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August 16th, 2013

Being Misquoted Makes My Blood Boil – The Weekly Round Up

Over the past four years, I’ve been interviewed more than a 1000 times by various media outlets.  While I have had my qualms about the national media, I must admit that I have never felt that I was misquoted.  If anything, I am occasionally disappointed in what the reporters choose to use and not use from an interview, but not with how those reporters portray what I’ve said.

Well, for the first time that I can remember, Lara Seligman of The Hill newspaper misquoted me this week.  Ms. Seligman’s article, GOP fears ’16 free-for-all will help Clinton was published on Thursday.  The title caught my attention because I completely disagree with the headline.  Throughout the lengthy telephone interview, I repeatedly disagreed with the premise of Ms. Seligman’s article.

So naturally, when the Google Alert arrived notifying me that I was included in this article, I was curious to see how my viewpoint was included.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t included at all.  What was actually printed was a complete fabrication.

  Screen shot 2013-08-15 at 12.52.37 PM

To the reporter’s credit, I did use the word “winnow,” but it had nothing to do with the New Hampshire primary.  What I told the reporter was that Iowa has a long history of winnowing a large field of candidates down to a more manageable field of serious contenders.  I said nothing about the Tea Party, or anything remotely close to suggesting that the Tea Party is dictating the terms of the Republican nomination process.

Here is what I basically said to Ms. Seligman

  • The field always looks crowded two years before politicians actually announce that they are running for president.  Plenty of people think about running, but not all of them actually do.
  • Early polling is meaningless because few of the Republicans have built up a national profile.  Talk to me about polling in 2015 and 2016, not 2013.
  • Hillary Clinton is beatable.  The way she ended her time as Secretary of State is not going to serve her well as a presidential candidate.  In the 2008 race, she was viewed as the calm, responsible person who you would want to handle a crisis.  That image has been tarnished after the tragedy in Benghazi.
  • A Biden vs. Clinton primary could be a nasty and costly battle.
  • Voters want fresh new faces.  Biden and Clinton have been national figures for decades.
  • After eight years of Obama, people will want change, not a continuation of the previous administration.

I understand how none of that fit into Ms. Seligman’s article since it challenged her entire premise, but then just don’t quote me.  I can live with that.  It actually happens a lot.  But please, don’t just go and make something up.  That is the one thing I will not tolerate.

Better Late Than Never

I was Dave Price’s guest on “Insiders” last Sunday.  We discussed the Sorenson endorsement scandal.

Former Democrats Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky joined me for a bonus segment to discuss the impact this could have on Iowa’s First-in-the-Nation status.

I’m still pissed off that someone vandalized the Butter Cow

I don’t know why, but it really angers me that a bunch of animal rights activists poured red paint on the Butter Cow at the Iowa State Fair.  They got what they wanted – a lot of media attention – but there is something deeply wrong with defacing an iconic sculpture made out of butter.  Some people just need to get a life.

How can you not love Chuck Grassley?

Buzz Feed did an outstanding photo essay about Grassley and the Iowa State Fair on Wednesday.  It made me laugh, but it also made me realize that the Senior Senator from Iowa is good guy who relates well to his constituents.

The best part of the article are the pictures of Grassley’s ten different handshake styles.  They include: your typical handshake, the two-handed lean-in, the Grassley forearm clamp, and the two-constituent double-dip, classic hand on shoulder, double-shoulder bro plant, single-elbow grab, shoulder-shake combo, the Grassley grappling hook, and the senator side-hug.

It’s a good read, and be sure to check out former Congressman Leonard Boswell in his pleated jeans.  I didn’t know they still made those.

Smokey and the Bandit

Jack Hatch’s Smokey and the Bandit themed attack ad on Governor Branstad made me laugh when I saw it.  We all knew that Hatch’s ad was going to be negative, and we also knew that it was going to deal with Branstad’s speeding vehicle from a few months back.  What I didn’t realize is how appropriate the Smokey and the Bandit reference was to the 2014 gubernatorial race until I started watching a few YouTube clips.

I think we could easily remake this American classic with an Iowa twist.

Branstad as the Bandit is completely believable.  A likeable leading man? Check. Iconic mustache? Check.  Never been beat? Check.


Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds could easily play Sally Field’s role in a remake.  Every leading man needs an attractive co-star.


Jack Hatch as Buford T. Justice?  Come on, Buford was always loud, obnoxious, and never able to accomplish his goals.  So basically Hatch is a dead ringer for Buford.

Hatch and BTJ

Tyler Olson would be a perfect Junior Justice.  Buford didn’t have any respect for Junior; the same goes for Hatch and Olson.  The reason Hatch is out with an attack ad right out of the gate is because he’s showing Junior (Tyler) how it’s done.

Justice and Olson

I found Cledus “Snowman” Snow the most difficult to cast.  After watching a few more scenes from the movie, I noticed how well he communicated with the Bandit.  Thus, it seems only appropriate to cast Branstad’s communications director, Jimmy Centers, for the part.


Every good movie or TV show has a loveable K9 character these days.  Fred stole the show back in 1977 riding in Snowman’s rig, but Iowa Republicans have a well traveled dog of their own, Puppy Jake, President and CEO of the Puppy Jake Foundation.  He’s not a Basset Hound, but this dog can hold his own in a celebrity packed cast like this.

Fred and Jake

On a more serious note, I bet Hatch has spent every dollar he’s raised producing the ad and putting it on the air.  While he provided us all with a chuckle on Monday, not many people will ever see the ad since he spent just $21,980 in the Des Moines TV market and a paltry $12,750 in Cedar Rapids.

Last I checked, Hatch needs to win a primary before he gets to run against the Bandit… err Branstad.  I also can’t wait until his next attack ad comes out.  If it’s anything like the first one, it will probably slam Branstad for not being a polished speaker, say like Forrest Gump.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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