Could it be — could Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the darling of the Tea Party right who has claimed to get her political marching orders directly from God, emerge as a sensational new entry into the presidential race?
ABC News reports:
A source close to the three-term congresswoman said Bachmann will travel to Iowa this month for multiple meetings to seek advice from political forces there and party elders close to the caucus process before coming to a final decision regarding a potential presidential run. Bachmann, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, also is set to deliver a keynote speech at an Iowans for Tax Relief PAC fundraiser Jan. 21 in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Nothing is off the table,” Bachmann chief of staff Andy Parrish told ABC News when asked whether the Iowa trip signaled Bachmann’s intent to run for president. “The congresswoman is excited about her first trip to Iowa this year.”
If true, this would seem to be a serious change of pace from Bachmann’s previous ties to Sarah Palin, who campaigned with her at a high-profile rally this past April. Indeed, the event seemed something like a sneak preview of a Palin-Bachmann ticket.
Really, if both Palin and Bachmann ran, it would seem like they would be fishing from the same pool of voters. So is a possible Bachmann campaign just a bid for attention as the presidential cycle heats up — or could it be a sign that maybe Palin might not run after all, and a similar politician is looking at just such a contingency?
And of course, Bachmann’s fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty also appears to be gearing up for a run, which would complicate things even further.
Keep in mind that the last time Bachmann decided to run for a higher office — going from state Senate to the U.S. House in 2006 — she said that she and her husband fasted for three days, praying for confirmation from God that He was indeed calling them to do it.
As Bachmann told a friendly mega-church crowd during that campaign: “And after — along about the afternoon of day two — He made that calling sure.”
Late Update: When asked for comment, Bachmann communications director Doug Sachtleben sent us this reply:
Congresswoman Bachmann is not taking anything off the table concerning the future, but her focus is on serving the people of Minnesota’s sixth district. She’s also taking opportunities to travel and to spread the message that the country cannot have another four years of President Obama. She wants to urge the grassroots about the urgency of replacing him in 2012.