Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is formally kicking off her campaign with a speech in Waterloo this morning. Last night, there was a “homecoming” at the Electric Park Ballroom in Waterloo.

“We’re family, so get comfortable,” Bachmann said. “We’re going to have a wonderful time here this evening.”

Bachmann is a Waterloo native and she spent much of last night  reminiscing. “We lived over at 2010 East 9th Street. It was near Hawthorne School. There’s a Dairy Queen over there on 11th Street,” Bachmann said.  “That was my favorite place to go when I was little.”

She even talked about her favorite sandwich: mayonnaise and lettuce on Wonder Bread. “We loved those sandwiches. They were so good,” Bachmann said, as the crowd laughed.

Bachmann’s emphasis on her hometown roots seemed to resonate with the crowd of over 500. Debbie Bailey of Waterloo volunteered to greet people at the door. “She seems like a nice, down-home person,” Bailey said.

Bachmann told the crowd she’s been “trying to ring a bell” as a member of the U.S. House — to get the attention of “a lot of politicians.” And the crowd’s loudest reactions Sunday night were to Bachmann’s taunts of the Democratic president.

“In 2012, Barack Obama will be a one term president,” Bachmann said, as the crowd chimed in to say “one term president” with her.

Ernie and Virginia Sage, who live near Dunkerton, were part of last night’s crowd. “What do we like most about her? Her honesty,” Ernie Sage said in response to a reporter’s question. 

Sage liked the part of the speech when Bachmann ridiculed President Obama as the “Teleprompter-in-Chief.”

“You know, I don’t have a teleprompter.  I don’t know if you noticed that up here,” Bachmann said, to lengthy cheering, applause and whistles.  “President Bachmann may be retiring that thing, by the way, when I get to the White House.  We may not have that.”

Ernie Sage called that the evening’s high point.  

“I thought that was pretty nice because if you can’t say what you have to say without reading it, maybe you shouldn’t be saying it,” Ernie Sage said.

Virginia Sage said Bachmann seems in touch with her roots. “A lot of common sense that we need to turn this country to turn it around,” Virginia Sage said. “No question.”

Bachmann toured the neighborhood in Waterloo where her family lived when she was born.  She also visited the Lutheran Church where she was baptized. She is scheduled to deliver a formal campaign “announcement” speech this morning in downtown Waterloo.

Listen to Bachmann’s speech: BachmannHomecoming