Ames, Iowa (CNN) - Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign launched an opening salvo against soon-to-be-declared presidential candidate Rick Perry, telling reporters: if Perry is serious about running - why was he a no-show at Thursday's Republican presidential debate?
Bachmann staffers spoke to journalists about the Texas governor from the "spin room" following the GOP debate.
"I think the interesting thing is, he wasn't here tonight," Bachmann adviser Ed Goeas said. "He's not involved in the Iowa Straw poll. If he in fact…is getting in this race at the end of the week, I think the real question, especially for many of the people here in Iowa are asking was: why weren't you here tonight?"
Bachmann campaign press secretary Alice Stewart furthered the veiled slam.
"That's a significant fact in that we got in this game late. But we still felt it was important to participate in the debate," Stewart said, referencing a scene-stealing moment from the congresswoman in June.
At the CNN, WMUR, New Hampshire Union Leader debate in New Hampshire, the congresswoman declared onstage – to the surprise of many – that she had officially filed paperwork to become a presidential candidate.
Stewart continued: "It's an important part of the process. And congresswoman Bachmann felt it was an important step to launch the campaign and demonstrate our ground game and organization on the way to caucus."
It's possible that Bachmann's campaign views the Republican Texas governor as a threat to Bachmann's growing popularity.
In a new CNN/ORC International survey, Perry tops Bachmann 15-percent to seven-percent.
Meanwhile, the two Bachmann advisers talked about yet another politician whose name was mentioned at the debate – who was also not on stage.
During the event, Bachmann mentioned her warm friendship with Sarah Palin. Palin is expected to appear here in Iowa at the State Fair.
Might the two "friends" meet here in Iowa?
"No," Stewart said. "That's certainly not in the books."
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