Election 101: Ten facts about Michele Bachmann and her presidential bid

With her announcement Monday that she is entering the presidential race, Michele Bachmann has given the tea party a candidate to call its own. Her conservative views and flame-throwing style have already attracted tangible support from evangelicals and the anti-Washington crowd. But is she capable of running a campaign that can withstand the rigors and scrutiny of the presidential process?

1. How will she position herself?

Larry Downing/REUTERS/File
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) of Minnesota addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting in Washington on Feb. 10.

She’ll claim the mantle of the true conservative in the race.

“She’s the real deal,” says Larry Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota.

The founder and chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus, the Minnesota congresswoman earns a “perfect” rating from the American Conservative Union for consistently voting in line with small-government, antitax, socially conservative ideals.

These aren’t just poll-tested positions for Ms. Bachmann. Long before entering politics, she was an activist who protested outside abortion clinics and tried to repeal a statewide educational curriculum.

She also has a compelling rags-to-riches personal story. Raised by her mother, Bachmann (named “Miss Congeniality” in her hometown Miss Anoka pageant) earned a law degree from Oral Roberts University and a degree in tax law from the College of William and Mary. She worked as an attorney for the IRS for five years, and then quit to be a stay-at-home mom.

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