CBS News asks: ‘Is Bachmann finished?’

The consensus among the pundit-ocracy seems to be that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann didn’t shine in Wednesday night’s debate in California, but CBS News is carrying it one step further.

The headline on its story asks: “Is Michele Bachmann finished in the GOP race?”

The story notes her quick rise this summer, culminating in the the early August Ames Straw Poll win. But since then, it’s look-out-below:

Wednesday’s debate was Bachmann’s chance to show she had come up with some sort of plan to regain some semblance of momentum. And despite a strong performance in past debates, she let the opportunity pass her by. While Perry and Romney sparred, a subdued Bachmann failed to get in any memorable lines and looked like a footnote who belonged with the also-rans, not the contenders.

Despite spin from her supporters that she was sitting back and letting the others beat each other up, she needed to put some points in her own column. Says the story:

Yet the fact that Bachmann came into the debate seemingly without any sort of plan to reverse her slide suggested she simply doesn’t know how to stop the bleeding. Unless Perry collapses, it’s hard to see how she can move back up to the top tier.

Bachmann will likely go all-in to try to win the Iowa caucuses in the hopes that a victory will provide her campaign with some much-needed juice. But with Romney and Perry badly out-raising her and well positioned to win other key states, it’s hard to see how even that would be enough.

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