In a mood more anti-Obama than pro-Romney, Idaho Republicans are hammering out their 2012 platform this weekend at their annual state convention, being held on the campus of the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls.
"We're engaged in a battle for the heart and soul of the American people," Idaho's junior U.S. Sen. Jim Risch said Friday. "And I'm convinced that this November's race for the White House will come down to three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. If you can tell me who wins two of those three states, I can tell you who will win the White House. We can win Florida. We'll probably lose Pennsylvania. I think it comes down to a knock-down, drag-out fight in Ohio."
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna teamed with up with Idaho First Lady Lori Otter to tout the so-called "Luna Laws," which are being challenged in three referenda on the November ballot, but Luna was quick to share the credit for the reforms.
"These laws are not the work of Tom Luna," he said. "I want to thank Gov. [C.L. "Butch"] Otter and all of the Republican legislators here today that helped make them a reality."
Luna said the reforms were the only path to turn what he called "good" Idaho schools into "great" schools.
"I tell people that I'm comfortable with a good marriage, but my wife wants a great marriage," said Luna. "And that transfers to other parts of our lives. We need greatness."
In particular, Luna targeted Idaho teacher unions for launching formal opposition to the changes.
"The union doesn't like this because the money doesn't sift through their fingers during collective bargaining," said Luna.
Luna said papers had been filed with the Idaho Secretary of State's office, laying the ground work for a formal political action committee, designed to advocate for the Luna Laws.