TPM News

Good morning,

It's officially campaign season. TPM will be putting together The Tip Sheet each weekday morning to guide readers through the big events and themes of the day. The Iowa caucuses are a day away; here are the 10 things you need to know today:

  • New Iowa Poll: Public Policy Polling released the latest numbers out of Iowa and all frontrunners are within 2 points of each other. Ron Paul leads with 20% of the vote, followed by Mitt Romney with 19% and Rick Santorum with 18%. PPP was in the field interviewing Iowa caucus-goers over the weekend and is the most up-to-date poll going into tomorrow's caucuses.
  • Romney's Big Lead in New Hampshire: Nine days out from the New Hampshire primary and Mitt Romney leads the pack by a sizable margin. A Suffolk University/7News Poll released late Sunday night has Romney with 41% of the vote, followed by Paul with 15%, Gingrich with 11%, and despite his efforts, Jon Huntsman trailing with 9%.
  • Romney campaigns in Iowa: Mitt Romney is holding four "grass roots" rallies in Iowa on Monday, according to the campaign. He will remain in Iowa Tuesday for the caucuses.
  • Democrats Hit Romney on Bain Lay-offs: Randy Johnson, who lost his job at American Pad and Paper after Bain Capital took it over in the 1990s, will speak in Iowa Monday to discuss "Romney's decades-long record of putting profits before people," according to the DNC. The event is scheduled for 15 minutes after Romney wraps up his first rally in Davenport, Iowa, Monday morning.
  • Democrats' Rebuttal: Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will speak to the press at 10:30am EST to preview the Iowa caucuses, with a likely focus on Mitt Romney's campaign and positions on the issues.
  • Newt's Media Blitz: Newt Gingrich will hold five meet-and-greet events in Iowa on Monday. In addition, he will make a series of TV appearances: He will hold a tele-town hall at 5:30 CT, then appear on CBS Evening News, Piers Morgan on CNN at 8pm CT and Fox News's Hannity at 8:25pm.
  • Santorum Media Blitz: Rick Santorum has a packed schedule in Iowa a day before the caucuses with five meet-and-greets in the state. In addition, Santorum will do two radio interviews in the morning on 1460AM Sports Talk Radio in Des Moines and on Laura Ingraham's national radio show. At 8pm CT, He will appear on "Hannity" on Fox News.
  • Ron and Rand campaign in Iowa: After spending the weekend in Texas, Ron Paul is back in Iowa with a packed day of six events. His son, Sen. Rand Paul, will be campaigning for his father in Iowa. TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro will be covering the events from Iowa.
  • Huntsman puts personal finances into campaign: Jon Huntsman, who has failed to gain traction in New Hampshire, is getting desperate. Although he said he would not use his own money to finance his campaign, he will be personally matching donations through Wednesday.
  • With high poll numbers comes great scrutiny: Rick Santorum says he's not afraid of the scrutiny that comes with leading poll numbers (via Politico): "The good thing about this is that this isn't my first rodeo...I've had the national media crawling up anywhere they can crawl...It's not perfect, and I'm sure you'll hear from my friends about my warts - we all have them...I didn't advocate for those [unspecified] didn't see me advocating for the bad or promoting those things." That's good, because the attacks are already coming and won't let up before the caucuses. And RedState's Erick Erickson is questioning his electability and his record.

NBC affiliate King 5 in Seattle reports that a man suspected of killing a Mt. Rainier Park Ranger on Sunday has been found dead.

From King 5:

A law enforcement officer with knowledge of the situation said Benjamin Colton Barnes was found in a ditch.

About 200 personnel from several law enforcement agencies were involved in the search for Barnes, said Ranger Kevin Bacher at a media briefing.

Barnes, who is also a suspect in a New Year's Eve shooting in Skyway, was believed to be heavily armed. Bacher said it's possible that Barnes had sufficient all-weather gear to survive overnight in the park's heavy snow and cold temperatures.

Most of the polling in Iowa over the last few days shows a photo finish in the GOP caucuses there on Tuesday, but a new American Research Group survey shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with a bit of breathing space. Romney gets 22 percent in the ARG poll, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) sees 17 percent support, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum gets 16, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has 15 percent. The rest of the field is in single digits.

The latests InsiderAdvantage poll of Iowa conducted on New Year’s Day showed a Romney and Paul essentially tied.

That’s Newt Gingrich talking about his chances in Iowa, though his chances of winning the nomination after a poor showing in Iowa will be low. Asked whether he can win the Hawkeye State at an Iowa event Monday morning, Newt responded: “No. I don’t think I’m going to win. I think you look at the numbers.” Newt blamed this on the volume negative attacks that have blanketed Iowa’s airwaves over the past month.

Mitt Romney earlier on Monday called the U.S. economy an “American tragedy.” The Republican candidates are sprinting toward Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, with Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum leading the polls. Watch Romney’s appearance, via the AP:

In Polk City, Iowa, Santorum responded to a question about health care by saying that he would not be running for president if it weren’t for Obamacare. There is no one in this race who will create a clearer contrast with Obama on health care than me, Santorum said.

Trey Atwater, a Fort Bragg soldier, is in jail in Texas after bringing explosives in military-grade wrapping to Midland International Airport this weekend. The explosives did not have a detonator Atwater will be arraigned on Tuesday.


Authorities overnight evacuated more than 100 Mount Rainier National Park visitors as a massive manhunt is underway to find a gunman who fatally shot a park ranger. The AP reports that the gunman is still in the woods, armed with weapons. Police released this photo of a man sought in connection with the shooting.