Do Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and his allies see some writing on a proverbial wall? With initial polls showing Texas Governor Rick Perry vaulting to a double-digit lead here in Iowa just a few days into his official campaign, Branstad had nothing but praise for him yesterday during his weekly press conference, saying:
“I think he did a tremendous job at the Iowa State Fair. I thought he was as relaxed and confident and at home at the Iowa State Fair as anybody I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot of them. He comes from a farm background, he’s a former agriculture commissioner, he’s a graduate of Texas A&M… I think he came across very well.”
And as if that wasn’t enough, Branstad even provided a bit of cover for the Texan when asked about the now-infamous “treasonous” comment Perry made in regards to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke printing more money before the 2012 election.
“I think that was probably the wrong choice of words. But the idea that somehow we’re going to correct our problems in this country by printing more money, I think people are apprehensive about that.”
Branstad’s comments come less than a week after his long-time ally and confidant Doug Gross, a Des Moines attorney and our 2002 GOP gubernatorial nominee, aknowledged Perry as the Iowa front runner and called him, “the one candidate who’s campaigning in Iowa right now who has a chance to be president of the United States.”
Now, I obviously have no inside information here, but Perry seems to be getting very favorable treatment from Iowa’s influential Governor and those close to him. Is Branstad sensing that Iowa Republicans are flocking to Perry in droves (as the polling indicates) and that he needs to get ahead of this thing for his own political fortune (ie: Cabinet appointment)? We’ll see…
One thing’s for sure though. Branstad can certainly throw some political darts as well. When asked about former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman’s criticism of the Iowa Caucuses, Branstad simply laughed and said, “Well, I think he’s off on the wrong track. Jon Huntsman isn’t even an asterisk when you take a poll.”
Zing! Best line I’ve ever heard from Branstad. I like that he’s standing up for our first-in-the-nation status. I guess only time will tell if he will go any further than simply protecting our place in line.
Will he endorse a candidate and is he already hinting at who that will be?
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