Telemarketers are calling Iowans to collect data regarding the potential presidential candidacy of Strong America Now founder Mike George. I received one of these calls Thursday evening.
Strong America Now already has a heavy presence in the 2012 presidential campaign, especially in Iowa. The group hired several of the state’s most prominent political operatives. SAN collected signatures from over 25,000 Iowans, hosted a well-attended summit in Des Moines, and bused supporters in for the Ames Straw Poll.
Strong America Now asks all the presidential candidates to sign their pledge to erase the federal deficit by 2017 using the Lean Six Sigma program. Earlier this week, Rick Perry became the seventh GOP hopeful to put his name on the dotted line. Before he dropped out of the race, Tim Pawlenty frequently praised Strong America Now. Newt Gingrich mentions the organization at every tour stop and some debates and included Lean Six Sigma in his 21st Century Contract with America.
However, all those candidates might have unknowingly been aiding a Mike George presidential run. The telephone survey started by asking me how likely I am to participate in the Iowa Caucus and who I plan to support. It then asked if any candidate had offered a plan to reduce unemployment by half and end the deficit without introducing any new taxes.
The surveyor wanted to know how supportive I would be of such a plan. Then, I was asked if I am familiar with Mike George and Pete Peterson. Peterson is the former Secretary of Commerce under President Nixon and now heads the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, an organization aimed at raising awareness of the country’s fiscal challenges.
The telemarketer provided a brief biography for both Mike George and Pete Peterson, saying George was considering a presidential run and asking if I would support his candidacy. He then asked if Peterson were convinced to join the race, if I would be supportive of that bid. After collecting some demographical information, the telemarketer hung up, before identifying who he was calling on behalf of.
It seems awfully late for any other candidate to jump into the presidential field. However, Mike George already has an Iowa organization in place. He has thousands of likely caucus goers who are supportive of his signature plan. He is wealthy enough to fund his own campaign.
These phone surveys might be just testing the waters. They might not be indicative of any interest on behalf of Mike George or Pete Peterson. They could be an outside, unaffiliated group who is interested in luring one of them into the race. However, if they come back with overwhelmingly positive results, we might have another new candidate in the ever-changing GOP presidential field.
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore
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