WASHINGTON — Minnesota’s own Michele Bachmann had the “Worst Week in Washington,” according to the Washington Post political blogger Chris Cilizza.
Bachmann has seen her presidential polling numbers dwindle and her role as the font-runner in Iowa fade away since Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in August. This week, she was overshadowed by Perry in the first major presidential debate he participated in.
A month ago, the Minnesota Republican was the toast of the town — the town being Ames, Iowa — when she emerged victorious in a straw poll traditionally regarded as a key early test of organization and firepower in the GOP presidential primary process.
Today? Nowheresville: population, Bachmann.
Two national polls — one conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News, the other by NBC and the Wall Street Journal — each showed Bachmann’s support cut in half over the past few weeks in a hypothetical 2012 Republican primary matchup.
Those unfavorable numbers provided the backdrop to Wednesday’s Republican debate in California, where Bachmann was an afterthought in the battle between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. (There was a 20-minute or so period when Bachmann never uttered a peep.)
What happened? Lots of things. Perry got into the race, stepping on Bachmann’s post-Ames momentum and cutting into her tea party support. Bachmann’s anti-everything approach began to raise questions among rank-and-file Republicans about her electability. And the intense focus on the economy as the main issue of the election made her strength among social conservatives less relevant.
Bachmann’s campaign said Friday that it will focus almost exclusively on Iowa ahead of this winter’s caucuses there. The hope is to shore up enough support to have a strong showing when voting actually beings next February.
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org