Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota officially kicked off her bid for the… (Jeff Haynes / Reuters )
Reporting from Waterloo, Iowa — Arguing that President Obama’s leadership is imperiling the nation, Michele Bachmann declared Monday that she would run for the GOP nomination to challenge him.
“My name is Michele Bachmann. I stand here in the midst of many friends and many family members to announce formally my candidacy for president of the United States,” she said, standing in front of the historic Snowden House, a charming Victorian brick home in the town where she was born.
“I do so because I am so profoundly grateful for the blessings that I have received both from God and from this great country and not because of the position of this office, but because I am determined that every American deserves these blessings and that together, once again, we can secure that promise of the future for America," she said.
Photos: Potential 2012 GOP candidates
Reading from notes, the Minnesota congresswoman spoke for more than 20 minutes, weaving Biblical passages, historical quotes and personal stories through her remarks. She recalled her mother’s struggle after divorce.
“We trusted in God and our neighbors, not government,” Bachmann said. “Americans still have that same spirit. But government keeps trying to erase that spirit because government thinks it knows better.”
Bachmann said she used to be a Democrat, campaigning for Jimmy Carter in 1976. But seeing his domestic and foreign policies in action prompted her to switch parties. Her candidacy will appeal to varied segments in the GOP, Bachmann said, listing peace-through-strength conservatives, fiscal conservatives and social conservatives, and the "tea party" movement.
“The liberals, and to be clear, I am not one of those who want you to believe the tea party movement is just the right-wing fringe of the Republican Party, but I am here to tell you, nothing could be further from the truth,” she said, calling it a coalition of Republicans, disaffected Democrats, libertarians and people who had never previously been involved in politics. “We are people who simply want to get America back on the right track again.”
Bachmann offered no specific policy prescriptions, but she railed against out-of-control federal spending, the healthcare reform law championed by Obama, a bloated government and the $14-trillion federal debt.
“We simply cannot kick the can of our problems down the road,” Bachmann said. "We can’t continue to rack up debt and put it on the backs of the next generation. We can’t afford an unconstitutional healthcare law that will cost us too much and deliver so little. We can’t afford four more years of failed leadership here at home and abroad. We can’t afford four more years of millions of Americans who are out of work and who aren’t making enough in wages to support a family.”
“We can’t afford four more years of foreign policy with a president who leads from behind and doesn’t stand up for our friends like Israel and who too often fails to stand against our enemy,” she said. “We cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama.”