Nightly News | August 15, 2011
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 ,