Bachmann's Potential Run Stirs Conservative Debate
Amid anonymous talk that Rep. Michele Bachmann may be establishing an exploratory committee for a presidential run, family groups are testifying about her strengths and convictions as a conservative.
Since CNN reported that a source close to Bachmann said she may run for the GOP presidential nomination, conservatives have been debating whether the three-term Congresswoman from Minnesota has what it takes to woo GOP voters to her side.
"She's a person who should have a platform and microphone because she's got something to say," said Connie Mackey, president of the conservative Family Research Council's Political Action Committee.
Mackey described Bachmann as a confident and devoted politician with the experience necessary to possibly take on the role as president. "She's been in the turmoil of local and national politics," she said, alluding to Bachmann's role as both state representative and a school board member.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of pro-life advocacy group Susan B. Anthony List, praised Bachman nas a natural leader. "She's just got this magnetism about her for grassroots voters," she shared.
Bachmann has partnered with groups such as FRC and SBA List several times to champion conservative bedrock issues including reduced government spending, traditional marriage and protecting the unborn. In doing so, Bachmann has drawn a crowd of strong supporters.
A Gallup poll measuring the recognition and favorability of Republican leaders among GOP voters placed Bachmann second in the favorability ratings among respondents. Her high favorability comes from Tea Partiers who selected her to give their party's state of the union and whose caucus she chairs in the House. Her favorability has also helped her raise more than $13.5 million in her last race, reported the Atlantic news.
Still some have been critical of her experience and knowledge.
In a Thursday FOX News broadcast, University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato said Bachmann does not have a "breath of experience." Sabato also said her support is limited to just Tea Party members. According to the aforementioned Gallup poll, Bachmann ranks sixth in name recognition with her Tea Party support.
Currently, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is the most recognizable name on the list of potential GOP candidates. FRC's Mackey asserted that Bachmann has more political involvement than Palin who gave up her governorship in the middle of her term. By contrast, Bachmann has served as a school board member, a state senator and is now a member of the U.S. House.
"We haven't seen any of that from Sarah Palin," said Mackey. "[Palin]'s not involved in the issues of the day."
Mackey also praised Bachmann for being a "strong Christian" who believes in the power of prayer.
Dannenfelser, meanwhile, is optimistic that Bachmann's poll numbers will go up. "When the grassroots get to know her, those polls will start to move," she said.
CNN reported on Thursday that a source close to Bachmann said she may be establishing an exploratory committee to seek the Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential election as early as June.
Three GOP presidential primary debates are scheduled to occur in June, and the source said that Bachmann will likely establish her committee in time to participate in the debates. Currently, there are only two potential candidates with exploratory committees – businessman Herman Cain and former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
An attorney who specializes in tax law, Bachmann was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.