ALL EYES ON FLORIDA – Man, those McCainiacs and Mittens are mixing it up down there. It’s been fun to watch the blow by blow press releases. It’s a tall tale sign that this thing is going to be close. It’s being reported that there are more Democrat absentees than the Rs. Billary is counting on the fact when it boils down, and if they are the nominee… the DNC isn’t going to punish these states and place all of their delegates. She’ll even be down there tonight to claim the victory. Anyhow, polls close tonight at 6:00pm Iowa time for most of Florida and 7:00pm in the panhandle. Trivia of the day, there are 2 time zones in the Sunshine State.

McCain picked up a huge endorsement Saturday night of a very popular Governor in Charlie Crist. My contacts down there are telling me it really paid off and they are seeing real results. What was really funny to watch, was the fact that the buzz of the evening was Obama taking his opponents to the woodshed in South Carolina, but when the Crist story broke, all networks zeroed in on Florida carrying the Crist endorsement live. Big score for McCain, let’s see how it goes.

Also, if what the polls are showing do become true tonight, any bets on Hizzoner’s future? There’s a comment section below dudes… let’s hear it.

PRESIDENT BUSH’S FINAL SOTU – That’s means State of the Union for you Roland Story grads reading (snicker). I’m a NBC guy as I have said… who knew that American Gladiators would be such a hit (with Hulkamania running wild)… although I judge the new Knight Rider… what’s next? Bringing back the A-Team… don’t tempt me. Anyhow, I tuned into NBC to catch the SOTU.

It’s always been sort of fun for me to watch the SOTU, ever since I was a kid. I always get a charge when the sergeant at arms says, “Mister/Madam Speaker, the President of the United States!” That’s the junkie in me I guess… no matter who’s the President at the time. For you Washington types reading, I want the dope on who are the head yell leaders during these speeches.

5 points for the first person to email me which member of the cabinet that wasn’t in the house chamber in case the most terrible of terrible happened.

As a guy who worked on both of his campaigns for President… it’s a… kind of… well, nostalgic if you’ll humor me. The Bush campaign is where, I guess, I made my cut into this stuff. From organizing precinct leaders in Northwest Iowa, to a quick stint in Indiana, to chasing a chad filled Ryder truck to Tallahassee and running a motor pool at the inaugural in 2000. From hitting the field hard and running phone banks until the phones broke, to managing large crowds at rallies and turning Iowa red for the first time since Reagan… proving every vote, does indeed count in 2004. What a thrill.

Glad to hear he talked about curbing spending and threatening a veto with it. I really do believe that, in a big picture view, you gut the spending in Washington and you’ll truly see the Fed’s problems seem a bit easier to manage. Plus, it’s our money, right? Oh, I could go on a rant…

Oh, the Kansas Gov is doing the Dem response? Weak response by the way… that’s the best the other side could do? OK, I get it… you’re reading a teleprompter, I get it. I know the Chiefs suck and the Royals well… don’t want to go there. But don’t let their fails bring you to this type of response. Show some emotion lady! This speech has been in the can for a while… right? This is the front runner for the veep on the other side? Huh? Way to ruin a moment… sigh…

And Hillary too? My Pops said it best, “How many ash trays were flying in the Clinton hotel room last Saturday night?’ My guess is… a few.


Start the MusicI think when you are reading the Weekend Update... it's more fun if you're playing that while you read it. Done, it's man law now.
IT'S THE CIRCLE OF LIFE, SIMBA: Greetings from a very balmy 50 degree Kearney, MO. I am on location for my niece Ainsley's 1st birthday.

Funny how things become full circle. It's almost exactly 1 year since I just started hitting the trail for John McCain in Central Iowa... my bosses were nice enough to let me head down Liberty Hospital for a couple days to help celebrate Ainsley entering the World. And today, she's right here having fun giving with her Uncle Grant blogging another Weekend Update.
BREAKING NEWS - NEW CHAIR: Anyway... Weekend Update is back with breaking news from 621 East 9th Street (only a few hours after the fact, bad reception on I-35... such as life). Stew Iverson is the new Chair of the Republican Party of Iowa. Congratulations Mr. Chairman and all who ran.
I don't have any vote counts... and won't, it's a closed ballot and I'm not interested in broadcasting that type of stuff here. But I can give you some insight of how a State Cental Committee (SCC) meeting goes down. It's not any new Amercia Undercover type of stuff if you are in the know or have been to one. And it's certainly not a secret or fraternal order ceremony ala the movie Skulls... so you folks in the tin hat crowd can go back to worrying about black helicopters, rest assured. And if you still don't beleive me, there's a monkey bubble over by Pella they want to that build you could buy.

When the SCC meets, they roll in to RPI on Friday evening from all over the state (3 reps per congressional district, 2 national committeee peeps, ect.). They split into the different committees Organization, Legislative, and others. Then informally, members will go grab a bite to eat with the others or retire for the evening.

The big meeting is Saturday. All RPI staff attend, usually, with the entire SCC. The Chair brings the meeting order and away we go. There's member, district, commitee reports given by all who are present. Basically, nothing different from a basic company board meeting... except that their business is electing good people.

An occational candidate, elected official or presidential wannabe will drop by and be able to speak to the group. Then, it's lunch time. Usually catered food from Darrell "the legend" Kearney's son Kent. (Who own a great place to eat "Our Cafe" down in Carlisle, good food and good times, check it out)

Kent usually has something awesome to eat for the SCC and staff... and the occational mooching staffer who works for another campaign in the building... um, I've been a repeat offender on that count. Well, it was gonna go to waste and do I need to tell you how many starving kids... blah, blah, blah... In the words of Rush Limbaugh, "YOU PEOPLE!"
After lunch, back to convene again to discuss the business as described above and they wrap up around 2 or 3. That's pretty much it. Any SCC members any details i have might have missed?

Again, congrats to Chairman Iverson... do you think I could get him to do a 7.2 Questions?

That's the news and I am out of here....


Start the Music… (another 5 points if you can put it together)

Yet another feature, Weekend Update with G$. I’ll be traveling to Little Miss Ainsley’s 1st Birthday this weekend in Kearney, MO (just north of KC). Not sure when I’ll be able to post an update for you all. So here’s a wrap up on what I’m working on…

COUNTDOWN – Saturday is the big vote at RPI for a new State Chair. Who will have the Perry Mason Speech that closes the deal? Keeping an ear on what’s going on in Florida. And the “Button Guy’s” post is on the way, a story that should turn instant classic.

BIG PEACH – Let the hype begin! Super Bowl is a week from Sunday. Red hot Drake takes on UNI at the Knapp Center. Maybe I can get some local skinny on my beloved Chiefs and Royals while in KC.

DON’T HASSLE ME – Hitting a good Mexican joint on Saturday… per my plans. Will tell you about it.

MIX TAPE HEAVEN – Finishing up on a good one to go along with a big announcement next week.

7.2 QUESTIONS - Actually having some good success with this idea. Have a few good ones lined up. Same questions every time… different people… We’ll see what happens.

Well, that’s the news and I am out of here…

Scenes From An Irish Restaurant - My Debate Recap

“A glass of Guinness, a pitcher of Lite,
Gonna do some, live blogging tonight.
Grab a chair, get the TV straight,
Here I am, in a familiar place,
Candidates go face to face…

A bottle of Coors, maybe a Bud Light,
Will there be some sparks in this debate tonight?
They’ll let you watch anything you want,
In this Irish restaurant…”

Sorry for butchering one of THE great Billy Joel songs… but I think that’s the vibe of the night. Ready to start… away we go!

8:01 – Just getting the TV up and going, live music here tonight, not the best venue for a live blog, but hey, if you can’t practice this stuff at your favorite bar…. Where can you, right? Romney gets the first question

8:03 – No captioning on the main TV here, so I’m going to have to use the force (shout out Yoda) to figure out what they are saying. John McCain is up…

8:06 – In other news, John McCain got the endorsement of the New York Times… on to Rudy… my guess is he’s talking 9-11 right? Looks like they are talking about the economy… I don’t know, I can’t hear.

8:08 – Just caught that they are talking about the War on Terror… enter McCain

8:10 – Right on, Zach’s working tonight… Russert is trying to get Huckabee to pick a fight with Mitt

8:11 – panning off to McCain and Mitt… Huckabee is still talking… now Russert is trying to start another fight. McCain v. Romney taxes and spending

8:14 – Here comes some sparks… I think… right on Senator, it’s not just about cutting taxes, it’s the spending stupid… urgh… Ron Paul is still here…

8:16 – Ron Paul… RON PAUL! Ron Paul… RON PAUL! Not fan sometimes… but a catchy cheer.

8:19 – Rudy needs to start swinging if wants some traction.

8:21 – McCain talking spending is the real deal. He’s right. That’s why I support the guy.

8:23 – from time to time, I’ll get emails of saying what’s really going on in the debate….
- JMart at the Politico sez, Huck wants a super highway from Maine to FL, huh?
- AMPSEC has, McCain on Bush tax cuts
- ABC News Live Bloggers – say for the record Mitt took the first swing McCain tonight

8:27 – I can report the beer is cold, as always at Flanagan’s

8:29 – Question for McCain on War efforts… we’re going to lose the sound because of live music. Have bberry, will have stuff. McCain reminding everyone he was the only one who supported to outing of Rumsfeld and the new strategy…. Here comes the tunes… nice Bill is doing “Cats and the Cradle.” Hell yea!

8:34 – McCain looks relaxed and in control…

8:36 – Rudy just hit something on Ron Paul… he’ll be sure to get applause.

First Break – Looks like a pretty quiet one here in the first 3rd of this thing. Quick thoughts:
- Being a McCain guy aside here, Mr. Mayor, you are bleeding… keep this up and we will be reading your Fred story next week.
- McCain seems to be having a good night.
- Others, eh…
- Bill Matykowski is sounds good as always on Thursdays at Flanagan’s

8:45 – Can’t hear anything… but Bill is starting into the “City of New Orleans”. Looks like questions between the candidates? “Good morning America, how are ya… don’t you know me…” Ooops… need Zach’s help to charge the lap top.

8:48 – “And I’ll gone 500 miles before the day is done.” Damn I love that song. My Uncle Mark does a great version of it too. Ron Paul is talking McCain or something. Question to candidates’ time continues.

8:52 – Huck to Romney… Mitt looks mad…

8:56 – Mitt asking McCain, Bill is wrapping up… will have the sound up on the TV soon…

8:58 – Reading a good Traditional Irish Toast: “As you slide down the banisters of life may the splinters never point the wrong way.”

9:00 – Bill is done… good show my friend. Rudy looking animated. Sound up on the TV. McCain talking global warming. I subscribe to his argument on this issue… For you hockey fans, we are on to the 2nd intermission. Kind of feel like Ronald Reagan back in his WHO Radio days. Having to stall while reading the ticker covering a Chicago Cubs game. This stuff is kind of fun regardless of my poor planning and tech issues. With the sound up… let’s see how I do now…

9:05 – Williams to Rudy on his poll numbers in FL. Good question, actually. References the NY Giants… who are going to get killed Patriots by the way… but that’s for Big Peach post.

9:06 – Question for McCain about his Ma’s comments today, numbers with Rs and being a maverick… good answer… would I think any different though? Seriously, been saying this for a year.

9:09 – Mitt on the Clintons… decent answer… money question… how much has a spent? This is why I like Russert.

9:12 – Over hearing one of the townies here about Mitt Romney, “Man he’s a lot like John Kerry.” Couldn’t agree more pal. The Dems know this as well.

9:15 – Ron Paul asked about why he wants to abolish Social Security… here we go… oh hey, Phil’s here. Word up Phil… that guy is funny as hell! Visit Starbuck Drive-In in Nevada (pronounced in Iowa: Nah-vae-duh, even the President got it right on a visit to Nevada)… good food. He runs it… get the pork tenderloin… they are homemade in house.

9:17 – Huck gets questions on entitlement programs… kind of a late shot on Mitt… must of have been in the can for what…. 10 minutes? Bad timing… Fair Tax stuff…

9:19 – Mitt Romney a big fan of Reagan? Blah, blah, blah… no raising of taxes….

9:22 – Rudy on English speaking only for immigrants… why is he running ads in Spanish is the question… seriously… all of our guys are saying this, then run ads in espanol… sigh…

9:23 – follow up by Russert on Cubans… interesting… Anyone want to bet who goes first? Al Davis or Fidel Castro? Both Cuba and the Oakland Raiders will be better for it. Spoken like a true Chiefs fan, aye?

9:24 – Question to Huck on Chuck Norris’ questioning McCain’s age… good answer by Huck, endorsing McCain, again. Gov. Huckabee… respect you a lot… no seriously, we can always dust off a seat for you on the Straight Talk Express. I’m not biased by the way (snicker).

9:26 – McCain responds with his endorsement with Sly and Stormin’ Normin’… Remember the Chris Farley as Stormin’ Norman on Weekend Update? “I want Holyfield! I want Holyfield! You saw what these guns could do in the Gulf! Holyfield-Schwartzkopf! Atlantic City! The War on the Shore!” Man I love that one…

9:27 – Question goes to Rudy on the NYT endorsement of McCain and Clinton in tomorrows addition…

9:29 – Question to Mitt on the charge he changes his positions on which ever the way the wind blows. Blah, blah…

9:31 – McCain has a temper? While I outta!!! Man, I have to find the Doonesbury cartoon I kept by my desk for a while…

9:32 – Huck question about his faith in the campaign… good answer. Yea, I know my times are a bit ahead of the thing… my phone clock is just fast I guess…

9:34 – Ron Raul is… I should order some food… kitchen closes soon.

9:35 – Debate is over. This was fun. Bill sounded great tonight and is working on a few of my favorite songs for the next Thursday. Now on to the spin room and post debate stuff.

My post debate thoughts and what did I learn:
- Do better planning when you’re going to live blog… this was a practice round
- Nothing new tonight… honestly, couldn’t hear much of the debate… will have to catch the highlights again
- Rudy didn’t look like he gained much tonight. Good reference about the Giants, love me some sports references.
- I’m a big Russert fan. He should do all of the debates… he really presses the questions… love it on Sunday morning. “Go Bills beat the…”
- The Economy will be the issue this fall, duh…
- Florida Atlantic University’s Owl logo is becoming one of my new favorites… nice work.
- OK, all the spin about the MSM… but you want reliable stuff? I’m a NBC guy. Always have. You know the leanings of their guys and gals… but one of the oldest and reliable sources… blah, blah, blah…
- The staff and regulars at Flanagan’s really did humor me tonight while letting me do this little project. A very, very special thanks to all of them.
- Our party needs to couple cutting taxes with cutting spending, pronto. Our economy is looking troublesome. Giving out checks is not enough… we need the whole package.
- Looks way warmer in Boca Raton than in Des Moines (duh)… heat wave of 30s is on the way!

“Whooooah, Whoah, Whoah, Whoaaaaaaaah….

(insert piano and saxophone)

A bottle of Bud, maybe some High Life,
Lots of fun doing debate blogging tonight.
McCain did great and say want you want,
In this Irish Restaurant.”

Oh hey! My buddy Pete is here… order one more pitcher… until then “My friends” as John McCain says…


Live (sort of) from Flanagan's... it's the GOP Debate!

Tonight is the Florida GOP Debate on MSNBC starting at 8:00pm Iowa time.

If you’re around, feel free to join me down at Flanagan’s (MLK and Ingersoll) for some good live music and to check out all of the debate action. But if it’s too freezing out there for you (have no fear, a heat wave of 30 degree weather is on the way, holla!) stop by here and post you thoughts during the debate.

Since ole Tim doesn’t have wifi (although it would be the coolest) I will posting a recap in the morning of the play-by-play. Should be fun for my first pseudo live blogging experience. Still trying to learn this stuff, folks… this will be good practice.

Also, in the name of shameless self promotion, I have started a new Facebook group for QCI. Simply search for the group and join! Technology is so freaking cool sometimes.

So grab your laptop and crackberry, this should be fun. Have at it!

State Chair Race, Florida & the Economy

Alright, the first “Countdown” post at QCI. Thank you for dropping by. I hope I’ll be one of your fun reads everyday. Will I be able to keep up? AND! I got my first snarky comment! Awesome!

IN IOWA: GOP grassroots activists should have their eyes set on Des Moines this weekend, As you should everyday, “those people in Des Moines” know everything! Calm down, calm down, I’m joking here, for real… I’m joking, put the pitch fork down. The State Central Committee (SCC) is gathering for their scheduled meetings with a chair election on the agenda. Ray Hoffman is not seeking reelection.

After a long list of great mentions and trial balloons, the race has seemingly come down to 3 candidates. Former State Senator Stew Iverson, Polk GOP Chair and current member of the SCC Ted Sporer, and former SCC member and current Story County Treasurer Dave Jamison.

Earlier this week, I spoke to a lot of folks who believe that Iverson is the frontrunner for obvious reasons. But given the current situation of our party as a whole in Iowa, I find it hard to believe this thing is already settled. At mid week, I have heard from others who say like the current race for the presidential nomination, this thing is still wide open. The members of the SCC are a very independent minded group, so I buy that notion.

Good luck to all. Stay tuned to here for updates on the “Showdown on East 9th.”

THE ROAD TO THE TWIN CITIES: Big debate tonight in Boca. Will there be the same fireworks we saw in the Dem debate? We’ll see. This is the other guys’ last shot at McCain before a fury of events/town halls as they sprint to the 29th. And then there were 5? Man, this race has changed. How many candidates will be at the next debate?

Also, did you see this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYfFZsFP2dc

Hell yea, that’s awesome. Rocky! Rocky! Rocky! Bring it Chuck Norris!

THE ECONOMY: Dominating everything this week, will be a huge topic in tonight’s debate (wow, great insight G$, duh). I want your thoughts on this. Is it just me on this one… why am I having a hard time thinking that passing out a bunch of checks from the Fed is a good solution to the issues with the state of the economy?

Seriously, I’m no economist. How was the Dow today? Um, not sure. Grilled cheese sandwich eating contest? Now you’re talking! Can you beat 65 in a sitting?

All clowning around a side, it’s a serious issue. I know that many of you reading this blog, know your stuff when it comes to economics. So I’m asking you guys on this one. Post your ideas and start the re-education of Grant Young.

Chew on that for a while and I’ll have more soon.

Onward to Victory,


1, 2, 3 GO? 1, 2, 3 GO...

EDITORS NOTE: Be sure to check this post for a few days. Making some changes and edits to tweak this thing. Adding more features and such. Regular posting starts this week. Stay tuned....

A little Butch Cassidy humor for you (5 points if you get the reference and I'm keeping track). Anyhow, let's get this thing going. Before I get into heavy posting here I want to officially welcome you to QCI.
Here's kind of the rundown, rules and features you can look forward to reading.
RUNDOWN: As you can see on the descriptions at the top and on the right, it's going to be a little of everything. The most important, fun. I'm not trying to make any news or contraversy here... please feel free to send me anything noteworthy or worth sharing. I'll be firm, but I'll be fair when it comes to spin type stuff. I do have my leanings as you will see. I'm a McCainiac, a Republican, a Chiefs/Royals/Hawkeye fan, love a good local joint and for the most part completely random at times. I hope you enjoy my insights, thoughts and get my jokes.
RULES: Sometimes in Iowa when you run a blog and add a little politics, it seems some people can't help themselves to post trashy attacks in the comment section. It won't be tolerated here. We'll follow Jim Rome's rule to comments and feedback. "Have a take and don't suck." Please try to keep it clean, alright? Cool. Happy posting!
FEATURES AND POSTS: From week to week, I'll be posting some regular feature posts that have a general theme as you see below. As we go along, I'll add new features, but these are the starters. Will they be a hit? Or will they be loathed? Here's the feature posts I'll be working on. Have an idea? Email me.

"The Countdown" is the continuation of my daily email I sent while on the campaign trail. As some of you know, I've been a staffer for over 8 years now. I'm absolutely not the smartest guy in the biz, but over 8 years, I met and know a lot of peeps. It'll be a rundown of what's going on in politics in Iowa and nationally. I have some very interesting correspondents out there (you'll here the story soon) scattered across the country... it'll be one of the main features of this blog.

The "BIG PEACH" is the sports features I'll do. For you younger guys out there, the "Big Peach" was the name of the Register's Sunday Sports Page because of the color of paper they printed it on. As a kid, it was big deal to read the Peach (or the sports page in general) first thing morning... way before ESPN exploded to what it is now and before the internet... if local TV didn't cover it (or I couldn't get a radio signal), it would be the first time I got to see how George Brett and the Royals did the night before. Oh, and you'll find out, when it comes to my teams, you will be reminded that the word fan is short for fanatic.

Teams I follow: KC Chiefs (all football for that matter), KC Royals, Avila U. Eagles, Northwest Bearcats, the Hawkeyes, Notre Dame, South Hamilton Hawks, and other randoms.

"The Main Event" (best Sinatra album by the way) is when I will be live blogging or provide recaps from various events. From State Party dinners to concerts, from cool get togethers to Watermelon Day. You might even get some good live updates from the legendary garage parties in Jewell or Stanhope. I'll have updates from various members of QCI's Hall of Justice Super Friends scattered all over.

When you see the victorious looking "Chairman of the Board" at Madison Square Garden on this blog, you'll want be ready with the refresh button.

I love good tunes and a good mix tape is hard to pass up. I'll share what I'm listening to from side A to side B. Look out for good mix tapes from some of my friends. Maybe my addiction to iTunes is finally going to pay off! That iTunes can be a wicked mistress sometimes... but I love her anyway...

These features are dedicated to the local joints. Not a big fan of chains... or at least national ones. What's the point of going to Stillwater, Oklahoma then going to TGIFriday's when you should hit Eskimo Joe's? Or why are you at the Applebee's in Ames when you should be filling up on chips and salsa at O'Malley and McGee's? I'll be checking out the cool off the beaten path shin digs and then tell you all about 'em.

LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING MEAN GENE! From time to time I'll get a shot to ask 7.2 questions of interesting celebs, important political hacks, and other average Joe six packs like myself. Everything will go well in the first 7 questions... until I ask the 0.2 question. Huh? Yea, let's see if others or myself can figure that out.

Well, that's about it for now. Let me know what you think and post a comment or 2.

Onward to Victory,


First Post - Under Construction

Hey Everyone!

Thought I would give this "blogging thing" a try. Starting this new blog for many of you readers of "Grant's Daily Caucus Countdown".

I'm still under a little construction here. I'm pretty picky when it comes to making this thing look right. So check back soon!