The Iowa Corn Caucus released its report card for presidential candidates today, giving grades for different policy areas related to agriculture, including energy and biofuels, and an overall grade for each candidate.
The highest overall grade went to Newt Gingrich, who scored straight As on every single policy issue. Second in the class was Rick Santorum, who received straight As on energy policies, but faltered under farm programs in the areas of crop insurance and conservation. President Obama received a grade of B, as did Mitt Romney, but the rest of the four major Republican candidates got no more than a C minus. Rick Perry received that grade, while Michelle Bachmann was close behind with a D+ and both Herman Cain and Ron Paul got Ds. Cain in particular failed miserably in the energy policy category and farm programs – getting straight Fs in all those areas. The energy category included three specific areas – Ethanol and Energy Policy Generally; Renewable Fuels Standard; and Ethanol Infrastructure.
“Our purpose wasn’t to endorse any candidate, but instead to give farmers a tool that they could take with them to the caucuses in January,” said Iowa Corn Growers senior policy advisor Amanda Taylor. The survey for candidates was developed in conjunction with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) to include ten questions directly related to agricultural issues.
ICGA president Kevin Ross noted that only half of candidates responded to the survey, so the Corn Caucus used other methods to determine the grades. “We tracked interviews, speeches, media quotes and all things related to agriculture, including voting records of candidates who held office,” he said. The candidates who did return the survey were Obama, Cain, Gingrich and Santorum.