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Grassley mum on Republican choice

Sept. 09–With five months left until the first-in-the-nation caucus in Iowa, the state’s senior U.S. senator, Charles Grassley, a Republican, is not yet ready to endorse a presidential candidate. |By Christinia Crippes, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa

Sept. 09–With five months left until the first-in-the-nation caucus in Iowa, the state’s senior U.S. senator, Charles Grassley, a Republican, is not yet ready to endorse a presidential candidate.

Not only is Grassley waiting for a filing deadline coming next month to ensure no new candidates hop in the race, but he’s also cautious of the horse-race playing out in the media.

“I think that you don’t want to get too caught up in who’s ahead in the poll today versus tomorrow or yesterday. You’re going to find this thing swinging all over,” Grassley said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “It’s going to be pretty hard to be very definitive.”

It was harder to be definitive with another Republican presidential candidate debate Wednesday night, where potential voters got their first glimpse of Texas Gov. Rick Perry in that setting. Before the debate, Grassley pointed out Perry leads in many polls, but a poor performance could hurt his chances.

“I think it’s good that we got this big field,” Grassley said, adding, “and probably good that Perry got in — but in saying that, I haven’t expressed any judgment about Perry — but the more the merrier, and I think any of them can beat President Obama.”

Though there still is time to enter the race, and despite a recent high-profile visit to Iowa and New Hampshire from former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Grassley thinks all the candidates already are in the race. In fact, even in May, the senator did not believe Palin, who has more than hinted at throwing her hat in the ring, would run for president.

Still, he’s keeping mum on who he will select until all candidates officially have entered the race.
Though eight participated in Wednesday’s debate, recent polls suggest a two-way race between Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Indeed Grassley listed those two names, and Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, in talking about polls and who’s ahead.

Grassley previously said he would have his pick after Labor Day, but with the holiday come and past, he’s content to take a little more time to get it right.

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