All eyes were supposed to be on Iowa’s straw poll Saturday, which Rep. Michele Bachmann won, but it was Texas Gov. Rick Perry who stole the show – jetting from the official announcement of his presidential run in South Carolina to an intimate house party in New Hampshire where he said he “felt right at home.”

Arriving in a caravan of black and silver SUVs in a quiet neighborhood on New Hampshire’s seacoast, Perry eschewed the state’s informality and showed up in his suit – though no cowboy boots – greeting 150 guests on the back porch of state Rep. Pam Tucker’s house with a big wave and “Hi y’all

Before entertaining questions from his guests – but not reporters – Perry said New Hampshire’s state motto, “Live Free or Die,” reminded him of Texas Col. William Barrett Travis’s 1836 Letter from the Alamo when he wrote: “Victory or Death.”

“You can’t live free knowing your children are going to inherit a mountain of debt,” he said. “You can’t live free if you don’t have the dignity of having a job or income to take care of your family.