Bachmann Encounters 'Gay Robot,' Hecklers in Liberal Iowa City
Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann met a raucous crowd at Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Iowa City on Thursday. Police were called in to keep the peace.
By now the GOP presidential candidates have seen it all: hecklers, protesters, haters of all shapes and sizes. Well, mostly all.
On Thursday afternoon in Iowa City, Michele Bachmann encountered a man dressed in a robot suit, who shouted her down with the aid of a built-in megaphone. He called himself, "roboprof," and was booed and quickly asked to leave Hamburg Inn No. 2, where Bachmann made the campaign stop.
"I am a gay robot. I oppose Bachmann's position on gays, whether they are human or robot," said the man, who declined to give his name, although he admitted to being the same robot who heckled Bill Clinton at the University of Iowa in 2007.
At that time, the person in the robot suit was revealed to be Kembrew McLeod, a communications professor at the University of Iowa.
Bachmann swept through the popular diner in about 20 minutes, shaking hands, signing autographs and taking pictures, but made no statements and did not comment to the media. The restaurant was packed to the brim with well over 100 people — both supporters and plenty of opponents. The lack of support was not altogether surprising in the liberal enclave.
Police were called, and four officers arrived towards the end of the visit to help keep the peace in the raucous crowd.
A group of Occupy Iowa City protesters tried to shout over the noise of the eatery while Bachmann was there.
"Michele Bachmann will fix the economy by laying off workers and cutting their pay. Michele Bachmann fights proudly for marriage unless the couple happens to be gay," about 15 people scattered around the restaurant said. "You're not wanted here. You're not wanted here so go, just go."
"We think the electoral process and our politicians are flawed. We are speaking against politicians in general. Bachmann is just today's example," said Eva Roethler, 24, of Iowa City, who was among the people who spoke out.
According to the Hamburg, the campaign brought in music and speakers, which were cranked up to drown out protesters. Supporters, some of whom who were seen later on the Bachmann tour bus, chimed in saying "We love you, Michele," and "You are our next president." A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed the loud music to the restaurant.
"She is the only one I can trust. We feel she is the most conservative," said Michael Clark, 70, of Coralville, who attended with his wife, Myra, 56.
The Minnesota Congresswoman has been campaigning heavily in Eastern Iowa of late. She stopped made 10 stops on Wednesday, including in Washington, and had 10 more stops on the books for today.
Bachmann is languishing in the polls. In the most recent poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers by Iowa State University/Gazette/KCRG poll, Bachmann had 7.4 percent of the support, which was good enough for fifth place behind Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, respectively.
Currently, only Rick Santorum and Rick Perry have visited Hamburg Inn this caucus season. Hamburg Inn has gained a national reputation as a stopping point for political candidates. The restaurant has reached out to all of candidates, but the lack of Republican visits is understandable given Iowa City is heavily Democrat.