For GOP presidential hopefuls, Iowa's ethanol subsidies can be a delicate issue to handle. Even if you decide, like Jon Huntsman did last weekend, to freely say that you don't have a chance to win the state because you don't support them. "I'm not competing in Iowa for a reason," he told a New Hampshire crowd. "I don't believe in subsidies that prop up corn, soybeans and ethanol."
Very risky move. Unlike Tim Pawlenty (who said he'd "gradually" "phase out" subsidies) and Mitt Romney (who posed grinning with a stalk of corn and gave full support to them), Huntsman appears to have struck a sour note with the state's GOP brass. Through the Des Moines Register, the Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz wrote a blistering response to Huntsman's apparent admission that he plans to skip the state. "We are not single-issue voters," Schultz stated before describing the candidate's remark as a "the dog ate my homework" excuse for not competing. Here's an excerpt:
Is Jon Huntsman not coming to Iowa because he opposes ethanol subsidies or because he is afraid to explain his positions on other issues?...If Mr. Huntsman refuses to compete in a bellwether state like Iowa, he is not ready for the big dance. After all, our last two presidents won the Iowa Caucus before they went to the White House.