Video: Republican presidential hopefuls continue strong push

  1. Closed captioning of: Republican presidential hopefuls continue strong push

    >> up for a busy week ahead in the nation's capital. the senate was supposed to be on break this week, but instead, lawmakers will be back in session to deal with the looming debt crisis. this as republican presidential hopefuls hit the campaign trail over the weekend. kristen welker is at the white house for us this morning. kristen , good morning.

    >> good morning to you, savannah. while gop candidates were in high gear this holiday weekend and so were some lawmakers talking about the debt ceiling on this sunday talk shows, to name one, senator john cornyn said there might be room to revise the tax code . still, he insisted no new taxes. the president back from a july 4th weekend at camp david and getting ready for fomore fireworks on capitol hill . senators have given up their holiday week to work out a deal to raise the debt ceiling. republicans insisting any agreement cannot include tax increases.

    >> but the principle of not raising taxes is something that we campaigned on last november, and the results of the election was the american people didn't want their taxes raised.

    >> reporter: the fiery rhetoric comes after the president last week accused lawmakers of not working hard enough to resolve the issue and arguing any deal should include a repeal of tax breaks for big businesses.

    >> if everybody else is willing to take on their sacred cows , i think it would be hard for the republicans to stand there and say that the tax break for corporate jets is sufficiently important.

    >> reporter: republican senator john cornyn fired back.

    >> what i'm concerned about is the president by not seriously putting a proposal forward but rather just criticizing those who have, will run it up against the deadline.

    >> reporter: meanwhile the people vying for the president's jobber were also hard at work this weekend. former utah governor jon huntsman barn stormed in new hampshire, which hosts the nation's first primary. minnesota representative michele bachmann was out in full force in iowa, six weeks ahead of the state's straw poll . she is running neck and neck with presumed front runner mitt romney , according to a recent state poll, and this weekend she tried to build on that momentum. lesser known candidate businessman herman cain , also tried to shore up support in the hawk why state, stumping at a godfather pizza, the company he used to run. the seoul african-american gop candidate recently released this video touting his tea party credentials.

    >> i was in a tea party before it was cool.

    >> reporter: in ohio over the weekend, cain said he's gaining traction.

    >> if you average out all of the polls that i'm in third place behind mitt romney and michele bachmann , and they have twice the name id, i think i have the ball because as my name iid spreads, i have nowhere to go but up.

    >> even former president bill clinton is weighing in saying he likes jon huntsman . he believes he's authentic. he says mitt romney is much improved from his last run. and he says michele bachmann is a stronger candidate than he thought would be, still, he believes the president will be re-elected. as for the president and lawmakers, they will get back to work on the debt ceiling tomorrow.

    >> kristen welker at the white house . thank you.

    >>> republican presidential hopeful hernan cain is with us from philadelphia. thank you for being with us.

    >> it's my pleasure. thank you. you've been getting momentum was of late. recent iowa poll last week has you third behind mitt romney and michele bachmann . what is your message and why is it resonating?

    >> my message is common sense solutions and problem solving . i spent all of my career as a problem solver in business, and the reason that it's resonating is because the american people are saying, and i've gotten this from all over the country, that they've gotten more solutions rather than creating problems. the fact that i have been a problem solver in business in various different types of businesses, that's resonating with people. they are rejecting the old notion that you must have had held public office in order to do a good job of leading this nation.

    >> i was going to ask you about that because you said essentially your inexperience, the fact that you have never been elected and never held public office is a plus. my question to you is, if you were still a eo, still a business, would you hire someone for a key role who had no experience whatsoever in business?

    >> in business we hire people at a level based upon their experience and based upon their qualifications. and then they are able to work their way up and demonstrate their problem solving capabilities. that's what happens in business. if you look at any successful businessperson and any successful business, they learn how to solve problems. work on the right problems, surround yourself with the right people, and then make sure you put together the right plans. that's not happening in washington, d.c. the american people , savannah, they like the idea that i'm a prop solver and not a politicians.

    >> you have acknowledged that you have no foreign policy experience. and, in fact, you've minimize the importance of it saying it's something you can learn about later or you will just lrn to experts. at a time this country is in two wars, is that sufficient?

    >> i wouldn't say that's sufficient. and i want to make one correction. i'm not waiting until i get elected. i'm already talking to national security people, former intelligence people, talking to former generals and people in the military to begin to develop ideas about how i would deal with those crises that we're in. so, no, i'm not minimizing that. but here's one thing. you don't need foreign policy experience to know who your friends are and who your enemies are and you don't need foreign policy experience to know that you don't tell your enemy what your next move is. so i'm not minimizing it. i'm already working on getting up to speed on that topic.

    >> come of the statements you've made have been controversial. i want to ask you something. you said the liberal establishment is scared, that, quote, a real black man might run against president obama . what did you mean by that?

    >> what i meant by that in the role of a martin luther king jr ., a real black man that can be decisive, leadership experience, a real black man that understands how to address the right problems, and a real black man that understands that the business sector is the engine to growing this economy. right now we do not have that leadership in the white house .

    >> herman cain , we've got to leave it there. it's good to have you was today, thank you.

Mitt Romney
Jim Cole  /  AP
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney meets with employees at Lincoln Financial in Concord, N.H. on Monday.
updated 7/4/2011 8:27:23 AM ET 2011-07-04T12:27:23

The accelerating GOP presidential campaigns in Iowa probably will define front-runner Mitt Romney's chief challengers over the next six weeks and could force the former Massachusetts governor to reconsider his decision to mount only modest efforts in this early voting state.

Rep. Michele Bachmann's quick rise in popularity in the leadoff caucus state and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's stubbornly low poll numbers after more than a year of groundwork in Iowa give Romney new opportunities in the state where he has worked to lower expectations in his second campaign.

Romney may stick with his plan to tread lightly in Iowa and look to New Hampshire's leadoff primary for a liftoff in 2012 if there is no opening for him to seize as a consensus choice.

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But Romney's healthy fundraising, with as much as $20 million in the three-month reporting period that ended last week, and his lead in national polls give him flexibility his less-known rivals lack and make it possible for him to wait to see how the chips fall in Iowa this summer, and decide later whether to up his ante.

"I think it's awfully hard for me at this stage to predict where we'll spend all our time and devote all our resources," Romney told The Associated Press this past week. "But we're focused on running our race, where we think best."

4th July, New Hampshire... Fancy meeting you here!

Minnesota's Bachmann was on her first sustained Iowa campaign trip this weekend. She's coming off a successful stretch marked by a well-received national debate debut, a widely covered campaign kickoff in her native Iowa and a strong showing in The Des Moines Register's poll. Bachmann nearly matched Romney, the No. 2 GOP caucus finisher four years ago, for the early Iowa lead in the survey.

Criticized for having little caucus campaign heft on her team, Bachmann has named as her deputy national campaign manager David Polyansky, who's credited with bringing organizational and strategic weight to the 2008 campaign of caucus winner Mike Huckabee.

Bachmann has feet in Christian conservative and tea party camps, and will need to quickly organize within these groups. Polyansky, who helped Huckabee form relationships with Christian home-school advocates in Iowa, for instance, can help behind the scenes. Bachmann's schedule had her headlining a tea party rally in Des Moines on Saturday.

Story: Huntsman fights Romney cash juggernaut

But caucus support is more often sealed in person than in crowds at a rally or along a July Fourth parade route. Bachmann will have to meet privately with influential GOP activists, as she plans to begin this weekend. She's also staffing a phone bank to drum up support for the Aug. 13 straw poll. "We can't make enough personal appearances in 40 days to make that happen," said Bachmann's Iowa campaign chairman, Kent Sorenson.

Businessman Herman Cain, a tea party favorite, also will need strong support from this motivated but untested segment of the GOP electorate. Cain, third in the new Iowa poll, was the only other candidate in double digits, with 10 percent. But his campaign organization has suffered some key staffing departures in Iowa.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has a foothold among social conservatives. He's looking for a straw-poll breakthrough with help from a top aide to Romney's 2008 campaign.

For Pawlenty, the task in Iowa is the opposite of Bachmann's. He will spend 15 days in the state this month trying to show that the organization he has built there can generate enthusiasm.

Pawlenty has the largest Iowa campaign staff, has spent more than two dozen days in the state since November 2009 and is airing the campaign's first television ads. He has a list of recognizable Republican supporters, from former statewide officeholders to up-and-coming figures. Yet he was the choice of only 6 percent in the Register's poll.

After saying in January he needed to "win or do very well" in the caucuses, he recently has tried to lower expectations for the straw poll, despite hiring the consultant who helped Romney win the 2007 straw poll.

First Thoughts: Iowa matters

"As to the straw poll, I don't know that we need to win it," Pawlenty told a conservative radio host in Des Moines this past week. "I think we need to do well and show some progress."

The pressure is on Pawlenty to assemble those pieces of the broad GOP coalition he has long said he can deliver, including social and business conservatives.

"Tim Pawlenty is coming up on a pretty serious EKG test in Iowa," said Robert Haus, who ran the 2008 Iowa caucus campaign for former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee. "Is he going to ultimately materialize into the big challenger to Romney or not?"

Pawlenty's lack of early momentum could open the door for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who could attract support from Iowans looking for a pro-business governor besides Romney. Perry, who's also popular with social conservatives, is considering a White House run and plans a national day of prayer in Houston for Aug. 6, a week before the straw poll.

Comparing Iowa polls: 2007 and now

A top Perry adviser, Dave Carney, has made inquiries in Iowa about the timing and rules of the straw poll and caucuses, while Perry has raised his profile with key appearances and private meetings with influential Republicans.

Perry will claim the space in Iowa for a pro-business governor if Romney does not, said Doug Gross, a top Iowa backer of Romney's 2008 campaign who tried to coax Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels into running.

"Unless Romney gets in and campaigns here, he will only go down, leaving an opportunity for a Perry," Gross said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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