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Republican presidential hopefuls in downtown LA

September 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Several Republican presidential hopefuls are headlining the convention this weekend in downtown Los Angeles.

The featured speaker Friday night at the California Republican Convention at the J.W. Marriott Hotel was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann brought her presidential campaign to L.A., but she also ran into an unique form of protest.

A flash mob was organized by a gay rights group called Courage Campaign via an email blast.

"We very quietly let our activists know we were going to do this," said Founder Rick Jacobs. "They rehearsed and turned out and here they are."

At least 100 showed up to dance to Madonna's song "Like a Prayer," with a clear message for Bachman who was speaking inside.

"We're here and we're queer and we're here to stay," said activist Laura Pluemer.

Gay rights wasn't the focus for Bachmann at the convention, President Barack Obama was.

She's criticized his role in helping an energy company called Solyndra. The energy company received a fast tracked $500 million loan from the federal government, but is now out of cash. Congress is now investigating.

Earlier Friday, Bachmann spent her day in Costa Mesa defending recent comments she made at a GOP debate. Bachmann had quoted a mother who said the HPV vaccine caused mental retardation. It is something most medical experts have discredited.

"I'm not a doctor, I am not a scientist," said Bachmann. "I was just reiterating what the woman had told me about her daughter."

Meanwhile, the Republican frontrunner, Gov. Rick Perry, spent his day in Iowa telling the crowd he'd run America like he's run Texas.

"What this election is really all about, it's about freedom," said Perry. "Freedom from over-taxation, freedom from over-regulation, freedom from over-litigation."

Republican candidate Jon Huntsman picked up an endorsement from former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

"A great country needs a great leader with great vision, I think he's standing next to me," said Ridge.

"After all there's only one election in this race so far, it's the Iowa straw poll," said Bachmann. "I am the candidate that won the Iowa straw poll in less time than any other candidate in the history of the straw poll."

There will be a California straw poll as a result of this weekend's activities.

Congressman Ron Paul is expected to speak on Saturday. We are not expected to hear from the two Republican leaders, Romney or Perry. The reason may be due to the fact that the California GOP primary won't be held until June, four months after the Iowa straw poll, and most expect the race will be wrapped up by then.

A Republican hasn't won California in the general election since George H. W. Bush in 1988.

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