Aiming for Ames

Mark the date, Mitt: August 11, 2007. That's when the Iowa Republican Party will hold its traditional Ames straw poll, according to yesterday's Des Moines Register. The poll is one of the big early media-grabbing opportunities for Presidential candidates.

The Ames fundraising event has long since become thoroughly unrepresentative of actual Iowa caucus voters -- campaigns bus people in from far and wide just to vote in the poll -- so now it gets hailed as importance evidence of the candidates' level of campaign organization.

And this time around, a whole slew of other states' GOP organizations are scheduling "straw polls" in conjunction with their annual meetings or special events, which may dull the impact of the results.

Nevertheless, you'd better believe Romney's folks have put a big red circle on that day in their calendars. They may have already called to reserve some busses.

[David S. Bernstein]
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