The candidate who won the straw poll on Saturday and the candidate who stole some of her thunder collided in Iowa over the weekend. It was Michele Bachmann versus the newcomer to the race, Texas Governor Rick Perry. The GOP race is getting hot as President Obama hits the road with a counterattack.And this woman claims to support the "grassroots." Wrong! She's all hat, no cattle, just like her heroes Bush and Cheney. Later this morning, on CNN Newsroom with Kyra Phillips in the 9AM CDT hour, Loesch trashed Mitt Romney and praised Bachmann and Perry. She accused the "left of hijacking the gay movement," which is false. Transcript:
Joining me to talk about it are Republican analysts Leslie Sanchez and cofounder of the St. Louis Tea Party, Dana Loesch. Welcome to you both.
LESLIE SANCHEZ, FOUNDER AND CEO, IMPACTO GROUP LLC: Thank you, Carol.
DANA LOESCH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning.
COSTELLO: OK, so Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry are both tea party darlings. What's the difference between the two, Dana?
LOESCH: Well, one of the big differences to me is I think Michele Bachmann has really been on the forefront of a lot of the grassroots movement over the past couple of years. And her campaign is a little bit more different than someone who normally just comes from the House of Representatives in that she has this national appeal because of the grassroots movement.
That being said, I think there's a huge difference because statistically nobody comes from the House of Representatives. I think we've had one president in the past 100 years that came from the House of Representatives. Our best bets are typically from the gubernatorial pool. So I think that makes a huge difference and I think that's something that grassroots voters will be paying special attention to.
COSTELLO: Leslie, there was something interesting on "Politico" this morning. Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry were in the same room in Iowa. They did not engage. The difference was Rick Perry was mingling with the crowd. He was putting his arms around people. He was saying "y'all" a lot. He was very charming. Michele Bachmann sort of stayed on her bus until she had to take the stage. She was surrounded by security and really didn't let voters get close to her. What do you make of that?
SANCHEZ: I think it's campaign style. I wouldn't make too much out of it. They're both uniquely passionate in the sense that they have good, strong -- as she said, grassroots appeal.
Rick Perry, though, he is a retail politics candidate. One thing a lot of people may not know about him, he likes to burn through the shoe leather. He likes people and to engage and handshake and call them y'all. He -- it is not uncommon for him to sit on a barstool and talk to folks, you know, regularly about issues because he's very engaged in issues.
I had a chance to talk to both Bachmann's pollster and Perry's pollster extensively and they both talk about the positive attributes in terms of campaigning. Again, Rick Perry. somebody just getting started but a very strong campaigner. His team likes that. He's very direct on message. He's had a core team that's been with him some since 1998.
They're both going to be doing a lot to engage the base of this party.
COSTELLO: Of course, they both have conservative values.
And, Dana, I want to ask you about this. Michele Bachmann took some flack from reporters this Sunday about her previous statements on gay people. In the past, she said that people who are gay are in personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement. She also said that she would reinstitute the Military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
I want you to listen to this -- the exchange she had with NBC's David Gregory on "Meet the Press".
BACHMANN: When it comes to marriage and family, my opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think that's -- that's been my view. And I think that's --
DAVID GREGORY, NBC HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": So a gay couple with kids would not be considered a family to you?
BACHMANN: You know, all of these kind of questions really aren't about what people are concerned about right now.
COSTELLO: But, still, the majority of the country was for overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and many more people are for civil unions. If Republican primary voters are going to vote for the candidate who has the best chance of winning against President Obama, will they vote for Michele Bachmann?
LOESCH: Well, I don't think anyone -- and this is not an insult to any community -- is paying attention to a social issue like that at this moment considering that we're on a very bad trajectory economically. And I know that GOProud, the group of gay conservatives that are very active within the Republican Party aren't really even looking at this right now either because everyone is sort of looking to see what these candidates -- what these candidates are going to do when it comes to jobs.
We're looking to see what they're going to do when it comes to possibly some foreign policy, but it's all about the economy again. This election cycle, as it should be. We have 9.1, 9.2 percent unemployment. We're not in a really good place right now. And I think we have to make sure that we're even economically sustainable before we can start talking about issues like that, which I think are honestly downstream from the problems that we're dealing with right now.
COSTELLO: So, Leslie, on the subject of jobs, of course, Rick Perry is said to have a pretty good record when it comes to creating jobs in Texas. Mitt Romney is sort of running on, yes, I did a pretty good job in Massachusetts. So what's the difference between those two?
SANCHEZ: Well, in terms of the record, they're both governors, they both have proven records in the area, they both looked at the jobs issue and the health care issue.
With respect to Governor Perry, he's certainly somebody who looked at something a little bit different in 2010. He laid out a framework to say let's build and invest in infrastructure. If we do that with lower regulation, you're going to see increased revenues generated by the new generation of jobs. We can put that money into education and other areas that the state dramatically needs, especially because of the failure at the federal level. I think you saw the same kind of experience leading very much the way with Governor Romney. Both of them have different challenges in that sense. I think, ultimately, they're going to be appealing to a lot on the economic issues.
I was in Ames. That, again, is going to be the top priority, who can get the economy moving. The president has that kind of economic albatross (ph) around his neck and what voters are ideally looking for, what I heard in Ames, is somebody with credibility to prove they can get those jobs created and businesses to kind of relief that.
COSTELLO: So just quickly, because Warren Buffett has an op-ed in "The New York Times" and he said, you know, I talked to my really wealthy friends and we're ready to make a sacrifice, we want our taxes raised.
And since all of the Republican Primary candidates are totally against raising taxes, wouldn't that eventually work against them? Since the majority of Americans think taxes should be raised on wealthy Americans.
SANCHEZ: I'll tell you this much, too, what I heard a lot on the ground, you know, especially with some of these AARP voters is that they believe that 50 -- the 50 percent that are not paying taxes, that corporations, certain corporations, are the bad apples in the group and they are not paying taxes, and I had other business leaders who said, you know, we pay 31 percent taxes, we want to show that we're part and contributing to this economy.
I think there's a little bit of that class warfare debate that is really real. People feel that some are taking advantage of the system, gaming the system, so to speak. They want it fair all the way around, but what they don't want is to stifle the ability to grow private sector jobs. That they feel would burden --
COSTELLO: So there's no wiggle room, in other words, from any of these candidates. You don't -- you don't envision maybe Mitt Romney or Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann saying, maybe -- maybe we should raise a little revenue by making GE --
SANCHEZ: Not in this lifetime, no.
CHO: Not in this lifetime.
COSTELLO: Leslie Sanchez, Dana Loesch, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
SANCHEZ: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: All right. Coming up any second now, we're monitoring something and we've got it on our radar. At any moment, we are expecting to hear live from presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This is actually taped from earlier this morning.
As you know, he's the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. He's expected to take questions from reporters for the first time since Texas governor Rick Perry entered the race over the weekend. So as soon as he starts speaking, we will take it live.
All right. "Political Buzz," your rapid-fire look at the hottest political topics of the day. Three questions, 30 seconds on the clock. Playing today, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, CNN contributor and independent John Avlon and CNN contributor and talk radio host Dana Loesch.
Hi, all. First question here --
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Hey, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: -- over the weekend -- good to see you three -- Michele Bachmann, as you know, who won the Ames straw poll. Rick Perry stole many of the headlines, though.
So, what's your take, who did this weekend actually belong to? Bachmann or Perry? Dana? DANA LOESCH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Gosh, it's kind of a hard call. I think ultimately it belonged to Bachmann. I think that she had a good turnout, she had a good performance at the debates and obviously, she won the straw poll. So I think ultimately, it belongs to her.
However, she's still sharing a lot of that spotlight with Rick Perry, who I thought his timing and the way he rolled it out in order to get attention was pretty slick. So, they're sort sharing it right now, but she's in the lead.
CARDONA: I'm going to agree with Dana on this, Kyra. I think you cannot take it away from Bachmann, especially given where she started out at the very beginning, no one gave her a prayer to ever make it to the top tier. And the Republican elite had a lot to say about how unserious she was. And I think that she has really shown them her ability to organize, to fundraise, to really give a speech that riles up the base.
I think frankly, her rise has a lot more to do with the weakness of the rest Republican field, but having said that, you can't take away from the fact that she did win the straw poll. This will give her a big bounce. Definitely -
CARDONA: -- won't say whether she will win, but it gives her a big bounce.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Always beware when the Democrat is pumping up a candidate, especially if it's someone on the far right.
Look, Bachmann had a great day. But ultimately, Perry has the game changer, which is his entry into the race fundamentally changes what this field likes like. Therefore, in terms of the big picture, I think you have to give it to Perry.
PHILLIPS: All right, guys. Well, since we're talking about Michele Bachmann, she was being pushed on the specifics of her stance on homosexuality. In particular, I'm talking about "Meet the Press" over the weekend. Let's take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREGORY, HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": Would you appoint a gay, and openly gay person to your administration, to your cabinet or name them as a judge?
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My criteria would be the same for -- which would be where do you stand on the Constitution, are you competent, and do you share my views? That's my criteria. GREGORY: But those views are pretty clear. So you would -- as far as the judge, you talked about that. An openly gay person is acceptable as a matter of your administration - as a member of your administration?
BACHMANN: I have my criteria for what my appointments would be based on, and it's whether you uphold the Constitution, if you're competent --
GREGORY: So it would not be a factor?
BACHMANN: I am not out asking any other question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: OK, guys, here is my question to you. Why not just give a yes-or-no answer? Maria.
CARDONA: Because we know in her heart of hearts that she would never do it. And this is where I think she would get into trouble if she does end up being the GOP nominee. There's no way she'll be able to get through the general election with those kinds of views.
We all know very well how she feels about gay and lesbian rights. And when you want to give more than 10 percent - more than 10 percent of Americans less rights than the rest, I think that is not a mainstream view. Especially when the majority of Americans now believe that gays and lesbians should have the exact same rights as other Americans, where it comes to marriage, when it comes to family and everything else.
LOESCH: Were we listening to the same answer? because I heard her answer, and yes. What, gay people can't stand for the constitution? gay people can't be for fiscal responsibility?
I'm so tired of the left try to hijack the gay movement and present them as, oh, no, conservativism is patented only to Christian conservatives. That's such hooey. It's just ridiculous.
I thought her answer was quite clear. Yes, if they stand for Constitution and they're for fiscal responsibility, what's the big deal?
PHILLIPS: Guys, stay with me -
CARDONA: She didn't say yes or no. That's the problem.
PHILLIPS: Guys, we have to get to Mitt Romney speaking live. Let's go ahead and listen in. We'll come back.
PHILLIPS: All right, "Political Buzz" panel. I know you stayed with me because we had to break out of our segment to go to Mitt Romeny there. So, let's roll with this, okay? You just heard Mitt Romney there in Litchfield, New Hampshire. The first question thrown out to him, guys, was about Rick Perry entering the race.
So what do you think? I mean, it was the first question thrown out there. You heard his response. Is he nervous? Should he be nervous about Rick Perry jumping in? Maria?
CARDONA: yes, absolutely he should be nervous here, Kyra. Because clearly, Rick Perry just jumped into the race and he's already in a lot of the polls. Number two, at 15 percent with Romney at 17 percent. Romney absolutely should be nervous, but he should also be nervous about his own record. It's so laughable that he talks about job creation. When he was governor of Massachusetts, forty-seventh. Massachusetts ranked 47th in the state - or in the country -
CARDONA: -- among job creation. Laughable.
LOESCH: I'm a little scared right because I'm agreeing with Maria on this. Romney's done, as far as I'm concerned. Perry is more conservative than Romney. Romney, the big small business guy who with his heath care mandate was taxing businesses over $200-something per employee if they had more than 11 employees.
That's not good for business. And he has a lot to answer to with his record.
LOESCH: He just didn't cut it.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, Mitt Romney sidestepped the direct criticism, but you heard something that's going to be a major theme of the campaign, which is that he's saying Rick Perry is essentially a career politician. And he's going to be trying to say, look, I've got business experience and private-sector experience.
But of course he should be concerned. Rick Perry's entry in this race immediately makes this at least a two or three-person race. I think it's going to very quickly whittle down to Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann. Those are going to be the top two.
PHILLIPS: Guys, thank you so much. And thanks for rolling with me. I appreciate it.
CARDONA: Thanks, Kyra.