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Ames straw poll: Candidates make a breakfast run

August 13, 2011|By Tom Hamburger
(James Oliphant )

Reporting from Ames, Iowa — A parade of candidates stopped by the breakfast of Iowa conservative women, with Michele Bachmann drawing the loudest applause, reciting her promise to stand with "a titanium spine" to slow government spending, reduce taxes and "repeal Obamacare." 

She and her husband, Marcus, made a brief appearance at the "Voices of Conservative Women" event held at a hotel adjacent to the Iowa State University campus.

"We will get 'er done," Bachmann said, exiting the hotel ballroom just before her fellow Minnesotan, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty entered flanked by supporters wearing trademark green Pawlenty T-shirts.

Photos: Potential 2012 GOP candidates

Photos: Scenes From Iowa -Republicans at the State Fair

Pawlenty had a relaxed, upbeat demeanor. Early reports suggested he was winning the parking lot poll: bringing in more buses than any other candidate. 

Applause for Pawlenty was vigorous as he recalled "our nation was built on certain principles starting with 'In God we trust." Like Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and other speakers, he won whoops from the audience denouncing President Obama and his economic priorities. "Enough of his nonsense, enough of his rhetoric. It's time for us to roll up our sleeves and get the country moving again," he said.

Herman Cain, like other candidates, took some time during his remarks to criticize media coverage of the race, belittling a report on Fox News that he had incorrectly identified the singer of a patriotic song. Focusing on such minutiae, he said, allows the media to show "that we candidates are human" but it ignores central issues facing the country. "I am going to issue a press release that says 'Cain stands corrected" he joked to the crowd.

Then he added: "I am right about one thing: I  know what it takes to get the country moving again." He advocates reductions in spending and taxation, taking the capital gains rate to zero and leveling the playing field by streamlining the tax code, eliminating loopholes and benefits carved out for certain industries.

Photos: Potential 2012 GOP candidates

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