Bachmannia: She Knows How to Make Good TV

Iowa Republicans love her Tea Partying; bloggers love how many funny things she says

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Michele Bachmann formally announced her candidacy for president on Monday and she says Barack Obama is is scared. "He fears me," Bachmann told Fox News. Whether or not that is true, some of us are delighted at the thought of Bachmann's candidacy. Why? Well, Iowa Republicans like her pugnacious Tea Partying. But bloggers like how she tends to say so many funny things in 24 hours. This is your day in Bachmannia.

  • Face Time  Michele Bachmann had a very busy morning, Slate's Dave Weigel notes, appearing on five morning chat shows before heading to New Hampshire and South Carolina. On Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos asked Bachmann about some of her infamously historically inaccurate statements, like how the (slave-holding) Founding Fathers were anti-slavery.
Stephanopoulos: You said that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery.

Bachmann: Well if you look at one of our Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, that's absolutely true. He was a very young boy when he was with his father serving essentially as his father's secretary. He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery….

Stephanopoulos: He wasn't one of the Founding Fathers--he was a president, he was a Secretary of State, he was a member of Congress, you're right he did work to end slavery decades later. But so you are standing by this comment that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery?

Bachmann: Well, John Quincy Adams most certainly was a part of the Revolutionary War era. He was a young boy but he was actively involved.

Business Insider's Glynnis MacNichol writes, "At which point George Stephanopoulos gave up and moved on, presumably with the knowledge he at least has a viral video on his hands." John Quincy Adams, of course, would have been a very young boy during the Revolutionary War, as he was seven when it broke out. Video of the interview below:

  • Look at Me, Don't Look at Me  And no doubt Bachmann doesn't mind being the subject of many viral videos. She opened her campaign by saying "Now I seek the presidency--not for vanity, but because America is at a crucial moment." Doth thou protest too much? Language Log's Mark Liberman analyzed all the Republican candidates' announcement speeches and found that Bachmann was by far the most self-referential. Bachmann used first person singular pronouns--I, me, myself, etc.--89 times in her 2,463-word speech, for a rate of 3.61 percent. (By comparison, Obama--who's become known as the "'Me, Myself, and I' president," Liberman notes--uses self-referential words at a rate of 2.05 percent). Here's how the GOP pack ranks in self-reference:

Liberman says this shouldn't be taken as an indication of the candidates' egos. We will try to keep that in mind.

  • Thin Resumé Bachmann hasn't done all that much with her time in Congress, at least not by traditional measures, Politico's John Bresnaham and Jake Sherman report.

Now in her third House term, Bachmann has never had a bill or resolution she's sponsored signed into law, and she's never wielded a committee gavel, either at the full or subcommittee level. Bachmann's amendments and bills have rarely been considered by any committee, even with the House under GOP control. In a chamber that rewards substantive policy work and insider maneuvering, Bachmann has shunned the inside game, choosing to be more of a bomb thrower than a legislator.

An anonymous Republican lawmaker told Politico, "There's not been one single legislative accomplishment she's had." Sound familiar? That was considered one of the main reasons no one defended Anthony Weiner during his sext scandal--he hadn't made friends because he spent all his time on cable TV. That's not to say that Bachmann's a sext machine, obviously.

  • No One Likes a Showoff  NBC News' First Read team observes, "As for Bachmann, remember that her House colleagues rejected her bid for a leadership post earlier this year. This is going to get re-litigated at some point; if she can't woo those who know her best…"
  • Backup Plans  But the Republican leaders are giving her a backup plan anyway. Politico's Alex Isenstadt reports that although Bachmann says she isn't "actively seeking reelection" in her Minnesota congressional district, Republicans aren't working very hard to find a replacement candidate. No Republican has signaled an intention to run for the seat. "If she falls short, it’s increasingly clear she’ll have a soft landing spot back in the House if she wants it," Isenstadt writes.
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