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December 15th, 2011

Strong America Now’s Candidate Report Card

Following almost a year of grassroots organizing in Iowa, deficit reduction organization Strong America Now has released its presidential voter guide. 75,000 Iowa households will receive the report card in the mail this week, reaching 110,000 likely caucus goers. The report card is good news for three candidates and bad news for Mitt Romney.

Each candidate was judged in three categories: whether or not they signed the SAN pledge, if they have set a goal to eliminate the deficit, and if they laid out a strategy to eliminate waste in the federal government. Strong America Now claims its plan can eliminate the spending deficits and starting paying down the national debt by 2017 by employing the Lean Six Sigma plan.

Mitt Romney is the only candidate out of the six who did not sign the pledge. Here is how the grading breaks down:

Candidate Signed SAN Pledge Strategy includes Goal of Elimination of Deficit Strategy includes Method to Eliminate Waste Total
Bachmann A A C B
Gingrich A A A A
Paul A A C B
Perry A A A A
Romney F C C D
Santorum A A A A

Strong America Now founder Mike George sat down with on Wednesday to discuss the voter guide and each candidate’s grade. He praised the three candidates who earned overall A’s, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.

“I would say they all have good plans,” George said. “It would not be human of me to not admit that I’m thrilled that Newt Gingrich talks about us in every speech. Governor Perry is the only candidate to have signed legislation using our plan. He signed a bill in the state of Texas to eliminate the deficit using Lean Six Sigma.”

Michele Bachmann received an overall ‘B’ grade because her plans for reforming government do not include waste reduction, according to Strong America Now’s founder.

“If you look at her website, she has an 11-point strategy,” George said. “It never mentions waste reduction. She signed the pledge, so she gets the ‘A’ for that. We looked at her plan and said, ‘Has the candidate internalized this and made waste reduction a part of the strategy?’ In her case the answer is no.”

Ron Paul offered the boldest plan in terms of dollars, pledging to cut a trillion dollars from the federal budget. However, Strong America Now disagrees with the Texas congressman’s strategy, which explains his ‘B’ grade.

“Ron Paul has a section on eliminating the deficit, so he gets an ‘A’ on the second part,” George said. “He wants to eliminate five federal departments. He’s going to have a hard time getting that passed. It’s chopping, rather than making the departments more efficient. We think the bipartisan solution is eliminating the cost, instead of eliminating all of it.”

Then there’s Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor refused to sign Strong America Now’s pledge. That is part of the reason he earned a ‘D’ on the group’s voter guide.

“I hope he’ll change his mind and sign our pledge,” George said. “I’ll put out a new voter guide right away if he does. I’m disappointed that a guy with his knowledge of the private sector would not glom onto this thing. He knows this method works.”

George also offered criticisms of Romney’s plan. “If you’ll look at his 59 point, 87 page plan, he has a specific plan to cut the deficit.” However, George says Romney’s plan only eliminates half the deficit. Those words are repeated in the SAN voter guide.

Mike George says he would also like President Obama to sign the deficit reduction pledge. Strong America Now boasts 28,000 members in Iowa, becoming one of the largest grassroots organizations in the state.

About the Author

Kevin Hall

Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor’s office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad’s 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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