The Big Conversation:

Gov. Rick Perry brought one of his most prominent supporters to Iowa on Tuesday, and he quickly proved his worth.

In the midst of his two-and-a-half-week, 40-plus-city Iowa bus tour, Perry stumped in Iowa on Tuesday with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who endorsed Perry in September.

As the Tribune's Reeve Hamilton reported, Jindal nearly stole the spotlight from Perry when he came to the Texas governor's aid during a question-and-answer session with voters in Maquoketa. Perry was asked if his flat-tax plan included the current tax system's standard deduction, and he said no. But Jindal quietly chimed in, "Rick, you actually keep a standard deduction in your flat tax."

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"Thank you for correcting me on that," Perry told Jindal. "Not that I ever make a mistake."

Jindal, who introduced Perry as "the next president of the United States," went on praise his Texas counterpart for understanding that "you can’t tax your way to prosperity." He said Perry has "led the effort against excessive regulations coming out of Washington, D.C."

Jindal also drew sharp contrasts between Perry and President Barack Obama.

"Let’s be honest: He gives a great speech," Jindal said of Obama. "Let’s also be honest: He hadn’t really run anything until he became president of the United States."

The Perry campaign hopes the presence of Jindal, who will also appear on the campaign trail today, adds some executive heft to Perry's struggling campaign. "I think Gov. Jindal can speak to … that outsider message of what does a state governor really do," said Perry's Iowa campaign chairman, Bob Haus, who said the bus tour has given Perry momentum.


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  • Ron Paul, who has recently moved into the lead in several Iowa polls, said Tuesday that he's banking on a victory in the Hawkeye State to propel him past Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in the New Hampshire primary. "I’m on the verge of saying it’s in the bag," Paul told the Boston Herald. "Iowa has something big to do with it. If we win or get a close second, we can build our credibility. There’s this thing that’s very real in politics called momentum." CNN reported Tuesday that the campaign has begun airing a slick new ad in the two early states that takes aim at several of Paul's rivals, including Rick Perry.
  • As the Tribune's Ross Ramsey reports in this week's Campaign Roundup, Rep. Erwin Cain, R-Como, has become the 27th member of the state House to decide not to seek re-election in 2012. As a result of redistricting, Cain was drawn into the same district as fellow Republican Dan Flynn, R-Van. The two Williamses — Michael, the former railroad commissioner, and Roger, the former Texas secretary of state — have also filed for Congress in hopes that the Legislature's plan prevails in the ongoing legal fight over the state's maps.
  • Today the Tribune brings you its most comprehensive campaign finance data application yet. A new interface gives you access to millions of campaign contributions and expenditures dating back to 2000.

"As long as no one is misstating the facts, I don’t consider that to be negative. It’s always in the eye of the beholder."Rick Perry on Newt Gingrich's recent complaint that the Republican race has become too negative


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