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Michele Bachmann Wins Ames Straw Poll

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Newscom

Bachmann's victory was unsurprising given her strong standing in the state. In addition to her natural appeal to social conservatives, Bachmann was born in Iowa and has played up her roots early and often on the campaign trail. Her speech at Iowa State University on Saturday was no different.

"My mother and father taught us to always love Iowa," she told the crowd."They said, 'Be grateful that you're from Iowa. Iowa is the breadbasket of the world. We feed millions of people from Iowa. Be grateful.' So I have always been grateful that I am an Iowan and I believe it's time we had an Iowan in the White House."

The straw poll was overshadowed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who upstaged the event by announcing his own presidential bid on Saturday in South Carolina.

"It is time to get America working again," he said in a speech at the RedState convention. "That's why, with the support of my family, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today my candidacy for President of the United States."

Even though he wasn't on the ballot in Iowa, Perry scored 718 write-in votes at Ames -- more than his rival, Romney, whose name was listed despite not participating.

Perry's entrance in the race threatens to crowd out contenders who have yet to make their move in the polls -- especially Tim Pawlenty, who has positioned himself as an electable alternative to Romney. A staunch social and fiscal conservative, The Texas governor can make a credible play for both Bachmann and Romney's supporters.

Iowans cast over 16,892 votes at the event, an increase from 14,000 at the 2007 contest, in which Mitt Romney won over second place finisher Mike Huckabee. Huckabee went on to win the caucuses.

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