Texas Governor Rick Perry will try to take a share of the spotlight shining on the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa on Saturday and direct it to the East Coast, where the yet-undeclared presidential hopeful will be the star attraction at Republican events in two key early primary states on the same day.

Republicans and Democrats may be at loggerheads about the debt ceiling and what to cut from the budget, but they agree on one thing: It’s OK to bill the taxpayers for gourmet coffee, pricey pastries, and bottled water.

Until recently, Herman Cain was a largely unknown businessman whose major claims to fame included a high-level appointment in the Federal Reserve System and some degree of success in the private sector. But after an early GOP primary debate hosted by Fox News, his name exploded into the headlines as that of a serious contender for the 2012 Republican nomination.

Michele Bachmann is hoping to become the first presidential candidate to go directly from the House of Representatives to the White House since James Garfield made the leap in 1880. But a rapid climb up the political ladder is nothing new for the third-term Congresswoman who has gone from defeated school-board candidate in Stillwater, Minnesota, to top-tier presidential candidate in a mere 12 years.

With Texas Governor Rick Perry expected to make an "announcement" on Saturday at a conservative conference in South Carolina, scrutiny of his record is more important than ever — particularly a look at his record with regard to China. In spite of posturing as an independent Christian conservative, Perry has consistently contributed to what is called the Chinafication of America.