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Profile: Michele Bachmann
The Iowa-born social conservative has emerged as a strong contender for the Republican presidential nomination.
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2011 09:10

Bachmann rose to national attention for her biting criticisms of Democrats [Reuters]

Michele Bachmann, who was born in Iowa in 1956, is the first Republican woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives from Minessota.

In July, she announced her decision to seek the nomination for the Republican canidadate for the presidential election in 2012.

A social conservative, Bachmann narrowly beat her Republican rival Ron Paul in a key pre-election campaign poll in Iowa, on August 13.

Bachmann became a member of the Minessota Senate for the 56th District in 2001 and a member of the US House of Representatives for Minessota's 6th district in 2007. 

She rose to national attention for her biting criticisms of Democrats.

In 2008, she said in a MSNBC television interview that Barack Obama, then a candidate for president, "may have anti-American views". Refering to the remark, she later said: "I made a mistatement."

A year later, at what seemed to be the beginning of a swine-flu outbreak, Bachmann said: "I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out ... under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter.

"And I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence."

During her time as a state senator in Minessota, Bachmann was a strong advocate for the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

While campaigning in Iowa, she has emphasised her commitment to the state and vowed to vote against raising the federal debt ceiling.

'Rags-to-riches'

In July 2010, Bachmann hosted the first Tea Party Caucus meeting and is seen as an advocate for the Christian-conservative movement.

Comparisons have been made between her and Sarah Palin, and as The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza reports, "her image depends on a carefully groomed glamour".

Her prominent membership of the Tea Party may be one of her biggest assets, but according to the New York Times it may also be "a hindrance in attracting independent voters and party regulars in the Republican party".

Bachmann, a 55-year-old former tax lawyer and mother of five, portrays her life as a rags-to-riches story.

She was born to Democrat parents of Norwegian descent, and was brought up with her three brothers after her mother's divorce.

At the age of 16 she discovered God, at time when she said "people were coming to the Lord left and right".

In an interview with Fox News on June 26, Bachmann, said: "My husband and I have raised five kids, we've raised 23 foster children. We've applied ourselves to education reform.

"We started a charter school for at-risk kids. I've also been a state senator and member of the United States Congress for five years." 

Following her victory in the Iowa straw poll, Bachmann said "this is the very first step toward taking the White House in 2012".

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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