He chastised Republicans for brinksmanship, saying "some in Congress would rather see their opponents lose than see America win."
That's an assessment that has some validity, particularly among the new class of House Republicans who have used their outsized legislative power to stymie Obama at every turn since their election last November.
Working in Obama's favor is a Republican Party still struggling to find a presidential candidate who lights a fire with voters. Questions remain about the appeal of Bachmann and Paul beyond, respectively, the more conservative and libertarian wings of the party.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, looking for a strong showing in Iowa to boost his struggling candidacy, ended a distant third with 2,293 votes, or 14 percent. On Sunday, he quit the race.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP's 2008 vice presidential nominee, wasn't on the ballot and isn't a candidate yet. But she showed up at the Iowa State Fair a day before the vote, drawing huge crowds and saying she hadn't ruled out running.
Like Bachmann and Perry, Palin is a tea party favorite, but her coyness about joining the race could hurt her chances should she finally declare.
While Obama's bus tour is meant, in part, to blunt the Iowa Republican festivities, it will have to compete for attention as the country digests Perry's rhetorical assault on Obama's presidency.
Perry, a former Democrat and the nation's longest-serving governor, told his appreciative audience that Obama's government had "an insatiable desire to spend our children's inheritance." He accused Obama of presiding over an "economic disaster" that has been "downgrading our hope for a better future."
"I'll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your lives as I can," Perry said, clearly bowing to his tea party backing. Specifics for turning his promises into realities were absent.
By entering the race on the same day as the Iowa voting, Perry angered some Republicans but saved some campaign cash and energy.
If nothing else, voters won't be able to ignore the fact that Perry's speaking style and swagger are eerily reminiscent of another Texas governor who made the transition to the national stage: President George W. Bush.
With his solid credentials on social as well as economic issues, Perry is an immediate threat to Bachmann, Romney and every other GOP candidate.
Romney did not participate in the Iowa poll, which he won four years ago before dropping out of the race when he failed to catch fire against eventual nominee John McCain. Romney did join all the announced candidates Thursday at an Iowa debate.
But it was his pre-debate visit to the Iowa State Fair that produced a political gift to the Democrats.
Responding to a heckler who challenged him on tax policies that benefit big business, he blurted out that "corporations are people, my friend." The Democratic National Committee quickly used video of that remark in pre-straw poll television ads in Des Moines, the state capital. It was the kind of business-friendly Republican applause line that could haunt him with undecided voters and disaffected Democrats.
Obama and the other GOP hopefuls now face daily scrutiny as well as they try to avoid for the same kind of misstep. That's a nearly impossible task in the long, arduous and expensive path toward the White House.
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