Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s lead in many recent Iowa polls does not mean he will emerge the winner when state caucus-goers cast their votes on Jan. 3. Branstad also told CNN”s Erin Burnett Thursday that he — like many Iowa voters — has not yet decided who to choose and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum should not be ruled out.
“Well, first and foremost, I have a lot of confidence in the Iowa caucus-goers, and I think they’re going to sort it out and decide who they think is the strongest — and just because Ron Paul is ahead today doesn’t necessarily mean he's going to win on January 3rd,” Branstad said. “We’ve had several winners, and I think a lot of voters are still undecided — looking for the best candidate, the one they think has the best vision, and the best leadership qualities to lead this country.
“I think part of Ron Paul's appeal is he’s voted against all this excessive federal spending and manipulation of the currency that’s gotten us in the mess we’re in,” the Iowa Republican said. “I certainly like his economic policies, but I have concerns about — I think he’s naive when it comes to dealing with Iran and some of the international challenges that we face.”
Branstad told Burnett that although the caucuses are just days away, there could still be several more changes in who claims front-runner status. He also said Santorum should not be dismissed as a strong contender for the Iowa crown.
“Well, I haven’t decided yet —like a lot of Iowa voters, I’m waiting to see who I think has the strongest and best message, and the best possibility of being the next president of the United States,” Branstad said. “I think a lot of Iowa caucus-goers are in that same position — so, you could still see the lead change a few more times.
“One person to look at is Rick Santorum — he’s not been the leader yet, but he’s gaining momentum — he's been to all 99 counties,” he said. “I think he is going to be a contender in the end here and . . . it’s the top three that are going to go on to New Hampshire.”
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