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Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul, and 8 others shaking up the new Congress

Because this House freshman class - 96 strong, including 87 Republicans - is the largest since 1992, those who speak for them, or claim to, have a leg up. Here are ten to watch.

- Staff writer

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) of Minnesota. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

3. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) of Minnesota

The founder of the House Tea Party Caucus, Representative Bachmann has broad grass-roots support, a celebrity profile, and vast fundraising capacity. She raised more than $14 million for the 2010 election cycle alone.

Her early ties to the tea party movement weren’t enough to break into House GOP leadership. Instead, she’s creating an unofficial platform, including seminars on the Constitution, most recently featuring Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and her own unofficial GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union message.

Not known as a team player, she has her own plan to cut some $423 billion out of federal spending. But it’s not clear she can build the following among House colleagues that she has at tea party rallies around the country. Still, her claim to represent the hopes and anger of tea party voters – and the intense media attention that amplifies them both – cannot be ignored.


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