On the eve of her formal campaign announcement, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann rallied supporters in her birthplace of Waterloo, IA. Speaking before several hundred people Bachmann played up her Iowa roots.
“I want you to know, everything I needed to know, I learned in Iowa,” Bachmann said as the crowd cheered.”
Bachmann talked about taking the voice of Waterloo and the heartland of America to the White House and asked for help along with way in the form of donations, volunteer work and votes at the Ames straw poll in August.
Claude and Anna Maria Jones drove to Waterloo from Des Moines to hear Bachmann.
Claude, who’s a pastor, said he’s seen Bachmann and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty speak repeatedly and that Bachmann seems to connect better with crowds. He thinks Bachmann’s campaign has a lot of potential.
“I think she is a viable candidate, and I think as people hear her more and get to know her more and get beyond some of their preconceived ideas of a congresswoman running; I think she’ll gathering more people around her,” he said.
Anna Maria Jones, who works as a teacher, said she thinks Bachmann actually lives by the principles she talks about.
“She’s real and that’s what I’m looking for,” she said. “I am always looking for role models for my kids, and Michele is the role model.”
Carole Deeds was also at the Bachmann rally. Deeds was wearing a hat decorated with several tea bags, indicating her support for the tea party. She drove to Waterloo from nearby Cedar Falls. Deeds said she likes Bachmann’s concentration on the constitution. Deeds said Bachmann is appealing because she comes across like a regular person.
“She seems to reach out as an average person, as one of us,” she said. ” And she’s a mother of five children and they had all of these foster children, so they’ve really given a lot of their lives personally to helping children and that’s the future.”
A new Des Moines Register poll shows Bachmann running neck and neck with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney among likely Iowa caucus-goers. Twenty-three percent support Romney and 22 percent support Bachmann, according to the poll. Tim Pawlenty had the support of just 6 percent of those polled, despite numerous appearances in Iowa.
Following her campaign kick-off in Waterloo Monday morning, Bachmann heads for campaign stops in New Hampshire and South Carolina. A small contingent of reporters is traveling with Bachmann on a private jet the campaign arranged.