Republican debate 2011: Michele Bachmann announces presidential run
Michele Bachmann announced her intentions to run for president during the Republican debate in New Hampshire, Monday.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, an outspoken Republican with close ties to the conservative tea party movement, announced Monday that she is running for president, a candidacy that could further shake up a volatile fight for the party's nomination.Skip to next paragraph
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The first female contender to enter the 2012 race, Bachmann announced her bid during a Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire. The third-term Minnesota congresswoman has been leaning heavily toward a run over the past few months, visiting early primary states, raising money and railing against President Barack Obama.
"We cannot risk giving President Obama four more years to dismantle our nation. We must act now," Bachmann said in a fundraising letter sent within an hour of her entrance. "That's why I've made the decision to get in this race."
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She brings high energy, charisma and proven fundraising ability to the race to nominate a Republican challenger to Obama. She also is known for unyielding stances, biting commentary and high-profile gaffes.
Bachmann is attempting the rare leap from the U.S. House of Representatives to the presidency.
Despite having low seniority and few policy accomplishments, she has risen to prominence in Washington in part by her frequent television appearances and willingness to attack Obama in sharp terms.
Her popularity with tea party activists and her credentials as a social conservative make her a credible threat to other candidates courting conservatives who make up the core of the Republican Party. Her impact may be felt most in Iowa, the first stop in the nomination battle and where Christian evangelicals dominate.
While she hasn't built the broad campaign infrastructure of some Republican rivals, she has gradually patched together a blend of tested and fresh-but-determined advisers. She's also shown an ability to raise money from a network of small-dollar donors, including $13.5 million she put toward the her 2010 House race, the nation's most expensive.
Bachmann spent the bulk of her political career in Minnesota and Washington as a minority party member, reveling in her role as a fierce voice of the opposition. She didn't let up when Republicans gained control of the U.S. House last fall, enhancing her standing through public breaks with party leaders after she was denied a place in caucus leadership.
The camera-friendly congresswoman has irked some party leaders by grabbing at the spotlight, such as the alternate televised response she delivered to Obama's State of the Union speech this winter.
Her willingness to speak her mind — she once accused Obama of running a "gangster government" — has brought her both loyal fans and plenty of critics. In 2009, she called it an "interesting coincidence" that the last swine flu outbreak in the U.S. occurred under a Democratic president, though it actually happened whenRepublican Gerald Ford was in office.