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Influential Iowa talk radio hosts go for Gingrich, Perry

By Seema Mehta and Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times –

DES MOINES, Iowa — Two influential conservative talk radio hosts announced their picks for the Republican presidential nomination, and to no one’s surprise, neither favors former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the front-runner in polls.

Steve Deace, a fiery social conservative who helped former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to victory over Romney in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, will support former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich, who often touts his relationship with President Ronald Reagan, was also endorsed this week by Reagan’s son Michael and by Art Laffer, who helped develop the theories that became known as Reaganomics.

Deace, whose syndicated program is based in Des Moines, chose Gingrich, he said in a statement, mainly for his position on the judiciary. Gingrich has proposed term limits for judges, and has said that if Supreme Court judges will not testify before Congress, federal marshals should compel them to do so. He has also said a president can ignore Supreme Court rulings. (Many legal experts have said such an act would violate the separation of powers mandated in the Constitution.)

“The Left has used unelected judges and judicial oligarch to reinvent the American way of life, from secularism to the loss of the sanctity of life, to the redefining of marriage, the confiscation of private property, and the granting of imaginary rights,” Deace said.

Des Moines-based WHO-AM host Simon Conway, a British-born naturalized American citizen, said Texas Gov. Rick Perry was his pick, but urged his listeners to vote their conscience. Deace’s embrace of Gingrich could surprise some because of Gingrich’s troubled personal past, but Deace has also admitted to personal failings.

On Wednesday, Perry spent an hour on Conway’s afternoon drive show. He came across as relaxed and knowledgeable, with none of the blunders that have plagued his debate performance.

“Rick Perry has been successfully running the 13th largest economy on the planet for the last 11 years and has been doing it very well,” said Conway. “You cannot ignore that.”

Deace is a social conservative focused on gay marriage and abortion; Conway has eschewed social issues in favor of tea party issues such as lower taxes and less regulation.

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