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At Pawlenty event, Perry supporters push write-in effort

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Tim Pawlenty helped kick off the start of the "Values Voter Bus Tour" outside the state capital here this morning. But the most notable presence in the crowd were not Pawlenty supporters, rather supporters of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

About 20 Perry supporters -- dressed in Texas Longhorn burnt orange shirts -- were at the event handing out Perry literature and talking to media about why Perry should be the GOP nominee. (There's a bit of irony here, however, considering that Perry went to Texas A&M, not the University of Texas. There's no love lost between the two schools.)

They are part of the group "Americans for Rick Perry," a 527 group that has no official affiliation with the governor.

After the event, Nate Crain, national finance chairman for the organization, said the goal for the Ames straw poll is 150 to 200 write-in votes. Regarding the Texas governor's schedule this weekend, Crain said, "He's not trying to mess with the straw poll, because if he was trying to mess with the straw poll he would just come out and say, 'I'm running for president.'"

Americans for Rick Perry is a six-week old organization, which has been a presence at campaign events throughout Iowa. They will be following the Values Voter bus tour.