Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mitt Romney finally shows up in Iowa

Mitt Romney made a belated 2012 campaign debut in Iowa on Friday, dipping a brown-loafered toe into the state that casts the first votes in the presidential contest.

Romney, who will formally enter the Republican race next week, has largely shunned Iowa since falling short here in the 2008 caucuses. He spent much of the day bobbing and weaving around questions about his commitment to Iowa.
"My guess is you'll have plenty of opportunity to see me. I care about Iowa," he told a midday audience in Des Moines, after refusing to say whether he'd compete in a nonbinding straw vote this summer or go all-out in the caucuses next winter.

But if there was any doubt about whether he'd abandon Iowa altogether, as some have speculated, Romney may have put it to rest when he answered affirmatively a quintessential Iowa caucus question: about government subsidies for ethanol, the fuel produced from corn and other farm products.

"I support the subsidy of ethanol. I believe ethanol's an important part of our energy solution in this country," he told a supporter from West Des Moines.

The former Massachusetts governor has been described as unusually weak for a candidate many see as the Republican front-runner. And his somewhat diffident approach to Iowa — and to campaigning in general — is part of an attempt to lower expectations in his second White House try.

Romney told Iowans that his candidacy was tailored to these tough times.

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