Race for Iowa: Bachmann, Perry campaign in Council Bluffs
December 28th, 2011
Editorial note: In the final week before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, KVNO News will take a look at the final candidates vying for the GOP nomination. Tuesday, we examined two candidates low in the polls but still knocking on doors: Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum. Today, we’ll look at two more candidates who made a splash at the start of the race, and have since struggled to maintain momentum at the polls: Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Both stopped in Council Bluffs on Tuesday.
Omaha, NE – Michele Bachmann made a late-planned stop at Scooter’s Coffee House in Council Bluffs Tuesday morning. The Congresswoman from Minnesota has portrayed herself as the “true conservative” in the race. Met by a throng of reporters, Bachmann touted her credentials on two hallmark issues of social conservatives: gay marriage and abortion.
“I believe that children have the right to life because they are made, as we all are, in the image and likeness of a holy God,” Bachmann said. “This is an inalienable right that’s guaranteed to us through the Declaration of Independence,” she said. “And if we don’t respect those who are born and unborn, then our morals and values will be without meaning in the future.”
Bachmann said she has a 100 percent pro-life record, and took aim at the other candidates in the race, calling them “confused” about their positions.
“This is an issue that our candidate can’t get wrong, and can’t take lightly,” Bachmann said.“I’m both privately and publicly pro-life. And our candidate has to do more than just check the box on this issue of life. They need to have a proven record when it comes to standing up for the unborn, and not be confused about what that means.”
Bachmann also called the other candidates confused on gay marriage, taking aim at Mitt Romney, who she said has signed “multiple marriage licenses for same-sex couples” while Governor of Massachusetts. Bachmann said she would fight for a federal constitutional amendment that would overrule states that have legalized same-sex marriage.
Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll in August, but has since fallen in the polls. She’s currently sitting at an average of 8.7 percent in Iowa, according to Real Clear Politics. That’s down from a peak of 27 percent. But Bachmann has performed well in debates, particularly recently. And that has some supporters, like John Michael Hogue of Omaha, hopeful she’ll pull ahead.
“I like that she stands on her principles,” Hogue said. “I think she’d be open to legislative compromise, because I think that’s the kind of compromise Americans want. But like she said, she’s not for sale. She’s not going to compromise her values and beliefs.”
Hogue will have to wait a while before he can demonstrate that support, however. He’s still a high-school sophomore.
Pulling ahead of Bachmann, at a 12 percent polling average in Iowa, is Texas Governor Rick Perry. Perry also made a stop in Council Bluffs Tuesday. His event was put on his public schedule earlier, and drew a larger crowd.
Dozens crammed in to the Main Street Café in downtown Council Bluffs, where resident Mark Allman was squeezed in at the back. He said the two most important issues to him are the federal debt and illegal immigration. And what’s keeping him undecided on Perry is his support for in-state tuition in Texas for children born to illegal immigrants.
“I really like him until I heard about the in-state tuition in Texas for illegal aliens,” Allman said.“Now I just really don’t know. I get the impression that Joe Arpaio supports him, so that’s good. So I’m going to listen, and hopefully he can sway me over.”
Joe Arpaio is the sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, where he’s well known for his crackdown on illegal immigrants. He was there to introduce Perry and help beef his border credentials, and Perry drove the point home at the podium.
“And here’s my pledge to you,” Perry said. “We will secure that border. We will shut it down within one year after my hand comes off of that Bible.”
Perry also touted his fiscal record at the campaign stop. That includes, he said, cutting spending, creating jobs and balancing budgets. He also has an idea to cut spending, and “government interference,” on Capitol Hill.
“One of the real keys to making Washington inconsequential in your life is to have a part-time Congress,” Perry said. “Cut their pay in half, cut their time in half that they spend there, cut their staffs in half. Send ‘em back home and let ‘em get a real job like you have to work to keep this country going.”
Perry made a big splash in the race when he first jumped in. But some verbal blunders along the way have kept his numbers slipping.
Thursday, we’ll look at two candidates who’ve been vying for the lead nationally: Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.