Bachmann @ the center of the dance floor (audio)

Minnesota Congresswoman/Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is standing in the middle of the dance floor at the Electric Park Ballroom in Waterloo, Iowa, to talk to the hundreds of people who’ve shown up here on this Sunday evening.

AUDIO: Michele Bachmann – Waterloo, IA 34 min

The program started at 6:17 p.m. with a brief speech from the chairman of Black Hawk County Republicans.

“Black Hawk County is a mecca now for Republican presidential candidates,” the chair declared.

Next up, Jason Lewis, a Waterloo native who is a talk show host.  “Alright Waterloo.  Are you ready to have some fun tonight?”  he asked the crowd.  He even made a reference to local anchorman Ron Steele, getting laughter from the crowd.

The crowd erupted when Lewis predicted the first thing Bachmann would do as president would be to “repeal ObamaCare.”

When Lewis mentioned Senator Tom Harkin’s name and Harkin’s call for another stimulus bill, some in the crowd booed. “With all due respect to the senate, he may be living proof we haven’t won the war on drugs,” Lewis said. The crowd laughed and applauded.

Bachmann entered the room at 6:22 p.m.  The campaign chose a song from Katrina and the Waves — “Walking on Sunshine” — for her entrance.

“Welcome home,” she said at 6:26 p.m.  “My name is Michele Bachmann and tomorrow I am going to announce that I am running for the presidency of the United States of America.”

The crowd cheered.

“Get comfortable, we’re family…We’re going to have a wonderful time here this evening,” Bachmann said, before talking about Lewis and asking the crowd for another round of applause for Lewis.

“We’re here to have fun tonight, aren’t we?” she said, then introduced her husband to the crowd.  She called four of her children up on stage, after telling the crowd she’d just talked by phone with her son — the doctor in Connecticut.

Bachmann introduced her mother to the crowd. “The woman who gave birth to me here at Allen Memorial Hospital,” Bachmann said.  Someone gave a wolf whistle.

“Now you know that I came by my height honestly,” she said.   She introduced her brother David, calling him up on stage.  “This is the one who is responsible for terrorizing me to no end,” Bachmann joked, then added: “Three brothers, no sisters — the best preparation for politics any girl could have.”

“…My mom and dad both graduated from East High School,” Bachmann said.  A few apparent East High graduates in the crowd cheered.

“We are very proud to be Iowans. We go back to seven generations…back to the 1850s…and literally were part of the pioneers who felled the trees” and cleared the prairie for farming.

“Everything I needed to know I learned in Iowa,” she said.  “I wanted to come to Waterloo…because this is the sensibility and this is where it all began.  Tomorrow I’m going to speak to the nation, but…I wanted to speak to you first.”

Bachmann talked, as she has before, about taking the “voice” of Iowa and the heartland to Washington.  Then she shared a few memories of her childhood in Waterloo and Cedar Falls.

“My mom told me the day that I was born she was out planting tulips in the yard,” Bachmann said.  Her dad was at the State Teachers College that day.

“We were Democrats at that time,” Bachmann said, then she gave a shout-out to any Democrats in the room.  “We’re glad you’re here at the Electric Park Ballroom tonight.”

She sketched her humbled beginnings, including how she relished mayo and lettuce sandwiches.

“When I was growing up, the highlight of the year was going to the Cattle Congress,” Bachman said, getting a “yeah” from many in the crowd. “…This was kind of the center of our universe.”

Bachmann told the crowd of her visit to First Lutheran this morning.  “Wouldn’t you know, I ran into one of (her mother’s) classmates from high school.”  (Janice and her husband are now standing, listening to Bachmann’s speech, still in the booth area just off the dance floor where Bachmann is standing.

“I want you to know how grateful I am…for this wonderful, decent, God-fearing community…This was such a fine community to be born in…to be a part of.  I’m just thrilled with pride when I think of what Waterloo put in our family and all of us…This is what we need more of.  We need more Waterloo.  We need more Iowa.  We need more closeness, more families…to take that idea that is America, that was formed here.  It’s not too late.  I want you to be encouraged.  Sometimes when you look at the numbers out there…and you hear about all the bad news…I want you to know it is not too late. We can turn it around. America can be better.  We will be better.”

The crowd applauded.

“Iowa gets to choose.  Think of that awesome responsibilty and I have a suggestion for you,” Bachmann said.

Someone in the crowd shouted: “You go girl.”

Bachmann then made a strong sale to get the crowd to go to the Straw Poll in Ames.  “That’s not a small deal.  That’s a big deal,” she said.

She then went back to the story about her family moving north, to Minnesota which she said “would put fear in the heart of any Iowan.”

She recounted her conversation with her mother when she was told about the move. “But we’ve never even been to Des Moines to see the state capitol.  How can we leave now?” Bachmann told the crowd she had told her mother. “The tears did not dissuade my mother…but in my heart, this was home.”

The crowd’s largest response of the night came next.  “I don’t have a teleprompter.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed that up here. President Bachmann may be retiring that thing,” Bachmann said, before adding a dig at the current “Teleprompter-in-Chief.”

She wound down by talking about the most famous folks from Waterloo, the Sullivan Brothers.

“This is our time.  This is our year….We’re going to take…the sensibilities of this land…and in 2012 Barack Obama will be a one term president,” she said in conclusion, drawing out the words “one term president” as the crowd chanted along.

“American Girl” is playing as Bachmann exits.  It’s 6:50 p.m.  Event over.

Shortly before her appearance, the Rolling Stones were piped through the venue’s sound system.  The lyric of, “you’d make a grown man cry,” seems appropriate for many in the crowd who’ve told me they want to see Barack Obama be a one-term president.

I walked around for a while and talked with the crowd, but could find no one who went to elementary school with Bachmann. I did find a woman who went to school with Bachmann’s mother.  I’m off to talk with the crowd and get their impressions of Bachmann’s speech.

Bachmann’s “formal” announcement speech will be delivered tomorrow morning in Waterloo at The Snowden House.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. “Ernie and Virginia Sage, who live near Dunkerton, were part of last night’s crowd. ”What do we like most about her? Her honesty,” Ernie Sage said in response to a reporter’s question.

    Sage liked the part of the speech when Bachmann ridiculed President Obama as the “Teleprompter-in-Chief.””

    Interesting. They prefer Bachmann’s “honesty” over someone who reads a prepared speech. So they are saying how they like that she makes it up as she goes along.

  2. Wow, didn’t like my post so you removed it. That is Republican censorship if I ever saw it. Good job with getting this crazy person (MB) to the WH.

  3. Les: We didn’t remove it. We sometimes get behind on moderating comments and yours never went up. (It’s up now) Please don’t feel like a whiny, anonymous troll, you had no way to know. – Kay’s Web Monkey


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