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2012: Bachmann -- all shook up

Politico publishes a list of the top stops on the 2012 trail in the first three primary states: among them was the Beacon Drive In in Spartanburg, where Bachamnn held her first campaign stop yesterday.

BACHMANN: “Before we get started, let’s all say ‘Happy Birthday’ to Elvis Presley,” Bachmann told a cheering crowd of about 150 people in Spartanburg, SC, NBC’s Ali Weinberg reports. The problem: Yesterday was the anniversary of Elvis’ death, not birth. The trouble is, it was actually the anniversary of Elvis’ death – a fact picked up on by news organizations just minutes after she said the words.

Later, Bachmann paid another tribute to Elvis Presley -- this time, to the anniversary of his death - without acknowledging her mistake in saying it was his birthday. “Good to see you on the anniversary of Elvis’s passing,” Bachmann said, as if the same assembled press corps had not just heard, and reported on, her wishing Elvis a happy birthday. “As far as we’re concerned, he’s still alive, alive in our hearts.”

Bachmann also talked about Ben Bernanke differently than Rick Perry, though she accused the Fed of “stealing from you.” “Now Ben Bernanke is talking about another quantitative easing,” she said. “What does that mean? That’s when they fire up the printing press and they print money that doesn’t have any value behind it. All they’re doing is stealing from you,” she told a town-hall style crowd in a conference center at the TD Convention Center. Bachmann was also asked by NBC News after the event whether she believed President Obama loves America – an inquiry prompted by Perry’s telling a reporter, when asked that same question, that the reporter should “ask him,” referring to the president.  “I don’t question his patriotism,” was Bachmann’s answer – a stark contrast between the two candidates’ responses to the same question.

Bachmann said she didn’t consider Perry her top competition in South Carolina, but rather Barack Obama. “He is the one I am campaigning against,” she said. But he’s not going to be on Republican primary ballot in the state that has picked the GOP nominee every year since 1980.

“Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann on Tuesday called for a wall on the border with Mexico and suggested that billionaire Warren Buffett should write a big check to the government if he's eager for higher taxes on the wealthy,” the AP wrote of Bachmann’s first South Carolina stop yesterday.

“During a brief Q&A with reporters, Bachmann avoided making clear distinctions between herself and Perry, but she was keen to point out that the next president should be someone who has started a business, which she’s done but which happens to be missing from the Texas governor’s resume,” CNN writes. 

PERRY: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry was hit with a firestorm of criticism from all political sides yesterday for saying Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's policies were ‘almost treasonous,’” the New York Daily News writes. “The explosive remark came just days after Perry joined the Republican presidential race and set off a firestorm from the White House, and even former Bush-administration officials.”

The Texas Tribune writes this morning on Perry's "complicated" relationship with stimulus funds.

NPR explores the 'Texas Miracle.'

The Washington Post on the relationship between Perry and Karl Rove: "While there’s little debate about the tension, there’s a more active debate about whether the two mens’ past will have any impact on Perry’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination next year."

The Statesman's take on Perry's "brashness": "... Perry, who has a knack for trucking right along after making comments that initially seem ill-advised, didn't walk away from his words. And it was unclear just how much they would slow the momentum his blossoming campaign has built."

“Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert's Super PAC had a setback Monday when its treasurer, Salvatore Purpura, jumped ship - to Rick Perry's campaign,” the New York Daily News reports. “Funnyman Colbert's Super PAC had run ads in Iowa urging people to write in Rick Parry, with an A, leading up to the Iowa Straw Poll.” NBC’s John Bailey reported Purpura also worked in the treasurer's division of John McCain’s 2008 campaign and President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election.

ROMNEY: “Mitt Romney’s plan for a no-news cruise toward a general election matchup with President Obama has been jolted by the ascent of Texas Governor Rick Perry, the latest entrant to the Republican presidential race,” the Boston Globe’s Johnson and Viser report. “Yet despite the strong record of job creation in Texas under Perry’s leadership and the new candidate’s formidable fund-raising skill, Romney says he plans to maintain the same strategy that has made him the front-runner so far. Privately, Romney’s advisers seem to revel in the raised expectations for Perry, a gifted campaigner and the darling of the Tea Party movement and social conservatives. They cite the example of Sarah Palin, who was met with great fanfare when John McCain picked the Alaska governor as his running mate in 2008, only to falter after several gaffes and high-profile interviews. Then there is Perry’s Texas swagger and penchant for brash statements, which may be too much for some voters still feeling Bush fatigue.”

The Globe: “[T]he retail side of politics is not something that always comes naturally, something that Perry with his folksy style seems ready to exploit.  ‘Ian. That’s kind of a British name,’ Romney said to a 7-year-old boy asking for an autograph [yesterday]. The boy, Ian Sandhage, responded with a question. ‘Are you going to take Obama’s house away from him?’ Later, he continued guessing the origins of people’s names. ‘I’m Lisa Dellisola,’ one woman said to Romney. ‘That’s a Spanish name? Italian?’ he responded. (It’s Italian, and she confirmed Romney had her vote.) As Romney began to leave the company after his hourlong visit, he looked at the owner’s girlfriend, Ellen Boss. ‘Nice,’ Romney said as she blushed. ‘Nice choice. Just like me.’”

Romney also said this: “This for me is not about the next step in my political career. I don’t have a political career. I spent 25 years in business. I don’t care whether I’m popular. I don’t care if I get reelected.” (Really? Whether it’s Romney, Obama or whoever, does anyone actually believe when a politician says these kinds of things?)

Romney called for ‘common ground’, but at the same time praised the Tea Party: “Leaders [are successful] not by attacking their opposition but by finding common ground where principles are shared,” Romney said [last night] at a town hall meeting in this North Country community [of Berlin, NH]. “You see, in our nation, Democrats love America, too. I’m a Republican, I love America. Democrats love America. We need to find places where we can agree and work together to help America.”

He praised the Tea Party and said attacks on them are a product of the media’s penchant for sensationalism: “The nature of the news is to show those things that are unusual,” he said. “If someone lights their hair on fire, that’s very exciting – I don’t mean literally, I mean figuratively – and we follow that person. If some congressperson says something really wacko, that’s what makes the evening news, because it’s really wacko. And in any group you’re going to have people who get pulled out and the opposition party says, ‘This is what they stand for.’ With the Tea Party, the Tea Party folks stand for government being too big and too intrusive and they want it smaller. And I agree with them.”

Today, Romney tours a steel fabrication plant in Berlin, then travels to Utah for a series of fundraisers later in the week, NBC’s Garrett Haake notes.