Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will “pick a horse in the 2012 GOP presidential primary but told Roll Call on Tuesday that the candidate he backs must meet very specific criteria: win beyond Iowa.”
The Iowa Republican said during a brief interview that he has laid out his condition to those potential GOP presidential candidates who have sought his counsel about running in a campaign that kicks off with the quadrennial Hawkeye State presidential nominating caucuses next year. Grassley did not endorse a GOP candidate in the 2008 primary.
“Here’s what I’ve been telling people that have come to me,” said Grassley, who was elected to a sixth term last November. “I’ve said, I’m not going to make up any mind until at least well into the summer, and what I’m looking at isn’t just the guy that I think is the most ideal candidate to be president, because I want to know that they’ve got the resources, if they win Iowa, to go beyond Iowa.
“Too often you get people in Iowa that are just the ideal candidate, but then they can’t go anyplace beyond Iowa. I want somebody that’s going to be able to challenge in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada,” Grassley added. “I want to know that they’re going to be a live candidate then. So, I’m going to look at it from two perspectives: One — obviously I’m going to pick the one that I think will make the best president, but it’s going to be the one that can make the best president of those who can see the campaign through.”
He concedes “that his desire to support a candidate with staying power beyond Iowa is based partly on a concern that victory in his home state caucuses not be devalued.”