Michele Bachmann “Leaning Toward” Presidential Run

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is beginning to more like a real candidate for President. She won't win, but she will be entertaining.

At the same time that polls continue to show Sarah Palin would be electoral poison for the GOP, another firebrand, Tea Party, female conservative is thinking about running for President:

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is increasingly serious about joining the wide-open race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

And a growing number of conservative activists, legislators and political operatives in key states stand ready to help her if she does.

Bachmann, the chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus, arrives in New Hampshire on Friday for a two-day barnstorm of the first-in-the-nation primary state, her first foray there since floating her potential White House candidacy back in January.

News of the trip immediately stirred up grassroots excitement: A Bachmann-headlined fundraiser Saturday for the New Hampshire GOP was re-located to a larger venue because of “a very strong initial interest in this event,” according to a state party official.

Bachmann has already met with prominent interest groups and well-placed officials in early caucus and primary states of Iowa and South Carolina, where both Tea Partiers and Republican regulars have been impressed by her easy rapport with conservative crowds.

The trips are having an acute impact on Bachmann’s thinking about the presidential race, those around her say.

“She is leaning more toward doing it,” one Republican close to Bachmann told CNN. “The people she’s meeting on the ground, they love her. She is definitely more encouraged when she makes these trips.”

Bachmann’s political advisers are quietly laying the groundwork for a dark horse campaign should she choose to join the Republican fray at some point in the spring or early summer, when she has said she will make a final decision about the race. She is returning to Iowa later this month, and has scheduled a swing through the South Carolina low country in April.

“She is seriously considering running and getting a full team lined up and making sure it’s the right one,” said Ryan Rhodes, the chairman of the Iowa Tea Party. “It will be different than everyone else. She will have a very good team behind her if she does decide to run.”

Of course Iowa is a state where a grassroots campaign often has the potential of taking off. Just ask Jimmy Carter in 1976, Pat Robertson in 1988, John Edwards in 2004, or Mike Huckabee in 2008. In each of these cases a non-traditional candidate was able to make use of Iowa’s peculiar procedures to stage a showing that was better than expected, thus thrusting them into the limelight for at least a brief period of time. Of course none of them other than Carter ended up winning their parties’ nomination. Bachmann has the potential to pull of a surprise “better than expected” finish in Iowa, especially if Palin doesn’t run, but she has nowhere to go after that.

In Bachmann’s case, there’s also the added liability of her own rather odd statements in the past.During her time in Congress, she has demonstrated her own unique brand of nuttiness:

– She introduced a “Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act” in response to laws banning the use of traditional incandescent bulbs in favor of compact fluorescent bulbs

– She has called global warming a “hoax.”

– She warned that an expansion of AmeriCorps would lead to “mandatory service” for the government and placed in “re-education camps.”

– She told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they pro-America, or anti-America. I think people would love to see an expose like that.”

– On Wednesday she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that President Obama’s trip to Asia was “expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day,” a claim that’s been widely debunked.

Bachmann has also blamed Democrats for the 1976 Swine Flu epidemic, which occurred while Gerald Ford was President; blamed the Great Depression on FDR’s decision to sign into law the “Hoot-Smalley Tariff”‘; claimed that 100% of the U.S. economy was private before the September 2008 TARP bailout; and, engaged in an insane crusade against Census. Quite honestly, the only reason that Michelle Bachmann doesn’t have Sarah Palin like disapproval numbers is because the American public doesn’t really know who she is. If she runs for President, of course, that will change.

Whatever kind of splash she makes in Iowa, Michelle Bachmann is not going to win the nomination, though, and she’s unlikely to be invited to be part of the eventual Republican ticket (John McCain demonstrated the dangers of picking a candidate like her quite well, thank you). What this run is likely to do, though, is cement her reputation in the conservative wing of the GOP and, of course increase her speaking fees, and isn’t that the real reason most of these people are running for President?


FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. legion says:

    Aw, yeah baby! Bachmann-Palin Overdrive – 2012 or bust!

    Option slogan: Ensuring a Democratic majority for generations to com!

  2. Yeah, she might say something really stupid and undiplomatic like tightening the noose on a foreign potentate or something, or worse yet really mean it.

    Doug, I don’t entirely disagree with you, but given the choice of Bachmann or another term for Obama, I’ll be punching the tab for Bachmann, how about you? Would you have said the same thing about Bill Clinton in 1990 when everyone seriously just knew that George H. W. Bush couldn’t be beat?

  3. ponce says:

    Oh please, oh please, oh please…

  4. Moosebreath says:

    “- She has called global warming a “hoax.””

    And this separates her from the remainder of the Republican field (and the majority of Republican voters) because…

  5. John Malkovich says:

    Oh please, oh please, oh please…



  6. John Malkovich says:

    “She has called global warming a “hoax.””

    That’s b/c it is

  7. John Malkovich says:

    “John McCain demonstrated the dangers of picking a candidate like her quite well, thank you”




  8. Tlaloc says:

    but given the choice of Bachmann or another term for Obama, I’ll be punching the tab for Bachmann, how about you?

    Abstain. I refuse to knowingly vote for either corrupt or insane. Granted that leaves me few electoral options most years. Stupid two party system.

  9. reid says:

    Anyone who would vote for this dope over Obama needs help. Fortunately, there aren’t as many of them as they think there are.

  10. sam says:

    “The trips are having an acute impact on Bachmann’s thinking”

    That would take about a nanosecond.

  11. steve says:

    For a long time I have hoped they would bring back the claymation Celebrity Death Match show. For the first episode I would feature Michele Bachmann vs Maxine Waters. Both are many french fries short of a Happy Meal.


  12. nevrdull says:

    yes. please let her run.

  13. Tristan says:

    If she does run it will give Colbert and Stewart plenty of material…

  14. John Malkovich says:

    “but given the choice of Bachmann or another term for Obama, I’ll be punching the tab for Bachmann, how about you? ”

    Are you kidding???

    with numbers like these: http://www.gallup.com/poll/125639/Gallup-Daily-Workforce.aspx

    Bachmann in 2012 !!!!

  15. tom p says:

    “given the choice of Bachmann or another term for Obama, I’ll be punching the tab for Bachmann,”

    Ok Charles, why? What has Obama done that was so otherworldly you could never vote for him, and why is MB better?????

    Charles, I respect you as a “thinking member of the other side” but I am beginning to wonder.

  16. matt b says:

    Wow @Charles… seriously?! I have a hard time imagining any thinking conservative or libertarian actually thinking voting for Bachman is a legit option (vs abstaining). Basically at that moment I can’t see how you didn’t just lose any hint of plausable deniability of *not* being a self-hating Republican.

    Put a differently, I have a hard time imagining a case where I could ever vote for Kucinich for president.

    To pretend that Bachman would make a better president than Obama is the height of Obama derangement syndrome.

  17. Franklin says:

    I’d prefer Palin over Bachmann.

  18. Scott says:

    Nuttiness is a liability now in the GOP? I must have missed that.

  19. Stan says:

    charles, what you said about voting for Bachman is very silly.

  20. Tano says:

    I thought all conservative women shaved their pits…

  21. SJ Reidhead says:

    The ego has landed – again!

    The Pink Flamingo

  22. wr says:

    It’s easy to see why the contemporary “conservative” would vote for Bachman. There’s only one thing they care about, and it’s not low taxes, despite all their whining, and God knows it’s not the deficit, since they don’t care if it explodes as long as billionaires get tax breaks.

    It’s pissing off liberals. It’s a religion to them, and they care about nothing else. Why is Sarah Palin so great? She makes liberals mad. Why must NPR be defunded? Liberals like it. Why does Obama come from Kenya? Because libs say he doesn’t.

    It’s a political philosophy with the depth of a nursery school recess. And it is the only thing they have.

    So they’ll fall in line behind Bachman. Because libs think she’s a dangerous moron.

    Just wait until Smoovie shows up with his lovelorn defense of the woman.

  23. To each his own. I think I indicated that I wouldn’t be particularly happy about it, but I don’t really believe in sitting on the sidelines. Didn’t enjoy voting for McCain, but I did. Hard to imagine not voting to remove Obama no matter what. The recklessness and utter disreard for fiscal sanity is in and of itself enough to turn me off from him forever, without even beginning to go into all the other stuff. And yes, Republicans are bad too.

  24. anjin-san says:

    For some reason, when I see Bachmann, I think about Zippy the Pinhead…

    > The recklessness and utter disreard for fiscal sanity

    I see what you mean. It was really cool when the fiscally sane Republicans led us to the brink of a depression. No wonder you are eager to go back. Who can blame you?

  25. matt b says:

    To each his own. I think I indicated that I wouldn’t be particularly happy about it, but I don’t really believe in sitting on the sidelines. Didn’t enjoy voting for McCain, but I did.

    Charles, this is why it’s hard not to think of you and Doug as self-hating republicans. No offense. But if you can’t either vote for the other side, or sit at home because you are discussed by the Republican candidate, you are for all practical purposes a Republican.

    As Lincoln said, calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one. Your politics are proved at the voting box.

    And I say this as someone who has voted for both republicans and independent candidates, and in at least one case (an possibly more being a NYS resident), abstained from voting because I could not bring myself to vote for a corrupt democrat instead of a corrupt republican.