The gang's all here, so let's light this candle.
Republican candidates for president (sure, none has announced yet but we all know they're running) are gathering Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, for the first-of-the-cycle event -- the Iowa Freedom Summit.
All eyes will be on two governors, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. But other notables include a pair of former governors, Rick Perry of Texas and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 but lost the nomination.
Also delivering 20-minute speeches today are Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump (really), former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Hewlett-Packard Co Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (who told the Washington Post on Friday that she is “seriously interested” in running for the White House in 2016).
A few notables are not attending: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Also missing are Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former veep candidate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, both occasionally mentioned as potential 2016 candidates.
You can follow it all live here: http://features.desmoinesregister.com/news/politics/freedom-summit/live.php
Speaking times (EDT) are:
Carson -- 11:50 a.m.
Trump -- 12:15 p.m.
Walker -- 1
Santorum -- 3:10
Cruz -- 4
Palin -- 5
Christie -- 5:45
Huckabee -- 6:10
The back-to-back speechfest is organized by Iowa's conservative Republican Rep. Steve King.
Most watched will no doubt be Christie, who many conservatives think will not do well in Iowa. There are rumors that if he runs, he will skip the state's caucuses to focus on other states where he has a better chance to win. But his appearance Saturday signals that we will could well make an effort in the conservative and religious breadbasket state.