Reporting from Waterloo, Iowa — Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in his first visit to Iowa since announcing his presidential bid, said on Sunday that he felt compelled to run because no one in the Republican field had caught fire with the public.
“This wasn’t something I felt compelled to do six months ago or even three months ago,” Perry said. He was hopeful that “one of the people in our group would explode out and take off and everybody in American could get behind them. That hasn’t happened. My wife basically said, ‘Listen, our country is in trouble and you need to do your duty.’ And that was a pretty clarion call for me.”
Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will be speaking tonight at a fundraiser for the Black Hawk County GOP. Perry was mobbed as soon as he entered the historic Electric Ballroom. He high-fived a boy wearing an “Americans for Rick Perry” T-shirt, kissed a 100-year-old woman’s cheek and discussed rain totals with farmers.
When one man called him “Mr. President,” Perry replied, “Hey listen, I got a whole lot of asking to do before anything happens out here in Iowa.”
Perry said his campaign in Iowa would be similar to his campaign to become Texas’ agriculture commissioner in 1990.
“Going to a lot of small towns, going to a lot of picnics, going to lots of fairs. Oh yeah, man, we’re going to spend a lot of time in Iowa,” Perry said. “These people, as you’ll hear in my remarks, are a lot like the people I grew up with, mostly agriculture oriented, small-town folks, so we’re going to have a good time, getting to know them better.”