The Five Most Bitter Rivalries in Today's Iowa Straw Poll

Pawlenty vs. Bachmann; Paul vs. Santorum; Palin vs... herself?

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We won't know the results from the Iowa straw poll until about 6 p.m. this evening, but since last night, the competition has already been heating up between the GOP candidates, soon-to-be candidates, and non-candidates alike. There isn't a lot of attention to go around, what with Rick Perry announcing his candidacy today, and Sarah Palin simply being in the vicinity of the whole event. But that that didn't stop the rest from making their mark. Last night, on the straw poll eve, six candidates already got the competition started, in what the New York Times describes as "a ritual that has taken on outsize meaning." Let's see some of our favorites moments so far from the campaigning politicians.

Tim Pawlenty vs. Michele Bachmann: Apparently Pawlenty was showing plenty of spine (something he was criticized for in the past), taking some shots at Michele Bachmann and even teasing Mitt Romney. His crack about mowing Mitt's large yard? According to Pawlenty, “I was just having some fun with that and pulling Mitt’s chain a bit – it was a joke." Any regrets about taking on Michele Bachmann: "Nobody’s questioning her spine, we’re questioning her results." And as to how well he thinks he will do? ""If we do really bad, we'll have to reassess, but I don't think that is going to be the case." Very bold! And the boldness continues! We also hear that today he is wearing bright green.

Michele Bachman vs. The Media: This morning we hear from Politico's Mike Allen that Bachmann declared at breakfast, "I am an Iowan! ... Everything I needed to know in life, I learned in Iowa." And she's currently leading in attendees and volunteers.

But alongside any media coverage of Bachmann was plenty of vitriol. So instead of choosing the best Bachmann quote, we'll go with the best quotes said about Bachmann, from the intensely unflattering dispatch of her Friday speech in Huffington Post.

  • A 17-year-old gay teenage reportedly yelled at Bachmann, for her negative comments about homosexuality, "I'm a second class citizen because of you, Michele! Second class citizen! What about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for every American, Michele?"
  • "I might vote for that Rick Perry," said 64-year-old Jim Yencer, after Bachmann showed up late to speak.
  • "[Sarah] Palin's been hanging out here all day. What's the big cut and run?" said Rick Ryan, a 37-year-old local steel worker after Bachmann disappeared.

Ron Paul vs. Rick Santorum: It turns out there is something of a sign post battle between Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Jeff Zeleny from the New York Times tweeted: "Yard signs are a poor predictor of elections, but how about straw polls? Ron Paul and Rick Santorum win early sign war on drive to Ames." And there are other signs of feistiness: the Des Moines Register tweeted that "It's only 9 am and @RickSantorum is arguing abt Supreme Court w/ a heckler near the parking lots."

Sarah Palin vs. Herself: Apparently Palin said about showing up altogether, “I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes.” But as for whether or not she'll run, well, we've heard the answer before: “I don’t know if within the next couple of weeks I will be ready for an announcement or not, to tell you the truth,” she said, according to the Times. We find that easy to believe. But if she does run, it's her versus no one: “I don’t worry about any of the candidates. I would just run my own race, if I were to run.”

Everyone vs. Rick Perry : The shadow of Rick Perry, his campaign announcement, and the massive amounts of campaign money that he supposedly can raise with a snap of his fingers is looming over today's straw poll, with the New York Times reporting that money is no obstacle for him. Even Sarah Palin had no words against him: "“I appreciate that he’s willing to jump into this arena and to be a part of this,” she said.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.