Michele Bachmann should have been basking in glowing media attention after winning the Ames straw poll on Saturday and pushing Tim Pawlenty out of the race. Here she is being declared a political genius, but it's Rick Perry who's getting all the attention. Worse, after using her family reunion as an excuse for why she was late to an Iowa event, her own mother revealed the family-values-oriented Bachmann skipped the get-together. How much can go wrong after it all was going so right? It's time for Bachmannia.
- Big Brain on Bachmann Jason Zengerle reports for GQ that Bachmann's "singular political genius" has been her longstanding ability to exploit people's low expectations:
In a way, Bachmann's good looks have long been one of the secrets of her success -- not because they've gotten her noticed, but because they've led people to underestimate her. ... While Republican men were drooling over her appearance, she was doing the quiet, unglamorous work of building a legitimate dark horse presidential campaign...In the mid-1970s, when she was an undergraduate at Winona State University, Bachmann was elected student body vice president. "Michele was picked because she appealed to the Jesus freak voters and to provide some eye candy," says Jerome Christenson, a former classmate of Bachmann's who helped put together the winning slate of candidates on which Bachmann ran. The fact that Bachmann was engaged, capable and had been active in evangelical Democrat Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign didn't seem to impress anyone. "She was this somewhat scatterbrained, ditzy brunette who had a great butt," recalls Christenson. "She was a lightweight and nobody really credited her with being much more than that." It was the man who served above Bachmann as the student body president who was thought to be the political rising star. He's now a farmer.
- Family Values Politico's Ben Smith and Emily Schultheis report that Bachmann said she was late to an event at her birthplace, Waterloo, Iowa, on Sunday because of a family event -- "We had a big family reunion just north of Waterloo." She had mentioned the event -- held on the border with Minnesota -- on Fox News the same day But Bachmann's own mother told Politico that the congresswoman was a no-show.
- Regular Gal Bachmann likes to say she's "a real person," just like the voters, not some weird Washington creature. CNN's Robert Yoon reports that Bachmann's doing quite well compared to the average Joe according to her financial disclosures. She and her husband are worth between $1.3 million and $2.8 million, and they have up to $750,000 in outstanding loans.
- Tough Questions from Kathy Griffin Meanwhile, comedian Kathy Griffin claims she was able to ask Bachmann a pretty tough question without any elbowing. Griffin told Conan O'Brien Monday night that Griffin met Bachmann once while she was in Washington campaigning for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Griffin says she asked the congresswoman, "Congressman Bachmann, were you born a bigot, or did you grow into it?" The response: "That's a good question -- I'm gonna hafta get back to ya!" Video of Griffin's story, which begins at 0:45:
- Lone Wolf And while Bachmann has been claiming she has broad appeal -- telling CNN she attracts Democrats and independents, telling NBC she's from a swing district -- Bachmann doesn't cross the aisle very much. The Hill's Cristina Marcos reports that Bachmann has formally endorsed only three bills introduced by Democrats this year.