Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann reminds Iowa voters in a new ad that the Minnesota congresswoman is a native Iowan.
“As a descendent of generations of Iowans, I was born and raised in Waterloo,” Bachmann says. The ad opens to scenes from Waterloo and photos of Bachmann as a child. Bachmann lived in Waterloo, Iowa until she was 12 years old.
The ad informs viewers that Bachmann is a mother of five, and formerly a tax attorney and small business owner. It also emphasizes Bachmann's fiscal conservatism.
“I know that we can't keep spending money that we don't have. That's why I fought against the wasteful bailout, against the stimulus,” says Bachmann.
In what must be bad news for President Obama and Republican and Democratic congressional leaders who met at the White House Thursday to negotiate an increase to the debt ceiling, Bachmann announces emphatically that she will, “not vote to increase the debt ceiling.” Obama announced after the meeting that negotiators from both parties will continue to work on a deal over the weekend and meet back at the White House on Sunday.
Iowa's importance in the presidential race lies in the fact that it is the nation's first caucus election. Since Jimmy Carter won there in 1980, many lesser known candidates have tried to use the media attention derived from an early win in Iowa to catapult themselves into contention for the nomination.
In 2008, then Senator Barack Obama (D) and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) won the Iowa caucus in their respective parties. Obama secured his party's nomination and Huckabee placed second behind Arizona Senator John McCain.
Bachmann is tied, at 22 percent, with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the most recent Iowa poll. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who scored only 6 percent in the same poll, will likely be Bachmann's most important opponent in Iowa, however. Romney is focusing most of his resources on New Hampshire where he currently has a big lead in the polls, while Pawlenty has been campaigning in Iowa since late 2009.
“Bachmann’s Iowa organization so far pales in comparison with that of Pawlenty,” says Politico's Molly Ball. Pawlenty has already lined up a large number of important endorsements and the support of some experience political operatives.
In caucus elections, however, a large following of enthusiastic supporters may be more important than a well-organized campaign staff. In this way, Bachmann may be more like Obama and Huckabee. In 2008, neither of these candidates had a well-organized campaign like their respective rivals (New York Senator Hillary Clinton and Romney), but they each had a strong following of supporters willing to work hard to help them secure the nomination. Pawlenty has not shown an ability to generate the type of enthusiasm among his supporters that Bachmann supporters demonstrate.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of Mike Huckabee, has been hired by the Pawlenty campaign as an adviser. Mike Huckabee, though, remains undecided on whether he will endorse a candidate.
Those outside Iowa can view the ad on Bachmann's campaign website, michellebachmann.com.