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May 5th, 2012

Live Blog: Republican Party of Iowa Lincoln Dinner

Greetings. The Republican Party of Iowa is holding its annual Lincoln Dinner tonight, headlined by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccineli, who successfully sued against ObamaCare. Governor Branstad, Congressman King and Congressman Latham are also scheduled to speak tonight, along with others.

This is the first major Iowa GOP fundraiser under the leadership of new Chairman A.J. Spiker. Earlier this week, they were concerned about this event making money. We will see how it goes.

The reception is already underway. Dinner begins at 7pm. will be live blogging the event throughout the evening with speech quotes, insights and other fascinating tidbits.

Hit “Refresh” often to stay up to date.

6:26 pm We are in one of the ballrooms at the newly remodeled Vets Auditorium in downtown Des Moines…or the Polk County Veterans Community Choice Credit Union Auditorium, or something like that. They tried to rename it, there was backlash, so they put the “Veterans” part back in. Wise choice.

6:29 pm The Romney campaign decided to have a presence here, unlike the District conventions. Looks like someone’s been reading TheIowaRepublican. Can you blame them?

6:30 pm On the big screen projector that have an ad for the “Romney for President Leadership Team Statewide Conference Call”. The campaign has been totally absent from the state since January 4.

6:31 pm Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” playing on the speakers in the ballroom. Excellent. You can’t go wrong with the Man in Black.

6:34 pm We’ve now got some Ray Charles. Awesome. There’s a live band playing out in the reception area, where everyone is out mingling. I’m in the ballroom. Only ones here are media and event staff.

6:42 pm It looks like there are 53 tables, 10 chairs for table, so that would put the attendance at 530 if everyone shows up. Much better than what they were hoping for a few days ago. We shall see how that goes.

6:52 pm I did a little walkthrough of the reception area. Lots of state reps, senators, SCC members, etc. Sccretary of Ag Bill Northey is here. Lots of folks mingling. Branstad’s staff makes up a large part of the contingent. I snagged a little bit of the finger food. Good stuff. They don’t feed the media the dinner at these things. The appetizers are delicious, though.

6:53 pm There are a few literature tables set up in the lobby. Latham, King, Romney campaigns have one. There’s also for for the opposition to Agenda 21. Folks are filing into the auditorium now. Sounds like Sinatra on the speakers. The great music selection continues. I’m hoping for Beastie Boys in honor of the the recently departed M.C.A. Somehow, I doubt that happens. “Paul Revere” might be apropos.

6:59 pm SCC member Gopal Krishna chatting with Ron Paul campaign chair & fellow SCC member Drew Ivers. A.J. Spiker could not have become chair without Gopal’s help, along with that of Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman.

7:05 pm Jamie Johnson, who has been involved in a whirlwind of controversy this week, came over to say hi. We had a nice chat.

7:12 pm Program underway now. Doing invocation and pledge.

7:13 pm Man do I hate it when media doesn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. It never fails at these events.

7:14 pm Chairman Spiker talking. He asked current and future SCC members to rise and be recognized. I counted a total of 12 in attendance. Might have missed a couple. It was quick. Spiker now mentioning how Republicans outnumber Dems in the state.

7:16 pm Spiker: “Believe me, Christie Vilsack would have voted with Pelosi” on ObamaCare. Vilsack refuses to say how she would have voted on anything, afraid she’ll be outed as the diehard liberal that she truly is.

7:18 pm Spiker: “72% of Americans believe ObamaCare is unconstitutional.”

7:20 pm Spiker’s done. Now watching an RNC video, using Dems own words reflecting how bad the economy is. Ends with Obama saying, “I don’t think they’re better off than they were four years ago.”

7:23 pm RPI Co-Chair Bill Schickel now on the mic. He’s the emcee for tonight.

7:24 pm I was wrong in my earlier count on tables and attendees. Although the tables are numbered until #52, they don’t start at 1. Kay Henderson from Radio Iowa did a count. She estimates just over 250 here.

7:25 pm Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds talking now.  Reynolds says Branstad will not be able to speak tonight. He was at reception earlier. But had to leave for a Make-a-Wish Foundation fundraiser. Can’t blame him for that taking priority. Well, you can. But I don’t.

7:27 pm Reynolds says because of the moves the Branstad administration has made, our state is set for remarkable economic growth over the next 10 years.

7:28 pm Reynolds pleading the crowd to help get conservative majorities in the House and Senate. She says “Governor Branstad stands with you,” to Ken Cuccinelli and that Gov. Branstad stands with him in the effort to overturn ObamaCare. Branstad joined 25 other governors in signing on to a lawsuit against the government takeover of healthcare.

7:31 pm Reynolds done. Senator Grassley speaking now.

7:32 pm Grassley says he will work hard to defeat President Obama. “President of the half a billion dollar giveaway to Solyndra, President making the decision not to build the Keystone pipeline and the president whose budget deficit is greater than all the other previous presidents combined.”

7:33 pm Grassley says Obama might not want to claim it, but this is his economy. “He’s tried to blame Bush…the Japanese earthquake, even the Arab Spring.”

7:34 pm Grassley calls Obama “The Great Pretender” and “The Great Divider”… ‘the difference between President Obama and this senator is he wants fewer rich people and I want fewer poor people.”

7:35 pm Grassley: “If we unite and we work hard, we can stop this nonsense. If he wins, he will succeed in what he’s been trying to do for the last 3 1/2 years, transform America. I don’t want to transform America. I want to preserve America.”

7:37 pm Congressman Tom Latham taking the podium now.

7:38 pm Latham: “After what Senator Grassley just said about the President, I hope he never gets mad at me.” LOL

7:39 pm Latham: “I’m so excited about this race (vs. Boswell). We are on the right track and we are going to win this November. There won’t be an election anywhere in the country where there are clearer differences.” Now running down Boswell’s liberal votes for Cap & Trade, ObamaCare, etc.

7:40 pm Latham is praising Cuccinelli. “Very, very pleased to have you here and proud to have you in Iowa.”

7:41 pm Latham says it’s great to have all the new people in the party.

7:42 pm Latham discussing how his new grandchild was $50,000 in debt when he took his first breath and that’s why we have to change the direction of this country. Latham done now.

7:43 pm Congressman King now taking the stage. Everyone is getting a standing ovation when they are introduced.

7:44 pm King: “I want to talk about what’s good in iowa, then I’ll beat up on the other side a bit and then I’ll feel better.”

7:45 pm King: “It’s not government that create jobs. Government’s supposed to get out of the way so you can create profit..that creates jobs.”

7:46 pm King is praising the job Iowans did in the caucus. Points out that the top four that finished here were the top four finishers. “We made the recommendation that the rest of the country embraced.”  Also says we need to keep Iowa first in perpetuity. True dat.

7:48 pm King says Obama and Axelrod have five strategies. One is a southern one that doesn’t include Iowa. The other four require him to win Iowa..and we’re not going to let him do that. (paraphrasing)

7:49 pm Shocker of the night (sarcasm). When talking about how we can unseat Barack Obama, everyone applauded except… the Ron Paul/SCC member table.

7:50 pm King is talking about the need to repeal ObamaCare now, one of his pet issues. Wrapping up now. Mentions Iowa being first in the nation “in perpetuity” again.

7:51 pm Secretary of State Matt Schultz taking the stage now.

7:52 pm Schultz calls it “a humbling experience” to be able to serve with Governor Branstad ,Lt. Governor Reynolds and all the Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate.

7:53 pm Schultz asked all the Iowa senators to stand. No one did. Mentioned that he saw Brad Zaun earlier. Wow. None of them are here?

7:54 pm Schultz talking about how ID is requiring for many things in everyday life, except voting. Says the “I Love Voter ID” bumper stickers sold out in one month. They’re getting more.

7:55 pm Schultz done. Secretary of Ag Bill Northey speaking now.

7:56 pm Northey mentions there was a time not too long ago when there weren’t that many speakers at these events. Thanks to the great gains we’ve made in elections, there are plenty now.

7:57 pm Northey is talking about Nov. 6 elections. Says we will see all kinds of ups and downs between now and then. “Everyone of those days that goes by without us doing something about it is a lost opportunity.”

8:00 pm Northey says we need to make sure Obama does not get that next term.

8:01 pm Northey is done. Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen talking now.

8:02 pm Paulsen says they promised they wouldn’t spend more than they have, and they meant it. That they would not use one-time money for ongoing expenses, and stood by it.

8:04 pm Paulsen says if you line up the 83rd and 84th General Assembly, “We spent less money”. In real terms, not inflation, etc.

8:05 pm Paulsen says the Dems property tax bill is “a piece of junk”. Bluntness. I like it.

8:07 pm Paulsen mentioning how the Dems fled the Capitol instead of debating the 2nd Amendment.

8:08 pm Speaker Paulsen is wrapping up now. Good speech. House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer up next.

8:09 pm Upmeyer sounds hoarse. Says since she’s near the end, a lot of things she planned to touch on have already been said.

8:10 pm Upmeyer: “Both the speaker and I have been spending long hours at the Capitol”. Gives a “shout-out” to Rep. Scott Raecker and Rep. Nick Wagner.

8:11 pm Upmeyer: “Next year when we come back, we will have a larger majority in the House and a majority in the Senate.” Wrapping up now.

8:12 pm Another RNC video playing on the big screen now, again using Dems own words against them. This one focuses on the disaster that is ObamaCare.

8:13 pm Video ends with “It’s time to repeal ObamaCare once and for all.”

8:14 pm Congressman King back onstage. “I get on my feet anytime anyone says anything about repealing ObamaCare.” LOL. King is introducing the keynote speaker, Ken Cuccinelli.

8:15 pm King says Cuccinelli was the first Attorney General to file suit against ObamaCare.

8:16 pm King says Cuccinelli and his wife have seven children. “Not only are they pro-life, they are prolific.” LOL.

8:17 pm Cuccinelli on now. “You will never live through a more important year.”

8:18 pm Cuccinelli: “The very first thing in my oath of office is swear to uphold the Constitution of the U.S. and Virginia…”  He mentions he came here to campaign for Brenna Findley two years ago, and we still need a Republican A.G.

8:19 pm Cuccinelli says he’s never lost an election because people who care about First Principles “come out of the woodwork” to support him.

8:21 pm BTW, Cuccinelli will run for Governor of Virginia next year.

8:22 pm “We’re protecting our own Constitution from the federal government… The Founding Fathers intended for the states to provide that check on the federal government.”

8:23 pm Cuccinelli: Talking about the sacrifices of the Founding Fathers were significantly greater than what we have today. “We have no excuses. We have been too blessed for no excuses. I expect out of all you to put everything into this fight over the next six months and one day.”

8:24 pm He’s now talking about how Federalism was discussed during Brenna Findley’s campaign and it was rarely discussed until recently. Actually, Fred Thompson made is an issue during his 2007 presidential campaign, but probably should have pushed it harder.

8:26 pm “This administration is suffocating liberty, for us today and our children, 10 and 20 years from now.”

8:27 pm Cuccinelli: “Virginia was the first state to go to court. We waited, mmm, 35 minutes or so after the President signed the bill.” He drew applause for that.

8:28 pm Cuccinelli: “This piece of legislation was one of the worst erosions of liberty in our lifetime.”

8:29 pm Cuccinelli: “I believe the earthquake in Virginia was caused by James Madison rolling over in his grave.” Nice line.

8:30 pm Cuccinelli: “Steve KIng is one of my very favorite congressmen… I probably spend more time with Steve King than anyone else on the Hill. Sorry Steve.”

8:31 pm Cuccinelli comparing the federal government requiring you to buy something to the 10 years before the American Revolution when we were boycotting British goods. “They couldn’t order us to buy British goods, but we have a President who believes he can. .. King George III didn’t try to do it, but Barack Obama thinks he can.” AWESOME comparison.

8:32 pm Cuccinelli says it’s great that Iowa has more Republicans than Democrats, “But they’ve got to show up.” Yep.

8:33 pm He’s talking about the Supreme Court hearing on ObamaCare. Says the legal principles are the same to making you buy asparagus. “I”ve got a theory. I think they’re gonna make you by a GM. They’ve got a stake in making you buy GM.”

8:34 pm “This lawsuit is now about healthcare. It’s about liberty. You can take healthcare and health insurance out of this bill and put food and cars and anything else in there… Does this government have this dictatorial power over you or not?”

8:35 pm Cuccinelli says he’s been working for eight years on a property rights constitutional amendment in Virginia. “I’ve been beating the heck out of their knuckles with my face.” LOL.

8:37 pm He says the Dem leader in the Virginia senate actually said on the floor, “Property rights don’t belong in the Constitution.” Two days in a row. Wow.

8:38 pm “They think the Constitution is a quaint piece of art from the 18th century.”

8:39 pm “The rule of law itself is at stake in this election. Make no mistake about it.”

8:40 pm Cuccinelli calls the EPA the “Employment Prevention Agency”.

8:41 pm He’s wrapping up with a classic Reagan quote: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction….”

8:42 pm Cuccinelli: “I want you to join me for the next six months and we’re going to have a new America for 2013.” And with that, he’s done.

8:43 pm Bill Shickel now introducing a video from “Governor and Mrs. Mitt Romney”. It got decent applause.

8:44 pm This looks to be a biographical video. Ann Romney is providing the narration early on. This is obviously a step by A.J. Spiker to appease the RNC given all the Ron Paul-connected chaos going on here in Iowa.

8:45 pm This is a really well-produced video. Ann Romney proves again she is the Romney campaign’s best asset. It’s a good video that humanizes Romney. She’s talking about his leadership qualities now and “it’s important to understand the character of a person.”

8:46 pm Video done. So is the event. That’s it. Overall, it was a nice event. Good speeches from most everyone. Cuccinelli was very impressive. This guy has a serious future if he can win the governorship in Virginia next year. Very well spoken and he’s photogenic. I’m curious to see how well this event did financially. Maybe I’ll have some numbers for you tomorrow in Kevin’s Korner. See you then. Good night!

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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