WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Michele Bachmann told a small group of supporters Tuesday night that she’s staying in the presidential race as the only true conservative who can defeat the sitting president, despite a bleak showing in the Iowa caucuses.
The Minnesota congresswoman was running in last place among six candidates as returns came in from the nation’s first Republican presidential nominating contest. But she told an anemic crowd of just a few dozen supporters, “There are many more chapters to be written on the path to our party’s nomination.”
“I believe that I am that true conservative who can and who will defeat Barack Obama in 2012,” she said.
“What we need is a fearless conservative, one with no compromises on their record on spending on health care on crony capitalism on defending America on standing with our ally Israel,” she said.
Shortly before Bachmann spoke, her campaign manager suggested she might leave the race. Asked if he could say with certainty whether she would go forward with her candidacy, Bachmann campaign manager Keith Nahigian told The Associated Press in a telephone interview, “I don’t know yet.”
He added, “It’s hard to tell, but everything is planned.”
But shortly thereafter he said she was going “full steam” ahead.
Bachmann’s showing was a sharp turn after she finished in first place in the Iowa GOP’s summer straw poll.
Before the voting began, she traveled to the backyard of her childhood to make her final appeal for support, imploring voters in her native Iowa to “reclaim our country.” But the caucus site was hardly unified. Bachmann would need more than hometown connections to pull back into contention.
“I feel sorry for her,” said Randy Herod, a retired business consultant. “She’s real nice, but this isn’t her time.”
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