DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign fell just as quickly as it rose. Now, she’s looking to Iowa, at the expense of other early voting states, to get back on track.

It’s a strategy of necessity for the Minnesota congresswoman. A victory in Iowa this winter would keep her afloat in the GOP nomination fight. A loss would almost certainly end her bid.

“We know that when Michele is in Iowa, she wins,” said Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, Kent Sorenson. “If she’s here, she’ll win Iowa.”

That explains why, starting this weekend, Bachmann plans to campaign almost exclusively in the state as she tries to reassert herself in a race that’s become a two-candidate contest between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

When she jumped into the race this summer, she began hovering atop state and national public opinion polls. In August, she rode that wave of popularity to an Iowa straw poll victory. But that same day, Perry became a candidate. He quickly filled the role of the GOP field’s insurgent outsider, stalled Bachmann’s momentum and infringed on her base of support.

Since then, Bachmann has faced criticism from voters and activists for appearing too scripted. She’s also shuffled her top campaign leadership. She found herself eclipsed in Wednesday’s debate in California after figuring prominently in previous ones and winning praise for her poise.

Her new strategy calls for an intense focus on Iowa, where she has a strong organization and a natural base of support with evangelical Republicans, home-school advocates and tea partyers.

The hope among Bachmann advisers is that an Iowa victory could propel her to the South Carolina primary, where Republican voters resemble Iowa’s heavy segment of Christian conservatives. She spent a chunk of the past month in the state, as well as in Florida, courting tea party activists and other conservatives.

But the renewed focus on Iowa means Bachmann is likely to bypass Nevada’s under-the-radar caucuses and remain scarce in New Hampshire, where she has almost no organization in place for the first-in-the-nation primary.

She is making time for two upcoming debates in Florida, as well as a speech to the state GOP convention in California next week. Bachmann, a frequent target of late-night TV humor, is squeezing in a “Tonight Show” appearance next Friday, her spokeswoman said.

The schedule could be complicated if she’s forced back to Washington on short notice for congressional votes, particularly on a jobs package from President Barack Obama that she is already railing against.

Perry is organizing aggressively in Iowa, and aides to Romney, who is not campaigning heavily in the state, say he may step up his Iowa presence. That could complicate Bachmann’s efforts in the state where she was born.

Her campaign manager, Ed Rollins, said Monday he was stepping aside and moving into an advisory role. Rollins’ deputy, David Polyansky, also quit.

Republican observers viewed the moves as a reaction to Bachmann’s fade in polls.

Some Iowa Republicans recently criticized Bachmann for staying on her campaign bus during a county GOP dinner while Perry was speaking. The episode fed a budding narrative that Bachmann pays more attention to stagecraft than mingling with activists.

“Her campaign has to drop this rock-star motif,” said Judd Saul, an undecided Iowa Republican who attended the event last month. “She won the straw poll but needs to dig in, shake our hands, get to know us.”

Retired nurse Ellen Harward, a Myrtle Beach, S.C., Republican, was attracted to Bachmann after seeing her at a late June rally. But by this week, Harward had not decided whether she would back her in the first Southern contest.

“She’s starting to sound like a broken record,” Harward said. “If she could come out and show something that would set her apart from everyone else, it would make people start looking at her in a different way. It might give her some oomph her campaign needs.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (30)
  1. Silly says:

    Stop saying it’s a 2-person race. For crying out loud, there are other candidates still in it. The media needs to stop being a political front group for the 2 party establishmnets. I think one of these days Americans are going to sue the crooked media outlets for collusion to swindle. Just because you want to tell us who our choices are doesn’t mean we want them crooks

    1. Robert says:

      I agree. I’m a Democrat and did support Obama, and I feel he is lacking backbone I’m looking at John Huntsman. I hear Pataki may enter the race. If so, I would difinitely look at Pataki.

      1. AJJ says:

        I feel the same way and I really like Huntsman. I dislike strongly the fact that media depicts us as idiots that will follow their lead!

      2. jan says:

        I’m an independent and I like Huntsman too. Never heard of Pataki though

    2. Me says:

      Face facts. TPers like the crazy Parry with an A offers more than the crazy Bachmann with two Ns offers.

    3. Tom says:

      @ Silly

      Are there other candidates yes! Do most of them stand a chance no they don’t. Cain, Paul, Santorum, and that one guy who got in just bofore Perry did. Huntsman will not get the nomination as he is moderate and moderates are not welcome in the GOP / Tea Party field. They liked Bachmann because she was nuts enough for their liking. But now Perry is more nuttier for their liking.

  2. Tom says:

    Michelle Bachmann is in ‘way over her head’. She had nothing to add to the mix except her one line mantra, “he’s a one term president”. She had done nothing in Congress and instead of doing “the peoples business” she is out on the stump. And her utter disrespect for the president, by ‘missing his speech’, is inexcusable. You may not like the man, but you respect the office. She just needs to ‘fold the tent and go home’.

  3. Silly and boring actually says:

    She cannot fold the tent until she pours more gas on the self-created fires …… how else will she sell her upcoming book?
    For those who have yet to “get her” – she was-is-always shall be about generating money. Mostly it has been taxpayer money in past so the book will be her first real attempt at making it on her own. Do some digging on her actual background folks. She’s a taxpayer bedbug.
    Her book – will it sell 100K ? How many naive people are there out there?

  4. Smart A** up North says:

    An expensive comic book.

  5. Begs the question says:

    WCCO – out of ALL the local outlets you give MB , by FAR , more coverage than anyone does.
    The question is simple and begs an answwer – W H Y ????????
    Where is her relevance, yesterday and today and tomorrow? Is it she’s a local person? Is it she’s maybe a wee bit touched and a case study? Is she related to someone high up in the Good Neighbor?
    I just do not grasp it

    1. Todd says:

      That is a really good question Begs. I guess I read about her because I love to see her put her foot in her mouth time and time again.

      If she is the hope for the future kiss it goodbye and god (or whoever) helo us all.

    2. Reasonable says:

      Notice how many comments show up on her “articles”? It sells ad space because a Bachmann headline will get a lot of page views.

      I just hope she can stick in it long enough to not be able to run for reelection of her House seat. Poetic Justice for the win!

  6. Brian says:

    She’s been swirling for a while; well on her inevitable way down the drain. Hopefully the dim wits in the 6th District (in which I live) will put two and two together…the GOP isn’t interested in MB as a presidential candidate. Why should the 6th District even give her the time of day? She’s done nothing for us and she’s a moron!

  7. Buh bye!! says:

    So long, it’s been good to know yuh;
    So long, it’s been good to know yuh;
    So long, it’s been good to know yuh.
    This dusty old dust is a-gettin’ my home,
    And I got to be driftin’ along.

    Adios, Michelle!!

    1. Swamp Rat says:

      BRAVO!!! Who’s got the second verse for this hit song!

  8. Food for thought says:

    She never was actually relevant anywhere but in Iowa (home state) and to some truly fringe people, like the farthest of the right within the Tea Party.
    Like Palin, she carried something new albeit just hot air. It excited some frustrated people begging for anything anti-establishment. A modern day hippy-like religious movement.
    Now there are those that will say she may be better served by relocating to some island with her anti-everything group and forming a new Colony there. Actually – that might be more fact than not.
    She’s similar to Jones, Manson, Perry near cult folowing and beliefs. Their way or nothing.
    Adious is all I have to say

  9. Max says:

    The sooner this self-aggrandizing wing nut drops into oblivion the better! The Tea Baggers needn’t worry, they still have Perry (ugh).

    1. DOC says:

      Right now any of the GOP would be better then what we have now, obamas speech was a joke!

      1. Jim says:

        No. Michelle Bachmann is the joke. One would assume that the president would be in danger of losing based on the economy, but he must look at the GOP “contenders” and laugh and laugh and laugh. Their best bet is Romney, but as Mormon I don’t think the GOP base will come out for him. Good luck, Republicans. You’re going to need it with these clowns.

  10. Murph says:

    THE jOLT? How about the new silent majority{baby boomers} sticking their scruffy old shoes up the GOP’s stink holes in 2012! Maybe then they will get a clue!

  11. Steven says:

    JON HUNTSMAN!!!!!!!!!!! Start giving this guy the attention he deserves! The other candidates are just nutty!

    1. robert says:

      I totally agree and I’m a life-long Democrat. I’m taking a second look at Huntsman.

  12. Lori says:

    If Iowa “loves” her, then I think she should run for office there. Gov! Give them all her special attention and eat up thier tax money.

  13. steve says:

    Michelle Bachmann has left the building. LOL

  14. M.J. says:

    So Michelle Bachmann wants to return to Iowa. That is great. Iowa, a farming state, has a lot of pigs on those farms. Certainly there is room for one more.M.J.

    1. porky says:

      You can tell a man who boozes
      By the company he chooses”
      And the pig got up and slowly walked away

  15. frozenrunner says:

    Perry will slip when his only claim to fame gets shown as a fallacy. All he has to run on is the Texas job creation. His jobs are taken from other states and will not work on a national level. The rest of his message is the same as Bachman’s

    1. Reality sucks says:

      I don’t know. I think this is the messiah they are looking for. He’s tough as nails, says what he wants to say and shakes it up. He’s got Texas balls. This may be just the guy they want. Bush on steroids. Did you hear the roar of applause–just for executing people? Nope frozen, I think this is their guy.

  16. Andrew Mostovoy says:

    She is an embarrassment to the State of Minnesota. Let me frame this up: Germany – Angela Merkel; Ireland – Mary McAleese; Australia – Julia Gillard. How exactly does Bachmann fit into their category should she become the leader of the free world?

  17. Dale Gribble says:

    I enjoyed Bachmann’s candidacy while there was no realistic hope for any of the male candidates the GOP fielded, but now that we have Perry, it is time for her to step aside and resume the traditional, Biblically ordained role of wife, mother and homemaker. I wish her the best!

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