Buttering up starts in earnest as Palin busses into Iowa


The dreams of all the declared candidates for the Republican presidential nomination – and of a couple not yet formally announced – are about to be burnished, dented or even dashed in a 48-hour blitz of campaign activity among the fried-butter stands and cow pens of the Iowa State Fair.

By nightfall tomorrow, the dust will be settling in Ames, Iowa, from a live televised debate arranged for yesterday evening and the results of the quadrennial Ames Straw Poll to be held on Saturday morning. It traditionally marks a first winnowing out of a field which already numbers eight contenders.

Equally diverting will be the off-stage gesticulations of two Republican stars: Sarah Palin and Texas Governor Rick Perry. By virtue of their dithering, neither was in the debate nor is registered for the straw poll.

Out of the blue, Ms Palin announced plans to crash the Iowa State Fair today on her putative campaign bus. She told supporters here she was "excited to try some of that famous fried butter-on-a-stick, fried cheesecake-on-a-stick, fried twinkies, etc". While she has so far done little here – or in any other state critical to the early parts of the nominating process – to convince anyone she is serious about running, her appearance will rekindle speculation about her intentions.

Governor Perry, who would compete for the same conservative votes as Ms Palin and Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party standard- bearer in Washington, is expected to confirm in South Carolina tomorrow that he has decided to join the race. He is due to pay his first visit to Iowa on Sunday.

"I'm very calm in my heart that this is what I'm supposed to be doing," he told Time magazine yesterday, confirming reports of his diving in. He said he made up his mind about 45 days ago after discussing it with his wife.

The stakes in Ames for all the Republican hopefuls are towering. Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, needs a strong showing to reverse the perception that his campaign is sputtering. Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and ambassador in China for President Barack Obama, needs a lift even more urgently. On the critical list meanwhile are Senator Rick Santorum, former speaker Newt Gingrich and businessman Herman Cain.

Mitt Romney, who is taking his second run at the nomination, must meanwhile consolidate his frontrunner status, while Ms Bachmann, who has come closest to challenging him, has to live up to the expectations that have built around her since shining in the last Republican debate two months ago in New Hampshire.

"We'll look back on this in about five months and the field won't look anything like it does now, because some people will have risen to this moment," Republican strategist Alex Castellanos told Politico. "This is the beginning of the real campaign here."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Partner Manager - EMEA

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partner Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Regional Sales Manager - OTE £100,000

£45000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Sales Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...

Recruitment Genius: IT Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manager is for a successfu...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific