IOWA: Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the host of Saturday’s Conservative Principles Conference, writes an op-ed for Politico stressing the importance for presidential candidates to reach conservative voters. Describing the convergence of social and economic issues, King writes that “social moderation has certainly contributed to the $14 trillion in national debt.” He goes on to describe the priorities of Iowa caucus voters: “In debating the moral standards of American culture, we start with the basic premise that government must possess the moral authority to institute all manner of laws and regulations. In the minds of most Iowa caucus-goers, there is little difference between the ultimate power to tax and the power to define marriage.”
The Iowa GOP will co-sponsor a Republican presidential debate with ABC News in December, the Des Moines Register writes.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley says it’s too early for him to pick a favorite presidential candidate, but he did say that only two or three of the likely candidates are qualified to be president, Radio Iowa writes.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gave a pep talk to Democratic activists in Des Moines yesterday, telling the crowd of 150 that they need to “be in spring training to be able to swing for the fences” in the 2012 election.
MARYLAND: The Washington Post writes that the Maryland General Assembly is working on a bill that would move the state’s presidential primary to April, which would disband the group of three states that formed the “Potomac primary” when Maryland, Virginia and D.C. voted on Feb 12, 2008.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Haley Barbour’s next stop in New Hampshire will be on Sunday into Monday, the Union-Leader’s John DiStaso writes. He’ll visit with Upper Valley Republicans on Sunday, then visit several “landmark” restaurants on Monday. http://is.gd/PynHgc
NEVADA: “Sen. John Ensign's former administrative assistant has been indicted for allegedly violating criminal conflict of interest laws,” AP reports. “Douglas Hampton is charged with illegally lobbying the senator's staff on behalf of a Las Vegas airline company and an energy company. Hampton's wife had an affair with Ensign that has sidetracked the Republican senator's political career. Ensign announced this month that he would not seek a third term. Federal law prohibits a former senior Senate aide from lobbying the Senate for one year after terminating employment.”