(Photo: Reuters / Jeff Haynes)
Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is in a virtual dead-heat with Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination. Today, she made her campaign official by announcing in her childhood home of Waterloo, Iowa.
Bachmann had announced her exploratory plans on-stage during the first Republican debate, first capturing the attention of millions of voters interested seeking to engage in the infancy of the campaign. Since then, she has remained front and center, even as some of her colleagues have announced and taken bold stands on major policy positions.
“We can’t afford four more years of Barack Obama,” Bachmann said in her prepared remarks.
The three-term congresswoman from Minnesota began her announcement by asking Americans to “recapture” the values necessary to address such issues as the national debt, the rise in foreclosures and President Obama’s economic policies.
Bachmann’s elevation to the top of the polls took hold during the 2010 sweep on Congress. Once a little-known member of Congress, she can claim top-status in both the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement, something very few of her colleagues can say.
Often compared to both Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, Bachmann seems to bring a unique combination of a political savvy and conservative elected official with that of a super-mom who raised almost two dozen foster children alongside her own five children – all while maintaining a challenging tax law practice.
But Bachmann will still need to go above-and-beyond to prove she is indeed a serious candidate.
On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Bachmann, “Are you a flake?”
“I think that would be insulting to say something like that because I’m a serious person,” Bachmann quickly replied. Bachmann took the opportunity in her announcement to provide a more specific answer to Wallace’s question.
“I seek the presidency not for vanity, but because America is at a critical moment,” Rep. Bachmann said. “I believe that we must make a bold choice if we are to secure the promise of our future.”
Leading conservative candidates like Mike Huckabee have so far, chosen to stay out of this year’s race. Sarah Palin will be sweeping into Iowa tomorrow to attend the premiere of the documentary, “The Undefeated,” about her.
So far, Palin has chosen to keep her presidential aspirations quiet, allowing Bachmann to stand as the lone female in a line of blue suits and red ties on the Republican stage.
As of today, Bachmann is out from under Palin’s shadow and will most likely remain there for the remainder of the campaign.
Palin and Bachmann share similar characteristics such as their blunt political style, making them a favorite of red-meat conservatives. But what may separate Bachmann is her ability not only to lay claim to conservative values, but also to capitalize on them given her solid record of opposing abortion and strong religious views.
Steve Roberts, a former Iowa state party chairman was complimentary of Bachmann’s stage presence.
“She showed she was as good as anybody up there, she gave the conservatives some red meat and proved she was a candidate to be reckoned with,” said Roberts of Bachmann’s first presidential debate earlier this month. She has charisma, and if the Republican field needs anything it’s someone to get people excited.
Roberts went on to point out that Bachmann is on track to do well in states with a large evangelical base like Iowa and South Carolina.
Bachmann will also make campaign stops today in New Hampshire and South Carolina.