Cain upsets Perry in Florida Republican straw poll

Sep 24, 2011, 7:13 p.m.
U.S. presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks to delegates during the Republican Party of Florida Presidency 5 Convention in Orlando, Florida September 24, 2011. REUTERS/Phelan Ebenhack

Florida, the most populous of the presidential swing states, is a critical test for both Republicans and Democrats. The Florida vote was so close in the 2000 election that it led to a ballot recount battle between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush, who was ruled the winner.

Romney, former Massachusetts governor, and Bachmann chose not to compete in the straw poll but their names were put on the ballot since they took part in the debate and spoke to delegates in Orlando.

Perry issued a statement after the straw poll results were revealed that was clearly aimed at Romney.

"Floridians and voters nationally want a candidate who is clear on the issues and talks honestly about the future, not someone who takes multiple sides of an issue and changes views every election season," Perry said.

Romney also held off from directly targeting Perry in a speech later on Saturday in Michigan. Instead, he took aim at Obama and made his case against Perry indirectly.

Romney called for strict measures to stop illegal immigrants, and echoed his contention that the country needs a businessman like himself, not a career politician like Obama, or Perry, to solve its economic problems.

"Those skills are what are needed in America today," said Romney, the multi-millionaire founder of private equity firm Bain Capital.

(Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle in Washington; editing by xxxx)

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