About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view Anelia's profile
    Posted August 17, 2011 by
    waterloo, Iowa
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    GOP presidential primary: Who's your pick?

    More from Anelia

    Centenarian gets a pie from Bachmann, a kiss from Perry


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Anelia shot this video at the Black Hawk County Republicans Lincoln Dinner in Waterloo, Iowa, on Sunday, August 14, where Republican candidate Michele Bachmann spoke. Bachmann gave an apple pie to 'the oldest Republican mother in the room,' who happened to be Mary Canfield, a 100-year-old resident from Cedar Falls.
    - katie, CNN iReport producer




    A kiss from Gov. Rick Perry and a pie from Michele Bachmann.
    That’s what Mary Canfield, a Cedar Falls centenarian, got at the Black Hawk County Republicans Lincoln Day Dinner Sunday after Bachmann crowned her the “oldest Republican mother” at the fourth annual fundraiser on Aug. 14.
    With 117 media members at the Electric Park Ballroom, many of the 300 guests found themselves in an unfamiliar territory under the intense spotlight of cameras.
    “There is nothing more American than apple pie,” Bachmann said as she aptly wrapped the unexpected symbolic gift, “the biggest, fattest, deepest” apple pie she could buy, in a personal memory of a mother-daughter contest at a local church. “Mary, you may not be the oldest,” she said to laughter. “There’s very good genes here in the Black Hawk County area, is there anyone else? I want to be fair…”
    But with the gesture of a token pie, the winner of the Iowa Straw Poll may have lost more votes in Waterloo than she garnered in Ames because she turned down an invitation, relished by both Sen. Rick Santorum and Gov. Rick Perry, to mingle with fellow Republicans from her native town. They had paid $30 per plate for the opportunity to get to know the candidates personally.
    “She can give away the pie, but it would have been nice if she could eat the pie that was served at the dinner," said Judd Saul, the spokesperson for Black Hawk County Republicans. "We are not animals here, and  she is not the president yet. She will still have to win our votes.  We would like a more humble approach where she could break bread with the people."
    On the stage, Bachmann, whose entry was rockstar-like after her rivals had spoken, got the crowd going with her talking points.
    But it was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the new kid on the block, who fired up the crowd after his Saturday announcement that he was running for commander-in-chief.
    All eyes were on Perry as he walked into the ballroom, shook hands and chatted—in espresso-shot style—with supporters. When he reached Mary Canfield, the Cedar Falls centenarian, he leaned over her chair and gave her a peck on the cheek. Followed by a beehive of cameras clamoring to capture his every gesture and comment, he worked the crowd with charisma and eventually got in front of the microphone.
    “One of the powerful reasons why I am running for the presidency of the United States is to make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform for this country respects highly the president of the United States,” Perry said to applause.
    In his remarks, which he delivered as he occasionally glanced at notes and carried on an impromptu dialogue with U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, Perry outlined four principles he said he had already implemented in Texas.
    If applied from the Oval Office, he argued, these measures – cutting spending, keeping taxes low, ensuring predictability in the regulatory system and passing tort reform to curb frivolous law suits – would drive “the American economy skyward like a rocket.”
    “We’re not angry, we are indignant,” he said. “We are indignant at the arrogance and the audacity that this administration is showing about the values that are important to the people of America. We’re indignant about a government that borrows trillions of dollars because they do not have the courage to say no. We are indignant about activist agencies like the EPA that attempt to destroy the local economies at the expense of state sovereignty…We are indignant about a president who  goes on an American apology tour instead of talking about American exceptionalism.”
    Perry’s delivery pizzazz drew enthusiastic applause, and stood in contrast with the low-key remarks given by Rick Santorum, who kicked off the candidate lineup earlier in the evening.
    Santorum called his efforts the “little engine that could campaign” and pledged to continue diligently to stump in Iowa, where he has been to 65 counties.
    “The straw poll for us was a victory for dollars spent for votes,” Santorum said. “We won yesterday.”
    Wes Gade, a computer programmer from Waverly, said that while he would not have any problem voting for any of the social conservatives in the race, Santorum’s stance on issues and his down-to-earth approach appeal to him the most.
    “He was not reading a speech or notes, he was talking from the heart,” Gade said. “He did better than what I was expecting [at the straw poll]. He took fourth for a guy that hasn't run any TV commercials, or radio ads and doesn't drive around in a big tour bus like Bachmann does. Like he said, votes for dollar, he won. That kinda says that local people and grassroots gravitate to him, but it is probably going to be hard for him to overcome all the national media and hype that Bachmann, Perry and Romney get.”
    Wes’s brother, Brad, a broker at CUNA Mutual, said Perry’s passion stood out for him.
    “It’s gonna be tough to decide,” he said. “He brings a lot of excitement to the race. What sets him apart is the experience that he has, years of executive experience that even our current president was lacking in the last election. He seemed prepared to handle the turbulent times. If one of them gets the nomination, we can say we shook hands with them.”
    Marcella Gruver, a retired nurse, now 80, who accompanied Canfield, and later savored a small piece of the pie at her home, said that it would be hard for her to choose among the conservative candidates.
    “I’m really pleased that finally a conservative woke up and said, ‘I have to be a candidate myself. I cannot just complain against the liberals, I have to be active and participate,’” she said.
    Gruver said that preserving marriage is the most important issue for her.
    “Marriage is between one man and one woman,” she said. “You don't give civil rights to sin. Homosexuals do not deserve special rights because the Constitution gives it to them. I don’t believe in mistreating anybody, but they should get justice through the law, not special treatment.”
    Gruver said she enjoys going to political gatherings, an activity she has picked up even more since the death of her husband, Charles, in 2002.
    “I thought it was well planned," she said of the fundraiser. If you are running for president, you should be entitled to your own parade.”

    Add your Story Add your Story