Rep. Steve King Still Unwilling To Endorse Any Of The GOP Candidates With Iowa Caucuses Just Days Away


It looks like an endorsement by that "kingmaker" Rep. Steve King in Iowa is turning out to be about as important as one from the Snowbilly from Wasilla during this GOP presidential primary race.

On CNN's State of the Union, Candy Crowley still couldn't get King to commit to which candidate he wants to endorse even though we're just days away from the Iowa caucuses.

CROWLEY: You can't be in Iowa too long without hearing the name Steve King. The Republican congressman's endorsement is well quoted by some of the presidential candidates stomping through this state. But so far they've come up empty-handed. And that's including one of his good friends, Michele Bachmann.

Steve King is join meg here in Des Moines. Congressman, thank you so much for being here. I want to remind you of the last time we were together, which was in August right after the Ames straw poll, which was won by your good friend, Michele Bachmann.


REP. STEVE KING (R-IOWA): I, like everyone, needs to measure who would make the best President of the United States. I already know who will make the best friend. But we need to weigh who will make the best President of the United States, and I want to sit back for a while and get into September and see how these candidates conduct themselves.


CROWLEY: Not only are we into September, we're actually into January now. We have two more days, three more -- two more days till the caucuses. Who's your choice here?

KING: OK, first I was wearing the same time, and so I need to go out and buy some ties. But it was my choice. And, you know, this is just a very tough decision. And --

CROWLEY: Why is it so tough though?

KING: It's tough because of a whole series of things. More than one friend in this race, for one thing. And those things do weigh into this, although it should be and needs to be about who will make the best President of the United States, who will best match up against Barack Obama, who carries the principles best, who has emerged through this crucible.

This is a gauntlet here in Iowa, and it's a -- and it's an even tougher gauntlet going through New Hampshire and South Carolina and beyond. And I'll tell you what: one of the things that holds me back -- and it's in an article in the "Des Moines Register" day before yesterday that Jim DeMint and I wrote. But to have that vision of how the budget situation that we are in has changed since August: it's gotten worse.

And it's clear to me that the leadership doesn't exist ,or at least it's not deployed in Congress, in the House or the Senate, to lead us out of this and get us to the point where we can pay the first dollar -- the first net dollar off our national debt.

That's part of -- I want to hear that. I want to know they believe it and they can lead America where we need to go to get us back from the abyss of a fiscal calamity. And that's part of it. I haven't seen that with the clarity that I want to see. And if me holding back on this helps get that case before the American people, I 'm -- I may well have to do that.

CROWLEY: Well, the power of your endorsement is greatest here in Iowa. You are a social conservative. Certainly, if you look at the slate of candidates, you would have to say Rick Santorum comes closest to you in terms of the social issues. Am I correct?

KING: Well, you know, I don't know about that. He's, you know, very, very strong. His reputation, his activities in it is very, very strong. Michele Bachmann has a strong set of beliefs that match up with Rick Santorum.


CROWLEY: Let me rephrase: of those who now look as though they may come out of Iowa with one of the three tickets, Rick -- between Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney?

KING: I'd be closer on the social issues with Rick Santorum, of those three, without question.

CROWLEY: Is that (inaudible)?

KING: And Rick Perry needs to have a nod, because of where, you know, where he stands. He's very solid, too. But go ahead.

CROWLEY: Does that -- is that paramount to you? Or is now electability something that comes into play?

KING: I think it's three things. I -- yes, I'm a social conservative, but I'm also a fiscal conservative. And I am a full spectrum conservative. It's always been that way. I've always gone where I thought the greatest urgency existed for it to weigh in on these issues. And it's -- so it's the bread though, the fiscal issues meeting a balanced budget amendment.

If somebody that understands that and will get that done, someone who will stand on the issues of life and marriage, and then to take a look at the electability, and having a foreign policy and the vision for where America needs to go to take us upwards to the next level of our destiny, I am still looking for that.

And if that instant comes and I'm convinced that one will do a significant better job than the others, I won't hesitate. I'll step in. But it has to be a conviction on my part. I don't think I'd be doing justice to this privilege that I have if it were not a conviction.


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