WATERLOO, Iowa — Michele Bachmann may have won the Ames Straw Poll, but Rick Perry got the rock star treatment at a packed fundraiser in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa.
And Bachmann couldn't stand it, said one of the organizers of the event.
Judd Saul, head of the Cedar Valley Tea Party and a spokesman for the Hawk County GOP fundraiser, said Bachmann showed disrespect to Perry and Rick Santorum, both of whom stayed for dinner and did a question-and-answer session with voters.
Saul said Bachmann didn't want to come in while Perry was speaking. She did not enter the room until he was finished.
“I was really a big fan of hers up until how I saw her come into this event,” Saul said. "Her coming in, not eating dinner with us, showing up with a grand entrance with a big song playing … it’s not what it’s about here.”
Saul also said Bachmann, who brought in her own stage equipment, including lights and a microphone, did not allow Perry to use her studio lighting set-up in the Electric Park Ballroom.
"She didn't want to be in the room when he was talking," Saul said. "And if you noticed, it got brighter when Michele Bachmann got in because she didn’t want to share her lights with Rick Perry.” Dan Shelley, Perry’s former legislative director, said he wondered why it got brighter when Bachmann walked in.
"Everyone noticed it," Shelley said. "The Black Hawk County people should not have allowed that to happen." Shelley has formed two independent groups designed to help Perry in Iowa.
Bachmann did not take questions from the audience, but she told reporters after the event that she welcomed Perry to Iowa and was simply too busy campaigning to get to the Waterloo event in time. Saul, however, said one of Bachmann's aides kept texting a Black Hawk County official to find out if Perry had finished speaking.
"We had a full day today," Bachmann said. She said she was busy attending events in Ames and had spent time with family members in Waterloo Sunday. Bachmann worked the crowd after her speech.
"We're just grateful that we were able to work this in to be able to come tonight," she said. "And we welcome Gov. Perry to the race."
Perry was all but mobbed by reporters — from Iowa and around the nation — when he arrived at the event.
It comes only a day after Perry officially leapt into the 2012 presidential race — and a day after Bachmann won the straw poll. Some Iowans were miffed that Perry staged his announcement speech on the same day of the nonbinding referendum.
Perry, working the crowd, seemed to relish meeting Iowa voters. Perry could be heard telling reporters over the din that he knew he would be spending a lot of time here.
"He loves retail politics, loves talking to real people, shaking hands,” said spokesman Ray Sullivan. “He really likes this part of campaigning, and for those of us tagging along it’s fun to watch. Some people have that personality trait — I don’t.”
Sullivan is leaving his state job as Perry’s chief of staff so he can he become the communications director for the campaign.
During his remarks, Perry warmed up the crowd with stories about growing up on a farm, and then threw out more conservative red meat for the Republican audience. At one point he said he had read somewhere that people thought he sounded "angry."
"We're not angry. We're indignant," he said, going through a list of reasons why the Obama administration has left voters feeling that way. Perry also promised to wield a might veto pen in Washington if he's elected president.
Nearly shouting as he grabbed a Sharpie from his breast pocket, Perry said, "I will use it till the ink runs out, if that's what it takes."
Click to watch an excerpt from Perry's speech, streamed (almost) live from the event. For more clips visit the Texas Tribune's justin.tv channel.