Register briefly summarizes the seven candidates hitting the state this weekend: Clintonedwardsrichardsonbidenobama on the Dem side and Romney and Tommy Thompson on the GOP side. I can't get to everything; My one definite coverage commitment is to the big Obama rally at the Pentacrest (Sunday just after noon). More and more stuff seems to be scheduled mid-day and mid-week (two Iowa City GOP events and Richardson in Cedar Rapids) and I do have that day gig to deal with.
Tommy Thompson will be problematic for shorthand when Fred Thompson enters the race; can't go with just the last name, can't go with the first name or even Tommy T. thanks to Tancredo. In any case my folks from Wisconsin get the best line: "Just when you though you couldn't do any worse than Bush, Tommy Thompson runs." The voice of 14 years of experience. All we need to have now is for Tom Tancredo's evil twin Fred Tancredo to enter the race. Wait a minute; that would have to be Tom Tancredo's good twin Fred. That'll cause a little confusion; mind if we call you Bruce?
The Iowa Dems announce their June wingding in Cedar Rapids - Clinton, Edwards, Dodd - and take shots at Obama, Biden and Richardson for not dropping their other plans. Looks like that makes JJ the one command performance.
Other news: The Iowa Senate GOP tries to capitalize on Virginia Tech and pander to the gun lobby by arming campus security. Fails on a tie vote.
Sen. Dennis Black, D-Newton, called the amendment a "knee jerk response that makes us feel good."
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, called this afternoon's debate a "shameless" effort by Senate Republicans to "play politics with a terrible tragedy."
"I think it's Senate Republicans seeing an opportunity to try to win on politics. I think that's kind of sad," Gronstal said. "Republicans see this not as a policy issue but as a political opportunity. I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Sen. Larry McKibben, R-Marshalltown, said arming campus police officers in Iowa should be a "no-brainer" after what transpired this week in Virginia. He called the argument that the decision be left to the regents "hogwash" given the current atmosphere of danger gripping the world in declaring "I'm happy to be knee-jerking."
I propose a new nickname for Larry: The Happy Jerk. Hey, he puts the football on the tee, I just kick it. Could have been worse; we could have had the dove-hunting debate again this session.