Michele Bachmann’s formal entry draws cheers, hisses and lots of attention

Rep. Michele Bachmann announcing her candidacy in Waterloo on Monday.
REUTERS/Jeff Haynes
Rep. Michele Bachmann announcing her candidacy in Waterloo on Monday.

She announced it at the recent debate, filed the paperwork and held a pre-announcement event last night, but today Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann officially entered the presidential race with a speech in Waterloo, Iowa.

She said she’s running:

“because I am grateful for the blessings God and this country have given to me, and not because of the position of the office, but because I am determined that every American deserves these blessings and that together we can once again strengthen America and restore the promise of the future. I want to bring a voice, your voice, to the White House, just as I have brought your voice to the halls of congress to secure the promise of the future for our generation and generations to come.”

 There weren’t many specifics, and pundits noted she’s better speaking off the cuff than from a script, but she threw out a challenge:

Together we can rein in all the corruption and waste that has become Washington and instead leave a better America for future generations.

 People are paying attention:

The Fix in the Washington Post says she’s now the frontrunner in Iowa:

...Bachmann holds the pole position in the Hawkeye State, and there are any number of reasons to believe she can grow her support in the state between now and next February.

Politico said she channeled the Tea Party in her prepared remarks:

Michele Bachmann delivered her Iowa announcement speech this morning, casting herself as an agent of the tea party and declaring that her “voice is part of a movement to take back our country, and now I want to take that voice to the White House.

Bachmann gets a courtly nod, of sorts, from the BBC this morning:

BBC North America editor Mark Mardell says Republicans feel that next year’s presidential election is winnable if only they have a candidate who sparkles — and Michele Bachmann is the latest to catch their eye.

She is already a darling of the Tea Party movement for her plain talking and forthright conviction politics.

 While she has made her share of harsh statements — seen by opponents as gaffes — some think she has many of Sarah Palin’s qualities with fewer of the drawbacks, our correspondent adds.

ABC News wondered: Is Bachmann just another Huckabee?

Bachmann’s biggest hurdle will be to prove that she has appeal outside of the ideologically narrow Iowa Caucus electorate. She can’t afford to be pigeon-holed as “just another Mike Huckabee,” who won the 2008 Caucuses there largely due to his resonance with social conservative voters.

Some immediate reactions from Minnesota Democrats:

Tweeted Richard Carlbom, communications director for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman:

Yep. @michelebachmann’s anouncement kicked @timpawlenty’s rear-end. Becoming clear that TPaw is going nowhere fast. MB knows movements.

And DFL State Chair Ken Martin said in a statement:

“We know from her frequent mistakes when speaking about our country’s legacy that Michele Bachmann is fond of changing history — and it appears that now she’s channeling that trait into a deceitful attempt to portray herself as someone who has something to offer our country as President of the United States. The truth is, Rep. Bachmann does not have a single success that she has delivered for Minnesotans — just a long record of divisive rhetoric, extreme policy positions, hypocrisy and shameless self-promotion. Her support for ending Medicare and ‘weaning’ people off Social Security is proof enough that Michele Bachmann would be a terrible President.”

We haven’t seen a “Bachmann-officially-in-the-race quote” yet from Tim Pawlenty — who’s been all over Iowa for months and has to be unhappy with all the attention his state-mate is gathering. But he began running radio ads today in the state, trying to remind people that he’s in this, too. His TV ads started running last week.

The radio ad doesn’t mention Bachmann by name, but does seem to take a subtle jab at her with the line: “Tim Pawlenty, results not rhetoric.”

Pawlenty also wrangled a spot on “Good Morning America” this morning before the Bachmann speech. Pawlenty said early polls — which show Mitt Romney and Bachmann in the lead and him in the rear — don’t mean much.

AP talked with Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg, who was beaten by Bachmann in the 2008 congressional race. He’s amazed at her resiliency:

“She can say something that’s just outrageous and just completely wrong and move on and never skip a beat,” Tinklenberg said.

MSNBC’s political folks said they’re taking Bachmann seriously:

Bachmann has one good problem: She’s peaking early. Can she keep it up? And keep this in mind: Bachmann is doing this without the so-called MSM; in fact, she’s even doing it without FOX News (whose Chris Wallace asked her yesterday if she was a “flake”).

That refers to a distraction Bachmann had going into this morning’s speech, stemming from her interview Sunday with Wallace on Fox News. He asked, point blank: “Are you a flake?”

He later apologized, but she wasn’t buying it, saying it is “insulting to insinuate that a candidate for president is less than serious.” She added:  “I’m a very serious individual. I have a strong background, a strong resume. Those are the small issues, I’m focused on the big ones.”

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Matthew Levitt on 06/27/2011 - 12:29 pm.

    I guess it depends on what your definition of “strong resume” is.

  2. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 06/27/2011 - 12:43 pm.

    All you have to remember about Bachmann is her hanging on the neck of George W. Bush at the State of the Union Speech and you know her philosophy and what he did for the country. Facts are totally unimportant to Bachmann. Political zealots only serve a special few, not ALL the people. Political zealots abound in the Republican party. The Republicans have lost their party. If you ask a Republican who their leader is, they say they have many. Yes they do and this is what they get, a leaderless muddled mess. Remember they are supposed to work for all of us. Vote for someone who uses reason, not ridiculous to guide their philosophy.

  3. Submitted by Jeff Wilfahrt on 06/27/2011 - 01:52 pm.

    It occurs to me that America does have a few territories, like Puerto Rico, Guam and that kind of thing.

    Maybe we could get a referendum, cede the land, and give these folks a few years with their form of governance and watch from a distance to see how it plays out. Sort of like a petri dish approach. If they can prove it works then we can take it seriously, but until then I’m gonna’ remain leery of this experiment because I think it will turn rotten and stink to high heavens like an egg gone bad.

    Jeff Wilfahrt, Rosemount, MN

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/27/2011 - 02:15 pm.

    “The truth is, Rep. Bachmann does not have a single success that she has delivered … just a long record of divisive rhetoric, extreme policy positions, hypocrisy and shameless self-promotion.”

    That could have been said about Barrack Obama in 2008.

  5. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 06/27/2011 - 04:19 pm.

    @4: That is simply not true. While I will concede Obama did not have a large number of legislative accomplishments at the time he ran, his rhetoric is famously uniting and his policy positions centric by any reasonable historical standard. It does no favors to honest discussion to paint every politician of the opposing party as “extreme”. Some are, and some are not. I would give you that, for example, by the standards of American politics, Dennis Kucinich is “extreme” (of course, I mostly agree with him anyways). Obama is simply not, and repeating it won’t make it true.

  6. Submitted by will lynott on 06/27/2011 - 06:09 pm.

    #4, even if that’s true, you believe our President to be a failure, correct? Why, then, should we vote for MB?

  7. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/27/2011 - 10:21 pm.

    I don’t expect you to vote for her, will.

    This election will be a referendum on whether Barrack Obama deserves another four years.

    Whoever the GOP nominee happens to be will benefit from that performance appraisal, whether it’s Bachmann or someone else I don’t really care.

  8. Submitted by Jeff Wilfahrt on 06/28/2011 - 12:04 am.

    Considering Bachmann’s success so far, what I find absolutely fascinating is the number of people who identify with her and beyond that give her an unscrutinized pass on her mess ups.

    There’s an old saw that actions speak louder than words… but I only know of one of these two items in regard to this presidential prospect. Do something of consequence Michele.

    Enough with the denigration talk Michele, I don’t think this country, its government and our social programs are that terrible or unrecoverable, let’s hear and see something positive as a Congressperson, show up and vote, get some bills in. Do the job you have.

    Jeff Wilfahrt, Rosemount, MN

  9. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 06/28/2011 - 07:49 am.

    Ironic her major flubs continue the day of her announcement. Pretty significant when you think about someone who wants to run a country and makes a major error on day one of her campaign. Michele not fit for public office!

  10. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/28/2011 - 08:16 am.

    …This election will be a referendum on whether Barrack Obama deserves another four years….

    Actually, that will become the issue if the Republicans put forward a candidate that hasn’t flip-flopped in such a pandering and abject way with the current breeze, doesn’t make crazy stuff up, and could be pictured in a meeting with foreign leader without cringing in embarrassment. Then it might become a referendum on Obama.

    So far, the Republican party falls short.

  11. Submitted by Jerry Buerge on 06/28/2011 - 10:06 am.

    Just remember that it is far easier to cause a train wreck than it is to pick it up afterward.

    It’s also unnecessary to have to pick one up if you haven’t signaled a clear track ahead before you have eliminated any obstacles in the pathway of the train.

    While there are many who consistently refuse to acknowledge the lack of oversight and regulation required to assure that our laws are administered to eliminate fraud and corruption, and there is no reason why that responsibility for the consequences should not reasonably be made known and assignable to those directly involved.

    The above simply means that we are fooling ourselves if we are willing to accept condemnation of the current administration for the sins of the Congress’ and administrations that preceded it.

    Let the blame fall where it should, rather than through the finger-pointing of our political animals.

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