On Aug. 14, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry converged on the Black Hawk County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner in Waterloo, Iowa, with their heads held high.

Fresh off her Ames Straw Poll win, Bachmann was nonetheless already showing signs of hubris on that mid-August night. She remained in her bus, parked outside, ahead of her remarks and refused to enter the building until the house lights had been dimmed to her liking — and after she was twice introduced by the emcee. It was a celebrity-style act that miffed more than a few attendees.

Perry, on the other hand, shone as brightly as his freshly polished cowboy boots. The charismatic Texan worked the room with Clintonian ease and, seemingly overnight, passed Bachmann for the lead in the nation’s first voting state.

Bachmann and Perry were the stars of the show, with Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich mere afterthoughts in the media narrative of the impending battle for Iowa.

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