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Bachmann departure reaction

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Bachmann’s future; Nick Coleman’s 2012 predictions; redistricting panel meets; and more.
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AFTERNOON EDITION

Today in Bachmannia: All good things must come to an end. So it is with Our Favorite Congresswoman as she bows out of the race for The Highest Office in the Land. Reaction was abundant to Michele Bachmann’s announcement. Peter Grier at the Christian Science Monitor writes: “In the end, Bachmann may have raised her profile, and become a national figure, but her candidacy cratered like a rock tossed off a New Hampshire cliff. What were her problems? Here are a few:
Gaffes. OK, Bachmann did not scramble the events of Paul Revere’s ride, as Palin famously did last summer. But she did place the opening battles of the Revolutionary War in New Hampshire. She mistakenly claimed John Wayne had been born in her Iowa hometown of Waterloo. (It was John Wayne Gacy, the notorious serial killer.) She handled these mistakes fairly well, admitting she was wrong and moving quickly on, but the gaffe-prone tag stuck …

Women. You would think the only female candidate in the GOP race might attract a disproportionate share of woman voters. But Bachmann didn’t. According to an Iowa State University poll taken in late December, her vote share was about 7.2 percent with both genders. In contrast, third-place finisher Ron Paul had a huge gender gap in that same poll, with 32 percent of women saying they would support him, and 22 percent of men. (He finished with 21.4 percent of the actual vote.)”

Sarah Wheaton of The New York Times says: “[T]wo questions about Mrs. Bachmann’s future remain. She did not say whether she would endorse one of her formal rivals in the bid for the Republican nomination or whether she would run for re-election in Congress. She suspended her House campaign after announcing her presidential bid and her Sixth Congressional District in Minnesota could be redrawn to her disadvantage. Her spokeswoman, Alice Stewart, said that Mrs. Bachmann ‘just made up her mind about this this morning,’ and that ‘she hasn’t made a decision’ about her next steps but is not ruling out an endorsement.”

At CBS News, Brian Montopoli says: “Bachmann had been the only woman in the GOP race, and there were questions about whether her gender hurt her among Iowa Republican voters. ‘There’s a lot of people that would feel like a man is stronger,’ Jolene Beveridge said Monday at a Bachmann campaign event — though she added: ‘Times are changing — she seems pretty strong to me.’ Still, there is no clear explanation for Bachmann’s slide. One theory, popular among the reporters who followed Bachmann on a daily basis, is that her attempts to engage Iowa voters backfired. Bachmann’s recent 99-county tour involved an average of ten events per day, a situation that forced the candidate to give a short stump speech, shake a few hands and move on to the next event quickly. The situation was even worse when Bachmann was running late; she would try to make up time throughout the day, which meant shortening already-tight stops and sometimes trying to engage voters while the music was still blaring from speakers overhead.”

At Politico, Alex Isenstadt likes Our Gal’s chances for re-election: “The only obstacle to a fourth term may well be Bachmann’s own ambitions and desires. Some Republican officials question whether Bachmann would want to return to the House after firmly establishing herself as a national figure who, for a time, sat atop the GOP presidential field. Bachmann could decide to pursue book deals and TV offers that will inevitably pay far more than her annual House salary, they contend. Making a return to Congress even less desirable for Bachmann is the reality that she has no place in the House leadership. ‘As someone who desperately seeks the limelight, I don’t see a scenario in which Michele Bachmann would want to run for reelection now that she’s gotten a taste of the national stage,’ said one House GOP aide. ‘After winning the Iowa Straw Poll and having her face on Fox News every day for the better part of a year, being one of 435 in the House of Representatives would be one lousy consolation prize.’ ” Do you think?

Over at the Strib, Rachel Stassen-Berger and Kevin Diaz are saying: “Throughout the presidential campaign, she brushed aside questions of whether she would run for re-election in Minnesota’s 6th congressional district. That district will be redrawn with this year’s redistricting, leaving it unclear exactly which constituents she would have and who she would run against should she decide to campaign in Minnesota. During her race, she repeatedly stressed her Iowa roots, which could rub Minnesota voters the wrong way. The end means that the image of a race presumed to include two Minnesota candidates was erased by Iowa voters twice. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty ran for president but dropped out after a disappointing third place finish in an Ames Iowa straw poll in August. Bachmann won that poll of Iowa Republicans and Pawlenty landed a distant third, after Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Like Pawlenty, Bachmann had struggled to finance her presidential campaign. Though Bachmann has been a prodigious fundraiser in Congress, she reported only $1.5 million in presidential campaign coffers at the end of September, and her organization was $500,000 in debt.” Which means she may need that federal farm subsidy cash.

MPR’s team report says: “After the caucus, analysts predicted it would be tough for Bachmann to do any better in the New Hampshire or South Carolina primaries. ‘She spent in inordinate amount of time in Iowa. At one time she was the front-runner. She won the Iowa Straw Poll back in August. But that was August. In January she ran basically dead-last,’ said Peter Brown, Assistant Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. ‘The notion that the voters of New Hampshire or South Carolina or Florida will feel much differently is not one likely to occur.’ Bachmann thanked her staff and said she was proud of her contributions to the race. ‘I didn’t tell you what the polls said you wanted to hear,’ she said. ‘I have no regrets — none whatsoever. We never compromised our principles.’ “

Power Line’s Scott Johnson analyzes the Iowa results as follows: “6. Mitt Romney now turns his attention to New Hampshire, where he is positioned to prevail over the non-Romneys, but his victory there is already discounted into present expectations. Is any candidate other than Romney prepared to contest the coming primaries with him until the nomination is secured? 7. Romney remains the frontrunner. Hey, he won last night, he’s going to win in New Hampshire, and he’s got the money and the organization to stay the course. 8. But if you take Iowa seriously, you have to conclude that Romney is a weak frontrunner. Devoting himself to the caucuses over the past week, he was unable to move the dial with the non-Romney supporters and undecideds. He could do better with them elsewhere, but there was substantial resistance to him among caucus goers. Today comes the coveted McCain endorsement. It may even mean something in New Hampshire, but I doubt it.” Am I the only one detecting a deficit of enthusiasm?

Ex-Strib columnist Nick Coleman has offered his bold predictions for 2012. Among them:
OCTOBER: University Avenue in St Paul is re-christened The Big Ditch and filled with water after officials admit that the Central Corridor light rail has used up all its funding and will never be completed. ‘We wish we could have gotten that dang train running,’ says a city official. ‘But this is the next best thing: People can put their canoes in The Big Ditch and just paddle where they want to go. There are still a couple of fine Thai restaurants that remain in business.’
NOVEMBER: The Star Tribune moves to Fargo after selling its parking lots on the edge of downtown Minneapolis to a firm specializing in outdoor paintball competitions. ‘Fargo is centrally located in our new state of North-and-East Dakota,’ says a Strib spokesperson, ‘and, frankly, the business climate is better. We are looking forward to publishing many strip-joint ads.’ The move leaves the Twin Cities without a daily newspaper after it is discovered that the Pioneer Press has moved its operations off-shore and is published by a spambot in Sri Lanka.
DECEMBER: Former State Senator Amy Koch and a heavily veiled staffer exchange vows at a festive marriage ceremony held at the Minikhada Club, one of the first marriages to take place after the November defeat of a Constitutional Amendment limiting marriage to a man and a woman. ‘I can’t believe I ever pushed that stupid thing,’ said a radiant Koch, whose anonymous spouse was resplendent in a tuxedo with a gold sequined train. ‘I’m glad it was defeated; Those oil field fellas in North Dakota don’t like anybody telling ‘em what they can’t do, and I’m on their side now. We are honeymooning in Dickinson!’ “

In a, shall we say, related story, the AP is reporting:The Special Redistricting Panel meets Wednesday in St. Paul. Its members will hear arguments from attorneys for Democrats and Republicans, who have offered conflicting proposals for the once-per-decade process of adjusting congressional and legislative districts to reflect population changes. The Minnesota GOP plan would keep all eight of Minnesota’s members of Congress in their current districts. But the DFL’s plan would make significant changes. Most controversially, it would put Minnesota’s only two female representatives — Michele Bachmann and Betty McCollum — in the same district. A McCollum aide criticized that proposal as ‘bizarre.’ ” U&h, yeah. We would like to hear a bit more of the rationale there.