Michele Bachmann wins Iowa Straw Poll; Ron Paul in second place in GOP test vote

Confetti falls as Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, and her husband, Marcus, rally supporters at the Iowa Republican Party's Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Confetti falls as Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, and her husband, Marcus, rally supporters at the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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Texas Rep. Ron Paul stressed his pro-life credentials and the need to bring the troops home — messages that played well with those in attendance, many of them evangelical Christians who are expected to dominate the Iowa caucuses.

Everyone sounded off on the need for fiscal restraint and on the policies embraced by President Obama, particularly from the $830 billion stimulus package to the health care overhaul, which edged closer this week to the Supreme Court after an appeals court ruled the law’s amendment as unconstitutional.

“This country is in jeopardy of losing its freedom because of one man and one bill: Obamacare,” Mr. Santorum warned.

Mr. Pawlenty said the president has “no clue” and likened him to “a manure spreader in a wind.”

The event started early in the morning, as cars and buses started funneling into the parking lots on the Iowa State campus.

The Bachmann campaign, for instance, welcomed supporters as they emptied off buses, directing them to a nearby tent to register with the campaign and get a free $30 ticket to the event. Her husband, Marcus, also made the rounds with the congresswoman’s mother, thanking supporters for making the trek to the event.

Supporters were then sent aboard golf carts to the event and her campaign tent, which featured a performance from country music singer Randy Travis, ice cream cups and “beef sundaes,” which involved mashed potatoes topped with prime rib gravy and cherry tomatoes.

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