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Perry Steals Show at Iowa's Polk County GOP Picnic

Ron Paul gets polite applause, but the Texas governor is greeted by an enthusiastic crowd and a horde of media.

Any doubts about whether Texas Gov. Rick Perry really is the new darling of the GOP in Iowa were likely put to rest yesterday at the State Fairground in Des Moines, where the presidential candidate was greeted like a rock star by Republicans at their annual Polk County picnic.

About 300 people filled the pavilion of Jalapeno Pete's. About half of those in attendance were media, who began scribbling notes and shooting when Perry arrived and put their pens and cameras away when he left.

Perry arrived at the pavillion after a brief speech by fellow Texan Rep. Ron Paul, whose usually rambunctious following seemed muted compared to the reception Perry's supporters gave him. If Paul was the well-liked, elderly principal, Perry was the young, fit Elvis.

Perry took almost as much time shaking hands and posing for pictures on his way to the podium as he did speaking to the crowd.

"God bless John Deere," he told the crowd. "They have helped feed the world."

He railed against President Barack Obama, whose policies, he said, have created "economic misery." 

"Economic freedom comes from work and wages not welfare," Perry said. "Since I was old enough to drive that tractor, I knew that the way to empowerment is not to empower government but to empower people."

As if to prove his credential to Iowa, he posed for pictures and questions in front of a green and yellow John Deere tractor following his speech, dragging a good portion of the crowd and most of the media with him as U.S. Rep Thaddeus McCotter spoke to a good number of empty seats.

Polls have shown Perry surging to the top of the GOP presidential hopefuls among Iowa's Republican voters. Public Policy Polling, a Democratic organization, last week showed him overtaking Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as the favorite in the state. 

windwardtack August 28, 2011 at 01:27 AM
This was a more establishment crowd, hence the more establishment candidate, Perry, would have more supporters attending. Plus he's the new guy, and they don't know his record yet. They will
Restore The Foundations August 28, 2011 at 02:28 AM
As the father of seven children, whom I have a responsibility to leave a stronger America, Rick Perry is NOT the man we need in these dire times. I don't want a president that will force me to vaccinate my kids. Oops, he says, "I made a mistake". Sorry, but that disqualifies you from my vote. Also, sir, you are a puppet of the Bilderberg group, of whose meeting you attended in 2007. I want a president who honors the rule of law in America, and doesn't bow down to globalists. You are another George Bush - a wolf in sheep's clothing. I'm a 1611 KJV Bible-thumpin Christian, and that you wear your religion on your shirt sleeve is not impressive to me. We got lots of pandering from Bush (who I voted for twice before I woke up) - we need no more from the likes of you and Bachmann. Sheeeez.
Joe August 28, 2011 at 03:52 AM
You mean the nice fake sound bite "conservative' former Dem - Al Gore’s campaign manager Tricky Ricky Perry? You mean "Gardasel" Rick? The big bad Texan that forces little 5 year old girls to take a HPV vaccine? You mean Republicrats are going to fall for the big phony Democrat Rick Perry?
Gary Schmidt August 28, 2011 at 04:01 AM
I think he is another GOPer with no new ideas. GOPers probably like his Texas drawl. The old GOP ideas of low or no taxes and no regulation. Old worn out ideas. Anyone knows that the government can't cut spending and not raise revenue. I don't think growth in consumer spending alone is gonna bring up our governments economic well being. This is a differant world than it used to be. Those who have been blessed with more are gonna have to pay more. Even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet think so.

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