(Photo: Liberty University News Service)
Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann bypassed any political rhetoric and went straight to the Gospel and her personal Christian testimony in her convocation address Wednesday at Liberty University, the largest private, nonprofit Christian university in the world.
Rep. Bachmann made her half-hour speech to some 10,000 students in attendance.
“Don't settle for anything less than what this great and almighty God has planned for you,” she said.
Bachmann told the crowd she was raised in a Christian home, but did not come into a relationship with Jesus Christ until she was 16. After accepting Jesus, she almost immediately had a hunger for the Word and would wake up at 5 a.m. to read her Bible, she said.
Trailing front-runners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in most national polls, analysts say Bachmann was seeking a breakout moment with her base of support – Christian conservatives.
Bachmann finished first among GOP presidential hopefuls in a recent student straw poll, largely because of her evangelical roots, said Liberty's chancellor, Jerry Falwell Jr.
Liberty University senior politics major Sean Boden, who attended Bachmann’s speech, told The Christian Post he was impressed with her personal testimony and humble style.
“She gave a speech on how we should never settle; how we should always be striving for greatness,” said Boden, 23. “What impressed me most is that she was talking to us not as a politician, but as a person who was trying to impress upon us the spiritual truth that we should never settle.”
Bachmann said that her life verse, beginning in college, is 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” The verse is also one of Liberty University's hallmarks.
During her message on the value of striving to be the best, Bachmann also asked students and faculty members to consider rejecting President Barack Obama's agenda, including his health care reforms. She did not mention her GOP primary rivals during the speech.
“She didn’t come across as just pointing out her different political speaking points,” Boden said, “but she came across as just another believer trying to help each other grow.”
Referring to another convocation speaker earlier in the year, he said, “I love the fact that, unlike Rick Perry, she stuck around a little while to meet the students at Liberty. She comes across as a very humble, down-to-earth person. She doesn’t come across as a high-up politician. She comes across as an everyday person."