Video: Perry pitches presidential bid in Iowa

  1. Transcript of: Perry pitches presidential bid in Iowa

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now we turn to politics, the campaign trail of 2011 for 2012 , and for the Republicans it's a different ball game after this weekend. They have an altered lineup and a big-name new candidate. Now the president has joined in with a three- state bus tour of his own to lay out his case. We have two reports on this tonight, beginning with Kelly O'Donnell in Des Moines . Kelly , good evening.

    KELLY O'DONNELL reporting: Good evening, Brian . It took just 48 hours to really shake up this race. Saturday's straw poll victory gives Michele Bachmann some new stature. It forced Tim Pawlenty to abandon his campaign. But the biggest difference right now, the Texas governor is off and running.

    Governor RICK PERRY: How's the John Deere man doing?

    O'DONNELL: Bringing his Texas -size personality to the Iowa State Fair for the first time ...

    Gov. PERRY: This way.

    O'DONNELL: ... Rick Perry , the longest-serving governor in Texas history , told Iowa he's ready for the White House .

    Gov. PERRY: I think you want a president that is passionate about America , that's in -- that's in love with America .

    O'DONNELL: Perry aides said their first goal is a stumble-free campaign rollout. Do you feel you're behind at all, just in timing?

    Gov. PERRY: Oh, you know, I got a little time to make up, I know that. I got -- I got in a little bit late.

    O'DONNELL: Introducing himself to voters as the son of a farmer, an Eagle Scout and Air Force pilot, Perry paid respect to Iowa tradition.

    Gov. PERRY: This is what it's all about...

    Unidentified Man: This is what it's about.

    Gov. PERRY: ...at the Iowa State Fair .

    O'DONNELL: And the voters need to be properly courted.

    Unidentified Woman: And let me tell you something else, I've been a Democrat my whole life and I might have to vote for you.

    Gov. PERRY: You might have to vote for me?

    Woman: I might have to. If I vote for...

    Gov. PERRY: Give me a chance.

    O'DONNELL: Perry 's launch soaked up attention typically showered on the straw poll winner, Michele Bachmann . Both spoke last night at a GOP dinner in her hometown, Waterloo .

    Representative MICHELE BACHMANN: My goal is to be bold, new, different, actually go in and take your voice.

    O'DONNELL: Appearing for her speech only, Bachmann 's campaign brought its own production of lights and music into a room seating about 300 people, stagecraft made for a TV audience. In that other crucial early voting state , New Hampshire , today national front-runner Mitt Romney was already taking on Perry , claiming his real-world business experience trumps Perry 's record as governor on jobs.

    Former Governor MITT ROMNEY: I wish Rick the very best, and as the process goes on we'll see whose background and skill most fits the need and the needs of the country at a critical time like this.

    O'DONNELL: And Romney insisted today that even though he has to engage and react to Perry , that that won't change his message, so he says. And tonight Michele Bachmann is headed off to South Carolina for her own bus tour in that

    other important state. Brian: Kelly O'Donnell at the fair in Des Moines tonight. Kelly ,

    WILLIAMS:

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Photos: Republican candidates flood Iowa for state fair, straw poll

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  1. The Iowa Pork Producers Association makes its presence known by serving pork at the popular Iowa State Fair. Republican presidential candidates have blanketed the state for the GOP straw poll, a party fundraiser that serves as an organizational test for their campaigns. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and wife Callista grill pork at the Iowa State Fair. Gingrich was part of a large group of presidential candidates to visit the state over the weekend. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A campaign sign for Texas Rep. Ron Paul decorates a yard near the Iowa State Fair. Paul has a dedicated following in the state supporting his presidential bid. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann speaks at the Des Moines Register "soapbox" at the Iowa State Fair. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A protester tries to get Michele Bachmann to respond to a question about her opposition to same-sex marriage. Bachmann did not take any questions after her "soapbox" speech at the Iowa State Fair. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. The annual Iowa State Fair is a popular and important place for Iowans to gather to keep up with advances in farming and agriculture. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin made a surprise appearance at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, where she spent time talking with fairgoers. Palin said she has not yet decided on a presidential bid. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Fairgoers in Iowa get a glimpse at farm equipment like this John Deere tractor setup. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty speaks at the Des Moines Register "soapbax" at the state fair. Pawlenty has focused much of his campaign efforts in Iowa and was hoping for a strong showing at the GOP straw poll on Saturday. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee plays his bass guitar inside Tim Pawlenty's tent at the GOP straw poll in Ames, Iowa on Saturday. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses in the 2008 Republican nomination contest. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. An attendee of the Republican straw poll in Ames, Iowa takes a moment to feed her baby in front of a bus emblazoned with a National Rifle Association banner. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Tim Pawlenty is surrounded by reporters and cameras as he campaigns for votes at the straw poll on Saturday. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Two Pawlenty supporters at the straw poll stand between cardboard cutouts of former GOP presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum waits to speak inside the auditorium at the Iowa straw poll. Santorum was one of six presidential candidates to address supporters in Ames on Saturday. (Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
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