The Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs tweeted at 11 a.m. today that the Iowa GOP central committee has reached consensus on January 3, 2012 as the date for the state’s first in the nation caucus — jumping ahead of Nevada, Florida and South Carolina to maintain its traditional spot in the race.But the report was quickly disputed by POLITICO reporter Reid Epstein, who tweeted minutes later that “I’m told that the report that IA caucus date set for Jan 3 is NOT CORRECT.”
He added that “To clear up: Iowa GOP central committee has not set a date for its caucus, state GOP spox says. No decision made on call today.”
In the meantime, Jacobs’ tweet was picked up by The Huffington Post without attribution — which put up a post headlined: “BREAKING: 2012 presidential race moves ever closer as Iowa schedules its caucus for Jan. 3.” The post was linked to with the same headline by @BreakingNews.
But as reports that a decision had not yet been made surfaced, The Huffington Post added in the word “Report” to the title, and linked to Jacobs’ tweet.
The reports that the caucus was set for January 3rd (which Jacobs never said), overlook that GOP Chairman Matt Strawn must make the final decision and the committee must formally vote on it — a fact Jacobs attested to in a second tweet: “Waiting to see if
@MattStrawn acted on central committee guidance. #iacaucus”
UPDATE: The Des Moines Register is now reporting that a tentative decision on the January 3rd caucus date was reached, with a final vote on the date scheduled for October 16th. This is very different than the final decision, as reported by The Huffington Post.
In fact, the date of the Iowa Caucuses will not be final until New Hampshire sets a date for its primary, as Iowa holds its nominating contest eight days before the Granite State. It’s possible that New Hampshire would follow Iowa’s decision, but it could just as well move the contest into 2011.
In fact, moving the New Hampshire contest earlier may be in the interests of Mitt Romney — who pushed Nevada to push up its caucus date to January 14th — in order to inject more chaos into the Hawkeye State.
Romney is not heavily contending the Iowa Caucuses, but his most significant opponent, Rick Perry, is. Pushing the date of that contest sooner, would give Perry less time to organise, in a state where Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul have spent significant time and resources.
The Huffington Post’s original post:
The updated post:
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Jacobs’ initial tweet. She did not say the caucus date was decided by the GOP central committee — just that the committee had reached a consensus on the date.
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