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Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Iowa Circus

Dec 29th, 2011

The latest round of crazy involves a bit player making a big splash just ahead of the Iowa GOP caucus. The Des Moines Register reports:

"In a stunning, late-breaking Iowa caucus turnabout, the state chairman for presidential candidate Michele Bachmann ditched her campaign Wednesday night to endorse Ron Paul, a rival in the race for the GOP nomination.

The defection of Kent Sorenson, an Iowa state senator, came just six days before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, and caught the Bachmann campaign by surprise. Sorenson had chaired Bachmann’s caucus efforts here for months, and even attended a Bachmann event in Indianola on Wednesday afternoon just hours before appearing at a Paul rally in Des Moines to announce his endorsement."

Time magazine's Katy Steinmetz caught up with Sorensen later in the day:

"Why did you decide to endorse Ron Paul?

I believe that we have a clear top-tier race. I believe that is between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. I believe that the Republican establishment is going to rise up against Congressman Paul. I think we’re seeing that, with the comments that Newt Gingrich made earlier in the week [about not voting for Paul if he were the nominee]. The real crux of the matter is that we’re at a point now where we can elect somebody like Mitt Romney, who is the same as Barack Obama, except maybe a little bit more frugal. He’s a frugal socialist. Or we can elect somebody who’s going to stand up for what our Founding Fathers believed this country was built upon."

This is so cartoonishly humiliating that I almost felt sorry for Rep. Bachmann... at first. Via WaPo:

"Bachmann responded with her own statement claiming Sorenson defected for financial reasons and naming state Rep. Brad Zaun as her new state chair.

“Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign,” Bachmann told reporters. “Kent said to me yesterday that ‘everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn’t I,’ then he told me he would stay with our campaign. The Ron Paul campaign has to answer for its actions.”

Benton responded that the Paul campaign is not paying Sorenson."

I find the Bachmann team's response to be the more interesting element of the story. Of all the ways they could have spun it, they chose the crazy and conspiratorial. The fix was in. Apparently, no one thought to simply capitalize on America's innate sympathy for the underdog.

Had she gone before the cameras and given a dignified statement about her 'hurt' and 'disappointment' over a 'personal betrayal,' the Iowa base might have eaten it up.

But, that level of short-game just isn't in her DNA. She's done.

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