Bachmann Bows Out

Three-term Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination Wednesday after a last-place finish in Iowa:

“Last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice and so I have decided to stand aside,” she said.

Bachmann, who came in sixth in the Iowa caucuses, ended her campaign with a vow to fight on against President Barack Obama, insisting the November presidential election might be a last chance “to turn the nation around before we go down the road to socialism.”

But the congresswoman from Minnesota, a Christian evangelical who was an early favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, gave no indication whether she would throw her support behind another candidate.

She won only five percent of the Republican vote in Iowa, the first state-wide party nominating contest, which ended in a virtual tie between former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and dark horse Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania.

Bachmann was born in Iowa, and the heartland state had been the scene of her most important victory, a straw poll in August that served as the first winnowing of the large Republican field.

But she was pushed aside almost immediately by the entry into the race of Texas Governor Rick Perry, another loser in Tuesday’s contest, and never regained momentum in a volatile contest that saw nearly every other candidate rise and fall in the polls.

Bachmann, who was raised in a family of Democrats, supported Jimmy Carter in 1976, and she and her husband worked on his campaign. But during Carter’s presidency, Bachmann says she became disappointed with his liberal approach to public policy, support for legalized abortion and economic decisions she held responsible for increased gas prices. In the 1980 presidential election, she voted for Ronald Reagan and worked for his campaign.

In 2000, Bachmann won election to the Minnesota State Senate, where she served two terms. In November 2004, she was appointed to the post of Assistant Minority Leader in charge of Policy for the Senate Republican Caucus, but in July 2005, the GOP Caucus removed her from her leadership position.

In November 2006, Bachmann became the first Republican woman to be elected to the U.S. House from Minnesota, representing the 6th congressional district, which includes suburbs of the Twin Cities and St. Cloud. A supporter of the Tea Party movement, Bachmann is a founder of the House Tea Party Caucus. She sits on two Congressional committees, the Committee on Financial Services and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

- JP

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