Bachmann launches White House push28/06/2011 - 08:26:00
US congresswoman Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign in Iowa, where a strong finish in the state’s early nominating caucus could position the anti-tax tea party candidate as a serious challenger to more mainstream Republicans hoping to take on President Barack Obama in 2012.
An outspoken three-term congresswoman from neighbouring Minnesota, Mrs Bachmann made the announcement in her birthplace of Waterloo. Iowa holds the first Republican nominating contest, conducted through meetings known as caucuses.
The Midwestern state is important for Mrs Bachmann: Her popularity among Christian conservatives and tea party activists – she created the Tea Party Caucus in Congress – make her a natural fit for the caucus electorate. Iowa could pave the way for strong showings in other nominating contests.
A Des Moines Register’s Iowa poll released on Saturday showed Mrs Bachmann in a statistical tie with perceived Republican front-runner former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, among likely caucus-goers.
Mr Romney hopes to draw on the same hometown relationship in New Hampshire during that state’s party primary election that Mrs Bachmann has in Iowa.
Republican voters could shy away from Mrs Bachmann if they are more concerned about choosing the most electable candidate in a position to defeat Mr Obama. But she rejected questions about whether she can reach beyond the Republican base to appeal to the moderate independent voters needed to defeat Mr Obama in November 2012.
“The liberals, and to be clear I am not one of those, want you to believe the tea party movement is just the right wing of the Republican Party,” she said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
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