News Center

October 15th, 2011

Live Blog: Michele Bachmann in Perry

Good morning. Michele Bachmann is in Perry today for a rally at the Hotel Pattee. She announced on Facebook last night that she would make a “an announcement that is sure to fire up this race”.

The event gets underway at 11:30. TheIowaRepublican is in Perry for this event and will be providing live updates.

11:03 am – Bachmann’s advance team is setting up the room for the event, which will apparently include a power point presentation. Early word was she would heavily criticize Rick Perry (in Perry, fittingly) on his immigration policies.

11:08 am – It appears Bachmann will be signing a pledge to secure the border with Mexico “by the end of 2013”. Her campaign has set up a large display board entitled “Americans for Securing the Border” with a space for Bachmann’s signature at the bottom.

11:13 am – Americans for Securing the Border is a group that is asking all presidential candidates to sign their pledge to build a “secure double fence across the entire U.S. border with Mexico prior to the end of 2013”. Bachmann will be the first to sign the pledge.

11:17 am – Americans for Securing the Border is chaired by Van Hipp, former chairman of the South Carolina GOP, as well as high placing posts with the Army and Navy. He is regular on Fox News Channel.

11:19 am – Crowd starting to filter in. Scheduled to start in 11 minutes. About a dozen attendees so far, matched by the number of media in attendance.

11:23 am – The tech guys seem to be having a bit of trouble making the power point fit onto the projection screen. This could be interesting.

11:24 am – Crowd continues to file on. Still working on power point/projector issues.

11:27 am – Looks like all the technical kinks are worked out. Still a fair amount of empty chairs, though some folks are standing in the back of the room. Crowd looks to be in the 30/40 range so far.

11:31 am Schedule start time is here and that means Congresswoman Bachmann is officially late. This is a recurring theme at her campaign events. Crowd still filtering in. Looks like there will be about 50 total.

11:34 am – TIR founder/grand poobah Craig Robinson is here. It’s officially an important event now.

11:36 am – Excellent proverb on the wall in the conference room we are in: “When you drink from the well, remember the well-digger.”

11:38 am – Campaign staffer informs crowd we will be getting underway shortly.

11:39 am – It appears the tardiness today is the fault of the tech people, not Bachmann. Tech guy just ran out of the room after campaign staffer informed him “we’re eight minutes late now”.

11:41 am – Don’t forget to refresh your page often for updates. They’re still testing the microphone. There was apparently a buzz. Looks like problems are taken care and rally should start soon.

The projector shows a picture of Bachmann, in color, surrounded by a large crowd, in black and white, and her tour bus, in color. From here, it actually looks like they super imposes her into an old time black and white picture. They didn’t, but that’s what it looks like.

11:43 am – Bachmann arrives to a standing ovation from the crowd. Only 12 minutes late. Might be a new record.

11:45 am – Bachmann shaking hands. State senator Kent Sorenson, her state chair, gets the event underway. Talks about Bachmann rolling out her 11-point plan on jobs on the economy.

11:47 am – Van Hipp, chair of Americans for Securing the Border is  introduced.

11:48 am – Group is a national, citizens, grassroots organization. Calling on all candidates for federal office, president, senate and U.S. House to sign their pledge for a “date certain” double fence across U.S.-Mexico border prior to the end of 2013.

11:49  am – Hipp says “The Pledge” is the best way to “hold the politicians’ feet to the fire”. Says its one of the most significant national security issues of our time. Talks about reports of Al Qaeda operatives sneaking across the border, as well as drug trafficking. Last year, 59,000 illegal aliens other than Mexico were apprehended trying to cross the border.

11:50 am – Hipp: “It’s pretty clear the bad guys get it. Our southern border is wide open.”

11:51 am – Hipp: “Securing the border with Mexico is also an economic necessity for the United States.”

11:51 am – The crowd size is 50. Not great, but not bad. The room looks full.

11:52 am – Hipp says Bachmann has been a leader on securing the border and thanks her for being the first to agree to sign “The Pledge”.

11:53 am – Bachmann signs “The Pledge”, first presidential candidate to do so.

11:54 am – Bachmann speaking now. Thanks Americans for Securing the Border for providing this “gift” to the presidential campaign. Echoes much of what Hipp said about the border being a national security issue.

11:55 am – Bachmann references the recent assassination attempt blamed on Iranian operatives. “President Obama has failed the American people by failing to secure the southern border,” Bachmann says to applause.

11:56 am – “Now you have my word in ink on the pledge that this will in fact happen,” Bachmann says. She is now transitioning to jobs and the economy and pushing the plan on her website.

11:57 am – Talks about government spending being out of control. “We are overspending in this country by 40%.” Asks the crowd how many of them could survive for a year spending 40% more than what they take in.

11:58 am – “That isn’t Monopoly money they’re spending in Washington, D.C. That’s real money,” Bachmann says.

12:00 pm – Bachmann reminds the crowd she’s an Iowan and grew up in Waterloo/Cedar Falls, just in case anyone missed that the first 357,421 times she mentioned it.

12:01 pm – She asks the crowd is anyone knows how much illegal immigration costs the U.S. After several wrong guesses, one youngster says “$10 trillion”. Bachmann and the crowd laugh and says “Thank God it’s not that much”. The figure is $113 billion, I believe she said.

12:03 pm – Talks about accusations of racism and bigotry for immigration stances. Says Iowans are just tired of paying for the costs.

12:05 pm – One attendee is anxious to question Bachmann’s statistics. He raised his hand and she told him she would take his question in just a minute as soon as she is done. He then asked if she was going to quote this report all day, because the figures are wrong. She says she will come back to him and he will be the first allowed to ask a question.

12:06 pm – “The real kicker is all this is the education of illegal aliens and the children of illegal aliens.”

12:07 pm – “A little over 95% of the costs of illegal immigration is borne by American citizens, not illegal aliens,” Bachmann says. Adds that most of them don’t pay any income tax.

12:08 pm – She is now using the power point presentation using stats from the Heritage Foundation. it says:
-50-60  percent of illegal immigrations are high school dropouts

– There are 10-11 million immigrants who lack a high school diploma in the U.S.

-There are 4.6 million households in the U.S. headed by immigrant dropouts.

12:10 – Another graph shows government expenditures on households headed by persons without a high school diploma.

“When someone doesn’t have a high school diploma, they become very expensive to the taxpayer of the country,” Bachmann says. Says they’re getting welfare benefits at over $32,000 on top of the interest we’re paying on those benefits, so it totals $43,084 per year.

12:13 pm – More graphs. I feel like Chevy Chase imitating Gerald Ford on an old SNL skit. “it was my understanding there would be no math during the debates,” Chase said. I’m going to need more iced coffee if there are any more numbers.

Most of the crowd seems to be following it pretty well, though.

12:16 pm – The attack on Rick Perry begins. Bachmann says Texas has circumvented federal law that says you can’t have in-state tuition for illegal aliens.

12:17 pm – Bachmann says it cost Texas taxpayers $44 million. “Illegals got admission slots to universities that should have gone to U.S. citizens.”

“Texas was the very first state in the country that violated this federal law”

“The Mexican government praised Texas for providing these subsidies for illegal immigrants.”

Bachmann adds that the federal Dream Act is no different than what is happening in Texas.

12:19 pm – Bachmann says this is “our  last chance” to get the country on the right track.

12:20 pm – She’s now hitting ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank Act, which she labels the “Jobs and House Destruction Act”.

12:21 pm – “That’s what sets me apart,” Bachmann says of the GOP presidential field. She does what she says she’s going to do.

“There’s a lot of people that say a lot of good things, right, during the course of a campaign,” Bachmann says. Then adds that too often we have elected people who don’t hold up to what they promised.

12:22 pm – Crowd has increased a bit. If you include two babies and a toddler in the back of the room, there’s now 60 people here.

12:23 pm – Bachmann mentions we’re fine with Mexicans coming into this country as long as they do it legally.

12:24 pm – She’s now circling back to the Iranian assassination plot and the 59,000 illegals apprehended who were not from Mexico, but came from countries like Syria and Yemen.

I will secure that border. That will be job Number One,” Bachmann says to applause. “It will be every mile, every yard, every foot, every inch of that border. The portion that you fail to secure will be the highway into our nation.”

12:25 pm – “We will not have taxpayer benefits for illegal aliens and we will make English the official language of the government,” Bachmann says. She is now wrapping up and says its important to talk about this without name calling.

12:27 pm – Bachmann reminds crowd she’s an Iowan, which makes 357,422nd time she has said it during this campaign.

12:28 pm – Q&A time starts. Basically saying Bachmann’s info is flawed because it came from a conservative source. Says Bachmann neglected to show illegals helped the economy.

Question: “Why would you choose to punish these kids who came here through no fault of their own?”

Answer: Bachmann says their parents broke the law. She’s now having a back and forth with the questioner. He says the children didn’t break the law. “For the average American household to have an added burden of $1,000 a year… just to deal with the issue of illegal immigration, that means you are taking away the right and the choices of the average American household.”  Adds, “That’s a very real cost,” to applause from the crowd.

12:31 pm – Attendee mentions that illegal immigrants in Texas can still go to college there, but should not get benefits to do so. Bachmann says Texas is “offering a magnet” to illegals.

12:33 pm – AP writer Mike Glover is talking on the phone for at least the third time during this event. Several attendees turning to look at him.

12:34 pm – Question; “How would you repeal ObamaCare?”

Bachmann says it can only be done through the Congress.

12:35 pm – Bachmann promises to help elect 13 more senators to get up to 60 Republicans so they will have power to repeal ObamaCare. Says again that Obama will be a one-term candidate.

“We have got to have a candidate with a backbone and consistent record.”

Tells crowd she has been the chief critic of ObamaCare and introduced bill to repeal ObamaCare.

12:38 pm – Bachmann says there is a huge difference in the candidates on ObamaCare. It’s not enough to say I’ll repeal the bill. She says it will be “a miracle” to repeal Obamacare. Promises again to help elect “13 more like-minded Republicans”.

12:39 pm – AP’s Mike Glover still on the phone and now getting angry looks from attendees.

12:40 – Final question is about the Constitution. Bachmann mentions Governor Perry by name for the first time. Discusses his history of issuing Executive Orders. “The President isn’t the one who makes the law, just like the Supreme Court isn’t the one who makes the law,” Bachmann says, mention the Iowa Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.

12:41 pm – “With all due respect to Governor Perry, it’s naive to think you can get rid of ObamaCare. You can’t. Plus it’s unconstitional.” – Bachmann

She adds, “It isn’t any better when a Republican candidate abuses Executive Orders.” I’m thinking Bachmann should to have a long discussion with Bob Vander Plaats on this issue.

12:44 pm – Bachmann says she is probably more worried about America’s national security now than the economy. Talks about missing U.S. missiles in Libya.

12:45 pm – Bachmann now saying Obama sent signals to Israel that “maybe the Big Dog doesn’t have your back anymore”. Now mentioning her dad signed up for the U.S. Air Force in…wait for it… Waterloo, Iowa (mention # 357,423)

12:48 pm – Bachmann comparing the debates to a game show and says this is a serious time and the pledge she signed today is serious.

12:49 pm – “I believe we can grab that brass ring of liberty one last time,” Bachmann says. Now appealing for the crowd to support her in the Iowa Caucus. “I will deliver, I guarantee you that”.

And we’re done. She gets a standing ovation at the end. Bachmann working the room as patriot music plays over the speakers.

12:51 pm – Overall, this seemed like a good event for Bachmann. Perry, Iowa has an interesting mix of immigrants. The Americans for Securing the Border pledge is now a factor in the presidential campaign. It will be interesting to see which candidates sign, and which don’t. We know Rick Perry has already said more than once in the debates that building a fence along the entire border is unrealistic.

Bachmann will meet with the media in a few minutes once the crowd disperses. We will have more on that here on on Monday.

Thanks for joining the Live Blog.

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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