Bachmann still toying with potential 2012 presidential run
In Florida on Friday, Rep. Michele Bachmann told the Palm Beach Post that she’s been traveling the country to gauge national support if she decides to run for president and that she’s gotten a “fantastic reception” from activists in Iowa and South Carolina. Political prognosticators have also started to pay attention to Bachmann as a potential contender for the 2012 Republican nomination.
Bachmann told the post Post that she’s consulting with her family and that she’s testing the waters “because there’s no sense in running if I wouldn’t have the support of the people.”
She said the presidential campaign can get in the way of the conservative narrative. “This is what my worry has been, that we would spend two years playing the parlor game, indulging ourselves in the parlor game of who will be our nominee, and meanwhile we lose the narrative,” Bachmann said.
On Meet the Press on Sunday, Bachmann hammered home her own narrative: that $105 billion in secret spending she says was hidden by President Barack Obama and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Affordable Care Act.
In four instances during that interview Bachmann refused to answer questions and instead repeated that claim, mentioning it eight times in 12 minutes.
David Gregory ended the interview by asking, “When will you decide about a run for the presidency?”
Bachmann responded, “I think there’s a normal course of events when a decision like that will be made, and, and if I choose to go down that road, I’ll make the decision.”
When and if that decision is made, it could hurt former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s chances, notes Stu Rothenberg.
But Bachmann, a three-term Congresswoman whose support on the political right and among social conservatives rivals former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s, remains a potential problem for Pawlenty.
Although the two Minnesota Republicans don’t necessarily appeal to the same people, Bachmann’s presence in the Republican contest would undoubtedly draw some Minnesota money and support that would otherwise go to Pawlenty, even if only because he was the “local” guy in the race.
After all, Bachmann represents the most Republican district in the Gopher State. President George W. Bush won her district comfortably with 57 percent in 2004, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried it with 53 percent in 2008.
He adds that Bachmann has appeal as a native Iowan in that early caucus state, but that she will not be the GOP nominee.
“As the GOP race for president starts to take shape, it’s worth remembering two things. First, Bachmann is not going to be the Republican nominee,” he said. “And second, in a crowded Republican contest in Iowa next February, anything could happen.”
- Michele Bachmann: The Minnesota Republican House member is doing everything she can to give off the impression she is seriously considering a run for president. The latest sign? She will headline a fundraiser later this month to benefit the New Hampshire Republican Party. For tea-party aligned voters, Bachmann is a rock star; she was mobbed everywhere she went during last month’s CPAC gathering and her speech brought wild applause from the audience. But, Bachmann has little real political operation and virtually zero demonstrated ability — or willingness — to court voters outside of her conservative base. Still, if former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin doesn’t run, Bachmann would be the candidate most likely to emerge as the tea party pick. (Previous ranking: N/A)
Though Rothenberg thinks Bachmann might hurt Pawlenty, Cillizza gives Pawlenty a top shot at the nomination at this point in the election season.
- Tim Pawlenty: The former Minnesota governor is starting to win people — including the Fix — over. He is diligently working at building organizations in Iowa and New Hampshire and there are some signs that those efforts are paying off as he placed a solid third in a January straw poll in the Granite State. The biggest knock on Pawlenty is that he’s too nice and/or not charismatic enough to win the nomination. But, Pawlenty is improving — his 2011 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference was far better than the 2010 edition — and, given the flaws in the field, being too nice isn’t all that bad. As a result, Pawlenty is the name you hear on more and more lips when asking neutral Republicans who they think their nominee might be. And that’s a great place to be right now. (Previous ranking: 5)