Updated (3 p.m. Monday): President Obama, on a bus tour through the Midwest, will be coming to Iowa, and Gov. Rick Perry said he has a message for him. In a taunting tone, Perry issued a challenge to the president as they campaign in the same state. “Today, I am asking the president of the United States to do something. He’s coming into Iowa here in a little bit. He’s on a listening tour," Perry said. "So I’m gonna talk to him and here’s what I am going to say to him, ‘Mr. President, you need to free up the employers of this country to create jobs. Get rid of the regulations that are stifling jobs in America.’”
Perry breakfasted with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad before heading to the State Fair. The Iowa governor, a Republican, told reporters afterward that Perry has introduced “another level of interest and enthusiasm” into the race. He also said he hopes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will focus more on Iowa in his campaign. “I like governors. I’ve been a governor for a long time," Branstad said. "I do respect the fact that Gov. Perry has a record of creating jobs in Texas.”
Perry caused a stir last night in Waterloo, Iowa, when he suggested that U.S. military troops do not respect President Obama: "One of the reasons that I’m running for president is I want to make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of the United States respects highly the president of the United States," he said.
Asked about the governor's comment, his campaign communications director, Ray Sullivan, said this: “The governor spends a great deal of time with active duty military and retired military. … He’s heard a lot about concerns about the direction of the country.”
Original story below:
DES MOINES, Iowa — Rick Perry hit the Iowa State Fair Monday and virtually leapt into the retail politicking for which he’s famous in Texas. With a little hop, Perry stepped out of his giant tour bus, emblazoned with the slogan “Get America Working Again,” at about 9 a.m. at Gate 11, then slowly made his way through the crowd of reporters, voters, and curiosity seekers.
“How are ya? Howdy!” Perry said to Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, who welcomed the Texas governor to the fairgrounds that are a magnetic draw for presidential candidates.
A Texas reporter asked Perry how he thought he could beat Republicans Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, now his main rivals in the 2012 GOP nominating contest.
“We’re running against Obama, that’s who we’re after,” Perry said.
Perry was expected to do a traditional “soapbox” event, where candidates jump up on a crate splattered with hay and presumably take questions from voters.
Along the way, Perry has been giving media interviews, mainly to local outlets that campaign advisers think will help him get his message out, while working the crowd hard. Ruth Knosby, 83, of Cumming, Iowa, got the full-bore Perry treatment.
She leaned in and whispered to him that she was a Democrat but was thinking about voting for him.
“Gimme a chance,” Perry said to her.
Afterward, Knosby said she hadn’t made up her mind yet, but had read a lot about Perry in the morning papers and liked what she saw: “I have voted Democrat my entire life … He would be the the first Republican I’ve ever voted for.”