Iowa Looms Large for Republican Presidential Candidates

President bypassing Congress altogether?


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," October 24, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Hey! By the way, Donald Trump sent out a tweet saying I should be fired here. But guess what, Donald? I've now moved up to the B block, man, ever since you tweeted. So, keep it up, will you? I'd be fine.

And, by the way, I happen to like you, you know? You don't have to be so thin-skinned about it. You're a decent guy.

Welcome back to "The Five." We have a bunch of 2012 news to talk about.

But, look, the Iowa caucus is just 70 days away, which in political speak is not much at all. And Iowa is going to be the beginning of the end for a few of these munchkins running for president, I believe.

Let me give you a quick review about where I think this thing is. The Romney campaign has a very difficult choice. They were downplaying Iowa because they thought they didn't have to play there and they're going to put the mark down in New Hampshire.

Two things have happened. One, there is nobody really moving in Iowa right now. Cain is the hot property in Iowa, but he has no organization whatsoever. And there's history in Iowa that people are hot with the organization not going anywhere.

There is -- Perry has gotten -- you're going to talk about this -- just got some new people. Perry is in a much better position in Iowa. And Bachmann is out of it.

So, I have a prediction over which I'll make a little bit later about who will win the Iowa caucuses. But the point is that Romney has to go in. If he comes in fourth, that's not good for him.

Whoever wins Iowa is going to give him a hard time in New Hampshire because expectations for him in New Hampshire are so high.


BECKEL: And he's not going to make them.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: On Michele Bachmann, I have a question for you that I have been wondering all day. Do you think that she is out, but do you think -- when do you think she is out in Iowa or from the presidential campaign altogether?

BECKEL: I think she'll -- I think she'll probably stay in, because there's a lot more debates now being brought together before Iowa. She'll probably stay until then. Then she'll have to get out because money is going to drive her out.

PERINO: The money is a problem. Last week, we had a situation where -- well, we didn't, they did -- where her campaign in Hampshire, the paid staff hadn't been paid in a month and they all walked out. And they put out a statement today.

I do think, though, that she stays in for a while because she can. It's not terribly expensive. She does have volunteer. And her book comes out November 21st. It's called "Core of Conviction."

BECKEL: Trust me, these candidates going to South Carolina.

Perry has hired a bunch of new people.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: I think Nevada moving to the February 24th is going to help Perry because --

BECKEL: It is, absolutely.

BOLLING: It would be Iowa, and then you have New Hampshire, which Romney is going to walk away with.

GUILFOYLE: He doesn't think so now. That's what I'm curious.

BOLLING: Hail Mary --

BECKEL: No, no, I'm just saying -- whoever comes out of Iowa will knock him down in points.

GUILFOYLE: You still think --


BECKEL: Oh, sure.


BOLLING: So let's just say whomever wins Iowa, Romney wins New Hampshire, and then it paves the way for all of a sudden, now, Rick Perry in South -- a lot of people say Rick Perry is going to hold South Carolina. That's a nice little --

BECKEL: That's a good analysis because Romney had depended on Nevada. You know, he was the only one not protesting Nevada making the move. Why? A big Mormon population, he was going to win it.

Now, it's not until early February, which means that he's going to have Florida before he gets to Nevada and gets that --

GUILFOYLE: And it gives Perry more time to try to recover. And he's hired two top veteran strategists.

BCKEL: Outside of Texas. That's right. Outside of Texas.

And I think that people who understand Iowa. It's 99 counties. It's a complex deal.


BECKEL: And I think Perry has got a real shot here. Somebody is going to emerge.

But here's my outside prediction about -- it's either Perry or the upset prediction is going to be Newt Gingrich will be the winner or second place in Iowa. OK.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: You overlooked development that I've been watching closely for the past number of days. You know I run a Web site devoted to Sununu -- John Sununu. It's called Sununu News. And he just endorsed Mitt Romney.

Fun fact. In Hawaiian, Sununu actually means "an endorsement no one cares about."




BOLLING: Sununu News -- how do you spell "news"?

GUTFELD: N-E-W-Z. I want to get hip kids involved.

GUILFOYLE: Has that worked?

BECKEL: You know, Romney has virtually everybody who supposedly anybody in New Hampshire. I can tell you the history of New Hampshire. Those endorsements, though, matter all that much. I don't think Sununu is going to be able to move many votes.

But the point about New Hampshire is that Romney will win New Hampshire, but he won't win by 20 points -- which is the expectation going into it now. Somebody is going to get a lot of momentum coming out of Iowa and it's going to knock him down. His win will not be as big in New Hampshire.

PERINO: And someone who has momentum that is seizing back some spotlight is Rick Perry -- Governor Rick Perry of Texas. And you mentioned that he's hired some staff.

What he did was he went -- he'd have -- he was a late entrant in the race as we know. He had a lot of his loyal followers and his teammates had been with him for a long time. Now, they have gone outside the circle and hired these veterans who are battle-tested. One of them is actually named Warfield, which I think is appropriate.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida hired these guys and he listened to them -- which is really important.

BECKEL: Right.

PERINO: And he went to victory in Florida. So, I think that this is a really good, smart strategy by Perry camp that will get them some attention and some momentum into the next debate.

BECKEL: Let's spring this back around to Romney in Iowa. Romney was, I said earlier, was going to try to duck Iowa. Now, if you are a Romney campaign, you look, there is no apparent, obvious frontrunner in Iowa. And you are the front runner nationally. You've got to play in Iowa. You just have to.

And I think it's a death trap for him in a lot of ways because he's not an Iowa type of candidate. He got 25 percent there last time. But he does one thing that the rest of them don't, except for Newt, which is an organization.

BOLLING: I would -- I think what you are saying at least appears that if Newt wins, it's OK for Romney. It's not OK if Perry wins?

BECKEL: That's correct. Absolutely.

But in any event, if it's Newt or Perry, they're going to knock some points off of Romney.

GUILFOYLE: I know you like (INAUDIBLE) Herman Cain who is polling very well in Iowa. So, where do you think he's going to end up in your little --

BOLLING: Well, I think he's going to probably end up fourth because I'll tell you why, you can be hot, but you have to have organization to deliver the bodies and he, by his own admission, has no organization. It's 99 counties, thousands of caucuses. And he's not prepared to do it.

Whether Perry is or not, I don't know if he is.

PERINO: I think Santorum might do better in Iowa.

BECKEL: He may, he may.

PERINO: And I think he could get into that upper tier.

I also think that Romney -- and you're a big fan of setting the expectation low in politics. I think the Romney has set expectations so low in Iowa that when they do come in maybe second, it will be a big deal.

BECKEL: If he can pull it off. I don't think he can.

One last point, is that Senator Graham from South Carolina said that these candidates, Republican candidates ought to talk about foreign policy -- which I think is just -- that doesn't make sense. It's not foreign policy election.

And, frankly, this is the first time that if Obama has an edge one place, it's on foreign policy election.


BECKEL: These guys haven't come up with anything.

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