Wilton, Iowa (CNN) – Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney visited a bank and a local chamber of commerce in Iowa earlier this week with an economic message almost exclusively tailored to business-minded Republicans.
On Saturday, his rival Rick Perry took a different tack and made a blatant appeal to the cultural conservatives he must win over if he hopes to recover his once formidable standing in the polls.
Jobs and the economy were the central messages from both candidates, but Perry’s message was laced with references to such issues as gun rights, abortion and small-town values - topics that Romney typically avoids in his stump speech.
The folksy Texas governor showed off his affinity for firearms at an early morning pheasant hunt Saturday in northwest Iowa with Rep. Steve King, an outspoken conservative whose endorsement would carry significant weight among Republican activists in the state.
After what he described as an “awesome” hunt, Perry flew across the state to the small farming community of Wilton and appeared at a picturesque outdoor fundraiser for state Rep. Jeff Kaufmann, a popular Republican in the legislature.
Speaking just a few yards from a sprawling cornfield and in front of a John Deere tractor, Perry tried to relate to more than 100 local residents by recalling his small-town roots in Paint Creek, Texas.
“You learn a lot growing up on the farm,” he said. “It’s universal. It’s the value of hard work. It’s the duty to family and country. It’s the importance of shooting straight. ... Those values that you learn on the farm are pretty good values for the president of the United States to have as well.”
When asked by a voter about his position on Second Amendment rights, Perry responded with relish, explaining his right to “to defend my family.”
“People that would do harm to me or my family, they don’t care about laws,” Perry said, promising to appoint “strict constructionist” judges to the Supreme Court who would protect the right to purchase and own guns.
And in the course of explaining his jobs record in Texas, Perry veered out of his way to mention his staunch opposition to abortion rights.
“A country that protects and defends life is really important,” he said. “It’s important for the president of the United States to support legislation that protects life.”
He made no mention of Romney or businessman Herman Cain, the two Republicans who top most of the recent polls conducted in Iowa.
Perry has stumbled badly in Iowa despite soaring to the Republican lead after joining the race in August.
Meanwhile, Romney has barely campaigned in the Hawkeye State, but is now considered a front-runner to win the caucuses as the rest of the GOP field competes for a more conservative slice of the electorate.
But Perry clearly had Romney in his sights when he promised to be the most conservative candidate in the race and deliver “a huge helping of the unbridled truth” to America.
“I am not the candidate of the establishment,” Perry declared. “You will not hear a lot of shape-shifting nuance from me.”
Kaufmann, the state legislator who hosted the event, has not endorsed a candidate yet, but he spoke warmly of Perry after the speech and said Romney needs to spend more time in rural Iowa.
“Gov. Romney needs to come out here,” Kaufmann told CNN. “He needs to see as many cornfields as CEOs when he comes out here or he’s not going to get Iowa at all.”
This guy is a creep – he's sounding more and more like a serial killer.
If you look carefully you can see the strings and you can hear Karl Rove laughing from above.
Free Corn Dogs !
As a conservative I had hope when Perry entered the race but the more I see him and learn about him, it is time for him to go home.
Cultural conservatives – in other words, folks who have convinced themselves that change is avoidable.
Remember the old quip about automotive workshops? Everybody wants good, fast, cheap service, but you can't have all three at once, only two. You can have it good and fast, but not cheap; good and cheap, but not fast; or cheap and fast, but not good. The same principle holds with conservatives: they come intelligent and well-educated, but with no moral conscience; intelligent and morally conscious but ignorant, or morally conscious and well-bred but stupid. If you want intelligence, knowledge, and a conscience in the same person, you are looking for a liberal. Now watch the neo-con trolls prove my point.
We don't need cornpone, we need a candidate who can negotiate with the leaders of the other major nations. Perry is a total loser.
The good ole boy who wants to protect life is going hunting. Probably with a shotgun that cost in the neighborhood of $2500 or more. That amount would make it much easier for me to pay my health insurance.
The government needs to "support life" while making sure that the guns that are used by criminals to take life are easily available, and some states (including Texas and Connecticut) still have a death penalty.
Government should also be smaller, and less intrusive, except when it comes to telling women what they can and can't do with the pregnancies caused by a rapist.
Just when the dumbest of dumb Texan ghosts has almost disappeared, i.e. Dubya, along comes Perry and brings new relevancy to the old saying, "Ya can't fix stupid."
Dumb and dumber make love together. Everyone knows the pigs have to drive their famers around in iowa because only the pigs have a brain.
Perry is like a deer caught in a headlight and not ready for the people of the other 49 states and appears to be angry that the people aren't ready for him. It won't be long before he'll come out again and tell the other 49ers "you know what we do in Texas to people like you". This guy is a joke.
I'm sure glad he was able to inject that pro-life bit in that speech to Iowa bankers. I personally am opposed to abortion. But if that banker really wanted to know where a good portion of his tax money was going he should listen up, the government pays for live births and health care for poor families. The families are given food aid through WIC and SNAP programs. Some are given subsidized housing vouchers etc... On top of all this, if a kid really isn't wanted, they will be hurt and taken away from their parents and placed in a foster home ...All at tax payers expense. Then when they are 18 years they are on their own...and the cycle starts over.
What the hell is a "cultural conservative"? Is that like and oxymoron for slilent storm?
Hey Iowan's better vote for Perry or he and his family might start shooting. The more he opens his big mouth the more times he shoots himself in the foot. What a loser!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let's call it what it is, trolling for morons. Perry makes Bush look like a Rhodes scholar. and the IQ celiing for voting for him is pretty low.
What time tonight does the entertainment start and the "christians" like Elmer Gantry Perry start throwing the "libtards" and "RINOs" into the lions den?
You can be assured of one thing, it will be SRO.
He's a liar – he doesn't believe it, he just says it to get votes from the illiterates wherever they are.
To the Tax Repubs:
Ron Paul the only man that talks about cuts on spending. If a politician starts with tax plans, he is always for big government and will find ways to spend more. There is nothing new here except for the sheep that need cuddling and diapers that that need changing.
To the Paul Supporters:
In Iowa- Ron Paul wins staw poll and their is an unusual university rally for the Doc.
Paul fact for today – 2/3 of 25yr olds and younger that voted for Obama in 08' are lining up for Paul, Keep it going by giving to the Money Bomb. "Don't Tread On US
You're toast, Rick. Now waltz off stage with Michele Bachmann. But watch for Marcus Bachmann. He will be jealous of HER.
So basically, he'll "defend life" at the point of a gun. Typical authoritarian nutjob.
Overheard at a Tea Party meeting of conservative Evangelical Christians: "Yeah, I want big government off my guns and outta my life, but I do want it in everyone's bedroom and in every woman's body."
The dude is a FRAUD! How many times do I have to say it?!
Since I was born in Iowa a 100 yrs or so ago, I will translate "Cultural Conservative." Way right religious.
Yeah, shooting farm raise, clipped winged birds is called hunting, eh? Might as well just blast some chickens in the back yard.
Give it up Ricky. Your poor performance at the debates, which get worse with each one, has made people understand that you are not the chosen one for the Rethugs. Frankly, you scare me. I would hate to see this great country at your mercy. Why don't you toddle back to Texas and finish terrifying the people there?