that don’t lead to jobs are contributing to a growing mountain of student debt in America.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson emphasized economic growth and small business to Iowans. Repealing Obamacare, he said, would help a great deal.
“You start a business, and then you get two employees. … And then you get five, and then you get 10, and then 20 and 30 and 40, and 45 and, oh! Better stop. Because now if I get to 50, all these problems begin,” Carson said.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was also in Iowa over the weekend, following his announcement last week of a second White House bid.
His 2012 campaign crashed and burned on a series of debate gaffes, but Perry said that after living under the last four years of Obama’s policies, voters would put substance over style in 2016.
“We have seen what happens when we elect a president based on media acclaim rather than a record of accomplishment,” he said. “This will be a show-me-don’t-tell-me election, where voters look past the rhetoric to the real record.”
About a half-dozen candidates showed up for the Iowa Roast & Ride, but that left quite a few who didn’t come. In the most recent poll in Iowa, Walker, Rubio and Carson were Nos. 1, 2, and 3 in the GOP presidential race. Huckabee was fifth in that poll, but he also won Iowa during his presidential bid in 2008. He’ll probably need to do well there if he’s going to seriously compete in 2016.
For each of those candidates, Iowa is a key part of their delegate strategy. And Perry, Carly Fiorina and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. are all in danger of being left out of the first two Republican debates, which will be limited to 10 candidates to be decided by an average of major polls. So they really can’t afford to sit out any major events at this point.
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