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Grassley Keeping His Powder Dry

Although he is the top-ranking Republican in the state with the first presidential caucus, Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) is in no hurry to endorse any of the 2008 GOP White House hopefuls. [IMGCAP(1)]

“If I endorse anybody, it won’t be until summer,” Grassley said in an interview this week, noting that by then the Republican field undoubtedly will have dwindled.

He did say, however, that he would like to get behind someone before the August Iowa GOP straw poll, just so no one thinks its outcome affected his decision.

Though a number of his Congressional colleagues are jockeying for position, Grassley said none corner him on the Senate floor or pressure him for his support when they see him in the halls, because they know his position and respect it.

Grassley said he is willing to meet with any GOP presidential contender who wants face time. Several have requested meetings, and Grassley tells them that he would be happy to break bread with them in the Members’ dining room in the Senate.

He also has attended Hawkeye State events to which he has been invited, including one for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and another for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R).

So what is the man who in 2000 endorsed then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush over McCain looking for in a nominee?

“The most important thing to me is who can beat Sen. [Hillary Rodham] Clinton (D-N.Y.)?” Grassley said. “I don’t think she’s good for the country; I think she’s a good Senator but I don’t think she’s” the right person to hold the presidency.

McCain: California Teamin’. McCain on Wednesday unveiled a 70-member finance team to help his presidential campaign raise money in the Golden State and nationwide.

Of the team’s 70 members, 45 are Californians, including former state Sen. Dean Andal (R), who is considering a run for California’s 11th district House seat next year; former Secretary of State and 2004 GOP Senate nominee Bill Jones; and Republican operative Marty Wilson, who has worked as a fundraiser for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).

McCain also released the names of about 130 supporters who have agreed to serve on his Arizona finance team. That may have been in response to the news Wednesday that one of his leading rivals for the GOP nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, had put together his list of leading Arizona supporters.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will serve as the honorary co-chairman of Romney’s Arizona leadership team, while Jason Rose, who runs a Phoenix-based public relations firm, will serve as the campaign’s state director. Corrine Lovas, Romney’s Arizona finance director, previously has raised money for Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Bush.

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