The Corner

‘When I’m In, I’m In All the Way’

Rick Perry woos Republicans in Bachmann’s hometown:

Waterloo, Iowa — Less than 24 hours after jumping into the presidential race, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas stormed Rep. Michele Bachmann’s hometown Sunday. Speaking below a glittering disco ball at the Electric Park Ballroom, a dusty dance hall, Perry signaled his intention to challenge the Minnesota Republican, who won the Ames Straw Poll over the weekend, in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses. “Sometimes it takes me a while to get into something, like this presidential race,” he said, crouching down on the dais. “But let me tell ya,” he roared, “When I’m in, I’m in all the way.”

Bachmann was not amused. She subtly punched back at Perry for crashing her turf, speaking minutes later. In her 30-minute talk, she did not once mention Perry by name, nor welcome him to the state. The icy approach was clear from the start, when Bachmann waited until Perry was seated to step off her bus and enter the building. Once onstage, Bachmann drew clear lines between her and the Texan, pointing out that while some fight outside of Washington, she is in the Beltway every day, taking on the Obama administration. “The poison water of Washington didn’t change me,” she said. “I went there and fought. I fought when it wasn’t convenient.”

But for the moment, it was Perry who outshined Bachmann. The Lincoln Day dinner crowd, packed at round tables and plastic chairs, cheered his rousing remarks, which emphasized his constitutional conservatism and his ability to shepherd job creation. With Bachmann waiting outside on her bus for much of the evening, Perry was the night’s star, diving into the crowd to mingle in his cowboy boots and dark suit. Bachmann, meanwhile, mostly stayed up on stage after her speech, signing autographs under the watchful eye of her campaign aides.

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