Michele Bachmann 'the one to watch' as she kicks off her presidential campaign
Michele Bachmann won neck-and-neck status with presumed front-runner Mitt Romney in the first Des Moines Register Iowa Poll. But with a serious candidacy come tough questions about her record and political assertions.
When Michele Bachmann officially kicks off her presidential campaign Monday, she’ll have been given a tremendous weekend boost.Skip to next paragraph
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She won neck-and-neck status with presumed front-runner Mitt Romney in the first Des Moines Register Iowa Poll out Saturday night, which left all the other GOP hopefuls back in the dust. And she was all over the Sunday morning TV talk shows. A certifiably serious candidate, in other words.
In the Iowa Poll, Bachmann got 22 percent to Romney’s 23 percent. Trailing behind were Herman Cain with support from 10 percent of potential caucus goers, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul with 7 percent each, Tim Pawlenty with 6 percent, Rick Santorum with 4 percent, and Jon Huntsman with 2 percent.
Perhaps just as important, more respondents in the Iowa Poll picked Bachmann as their second choice (18 percent) than choose Romney (10 percent) or anybody else. Meanwhile, an Associated Press-GfK poll this past week showed her favorability rating among Republicans jumping from 41 percent to 54 percent. Her “unfavorables” among Republicans are very low as well.
“The surprise here is how quickly Michele Bachmann is catching on,” Jennifer Duffy, a political analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, told the Des Moines Register news organization. “To me, she’s the one to watch, not Romney.”
But it’s no surprise to Bachmann herself, a tea party favorite who doesn’t hesitate to weigh in on major issues and who lays out a background that she (and her supporters) think fully qualifies her for the presidency.
"I'm 55 years old. I've been married 33 years," she said on Fox News Sunday. "I'm not only a lawyer, I have a post-doctorate degree in federal tax law from William and Mary. I've worked in serious scholarship … my husband and I have raised five kids, we've raised 23 foster children. We've applied ourselves to education reform. We started a charter school for at-risk kids. I've also been a state senator and member of the United States Congress for five years."
Still, with near-front-runner status and a declared candidacy comes closer scrutiny.