In fact, Bachmann never went table to table to greet the roughly 300 local Republicans who came to see her, and seemed to go out of her way to avoid being drawn into the crowd. She also didn’t acknowledge Perry, who sat smiling and occasionally applauding through her speech.
Perry, by contrast, didn’t have to explain to anyone that he knows to campaign in Iowa.
Making his debut in the first-in-the-nation state, the Texan parried questions from reporters in between chatting with attendees about topics ranging from Iowa farms to just how much Austin has grown in recent years.
Activists came away impressed both with his stump speech – which, unlike that of Bachmann, was followed by a question-and-answer session with the crowd – and his warmth.
“We met [George W.] Bush, he’s a lot like that,” said Nancy Mashuda-Pohnl of Iowa City, who came wearing a Bachmann T-shirt and indicated she liked all three speakers.
Erv Dennis of Cedar Falls said he came away “convinced that Governor Perry is the right person.”
As for Bachmann, Dennis said: “I think she’s a very fine person, she’s very sincere. But I don’t believe that she has the experience, the depth, the strength we need for this country.”
And Danny Learer, a self-described Evangelical who said he drove 75 miles from Wright County, praised Perry’s “honesty.”
“He’s got a plan,” Learer said. Bachmann “does a lot of talking, but I don’t hear no plan.”
Perry also showed none of Bachmann’s skittishness about the unplanned encounters on the trail.
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