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Rick Perry, Iowa Straw Poll Turn GOP Field Upside Down

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It was a dramatic reset to the Republican race for president this weekend with a big victory for one candidate, the exit of another and the entrance of a third.

Making the rounds on the morning talk shows Sunday, Michele Bachmann took a victory lap in Iowa Sunday morning after winning the Ames Straw Poll, but the political fight for Iowa's attention has just begun.

"Obama is my strategy," Bachmann said on ABC's This Week.  "I intend to be the nominee of the Republican Party and to take him on and to defeat him in 2012."

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced on Sunday that he is dropping out of the presidential contest after a disappointing third-place finish in the straw poll.

"We needed to get some lift to continue on and have a pathway forward," Pawlenty said Sunday morning in an exclusive interview on This Week.  "That didn't happen, so I'm announcing this morning on your show that I'm going to be ending my campaign for president."

Perhaps the bigger game changer in the Republican presidential field happened 1,200 miles away from Iowa with Texas Gov. Rick Perry announcing his candidacy at a Republican gathering in South Carolina on Saturday.

"It is time to get America working again, and that's why with the support of my family and unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today as a candidate for president of the United States," Perry said.

Perry, who will now challenge Bachmann for the social and Christian conservative vote, made his first appearance as a presidential candidate in Iowa Sunday night.

While Iowa has been full of Republican presidential hopefuls in recent days and weeks, it's about to get more crowded yet with President Obama hitting the campaign trail Monday.

Coming off a week of downgrades and stock market uncertainty, President Obama is preparing to push back against the Republican candidates who have been picking apart his economic record by kicking off a three-day bus tour Monday.

The president's bus tour begins Monday in Minnesota and then will move through Iowa.  At the same time the president will criss-cross Iowa in his bus, Perry will be cruising the Iowa interstates in his own bus tour.

As Perry seeks to gain the approval of Iowans after bypassing the straw poll, Obama will work to re-connect with voters and refocus his message.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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