Let the buses roll. A week before Iowa caucus-goers start the 2012 Republican presidential nominating contest, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were starting cross-state bus tours on Tuesday (although Gingrich’s would be an abbreviated tour, The Des Moines Register reported.)
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who already has visited each of the state’s 99 counties, was hosting a series of “Faith, Family and Freedom” town halls.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney planned a Tuesday afternoon arrival and evening speaking engagement before his own three-day bus tour beginning Wednesday, when Texas Rep. Ron Paul also had events scheduled in the state.
Of the major GOP candidates, only former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman had no announced Iowa plans this week, choosing to focus on New Hampshire, where the first primary is held Jan. 10 and where his campaign is depending on a strong finish.
But if you’re in Iowa and can’t find a candidate, you may not be trying very hard. On Tuesday alone, Iowans have 22 chances to see a Republican candidate speak “live and in person,” the Register counts.
And then there’s television.
Republican candidates and political action committees spent more than $10 million in TV and radio ads in December alone, the state’s largest newspaper reports. It has even compiled a collection of those December TV ads that aired in the state.
The Washington Post on Tuesday offered a brief history and primer on the Iowa caucuses.