TAPPER (voice-over): This week, decision time for Tim Pawlenty after a Bachmann blowout. The congresswoman wins the Ames straw poll, acing the first big test of the presidential campaign. And now her Minnesota rival faces a tough decision. And Congresswoman Bachmann joins me to discuss her straw poll victory. Will his third-place finish end Pawlenty's struggling campaign? We're live with him exclusively in Iowa to get the answer. But was the weekend's biggest winner the one that didn't compete?
PERRY: I declare to you today as a candidate for president of the United States.
TAPPER: Texas Governor Rick Perry shakes up the field, and Sarah Palin steals the spotlight again. But she's still...
PALIN: Not sure yet.
TAPPER (on-screen): So by next month?
(voice-over): On a rollercoaster week that has President Obama looking more vulnerable than ever before, our special Iowa roundtable tackles 2012: George Will, Laura Ingraham, Matthew Dowd, Kay Henderson, and Amy Walter, all here in the first-in-the-nation state.
ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of "This Week with Christiane Amanpour." Live from Ames, Iowa, ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper.
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TAPPER: Good morning. Christiane is off this week. We're coming to you live from the center of the political universe, Iowa. We'll have all the highlights for you from yesterday's straw poll, plus an interview with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who finished first in the straw poll. Plus, all eyes are on former Governor Tim Pawlenty, who came in a disappointing third. We'll have an exclusive interview with him.
But, first, here's the news since your morning papers.
Four people were killed and about 40 injured after a stage collapsed at the Indiana state fair. A powerful storm sent steel scaffolding tumbling into the panicked crowd awaiting a performance by the country band Sugarland. The state fair will close today.
Here in Iowa, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is taking a victory lap today. She won the Ames straw poll with 29 percent of the more than 16,000 votes cast. Congressman Ron Paul was nipping at her heels with 28 percent, while former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty placed a distant third, with just 14 percent.
As for the also-rans, former Senator Rick Santorum got 10 percent of the vote; pizza mogul Herman Cain 9 percent. Four percent of the straw poll attendees wrote in Rick Perry; that's 151 more than voted for Mitt Romney, whose name was on the ballot. Bringing up the rear, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman.
So today brings new momentum for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and some serious questions for former Governor Tim Pawlenty. He joins me now to address them.
Congressman, a disappointing -- I'm sorry, Governor, a disappointing finish for you. What went wrong?
PAWLENTY: Well, it was disappointing. But let me first say, Jake, this has been an incredible process. It's been a great honor for Mary and me and our team to convey the message of trying to get this country back on track -- and I think it is off-track -- but bringing my record forward as a two-term governor of a blue state, doing things like getting government spending under control, doing health care reform the right way, and much more.