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Two key tests for Michele Bachmann and her presidential bid

Rep. Michele Bachmann announced her presidential candidacy Monday, saying she is a 'bold choice.' Can she win the Iowa caucuses? And can she broaden her appeal beyond the tea party?

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As for increasing her appeal, Bachmann faced tough questions over the weekend about her credibility. In a pre-announcement appearance on "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace asked her, “Are you a flake?” and alluded to inaccurate statements she had made in the past. A recent Associated Press story noted that Bachmann inaccurately claimed taxpayers would have to foot a $200-million-a-day tab for a trip President Obama made in India. She also accused the president of running a “gangster government.”

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Bachmann kept her poise when responding to Mr. Wallace, saying, “I think that would be insulting to say something like that because I’m a serious person.” After the program, Wallace apologize for his choice of words. In an interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, Bachmann refused to accept the apology.

While Bachmann’s appeal outside her home state remains to be proved, she has assembled a skilled political team. As CNN political reporter Peter Hamby recently noted, Bachmann’s team is led by Ed Rollins, who managed Ronald Reagan’s 1984 landslide reelection and Mike Huckabee’s 2008 campaign. Her pollster is GOP veteran Ed Goeas, who had worked for the McCain campaign and was helping Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour before he decided against running for president this year.

One unknown is whether former GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin will enter the presidential race – and how that would affect support for Bachmann. So far, though, has devoted much more effort to building a political team than has Ms. Palin.

Just to keep things interesting, Palin is slated to travel to Iowa on Tuesday to attend a premier of “The Undefeated,” a movie about her political rise. It is the second time Palin has shown up after a potential rival has announced for the presidency. The last time was in New Hampshire after Mitt Romney announced his candidacy.


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