Reporting from Des Moines — On a day when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin shook up the Republican presidential field with the news that she was launching a national bus tour, potential competitor Michele Bachmann said she was pressing ahead with her own effort and planned an announcement next month in her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa.
Palin’s decision on whether to run, the Minnesota congresswoman said, would not affect her plans.
Bachmann was slated to headline a fundraiser for the Polk County GOP in Des Moines on Thursday night, but missed the event to stay in Washington for a vote on the Patriot Act. She appeared in an awkward live video chat at the banquet where her remarks echoed around the room, out of sync from her blurry image on screen.
Bachmann still plans several stops in Iowa on Friday and told reporters she has hired staff in South Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa for her presidential effort.
"I am very confident that if we get in this race, we will be able to put the resources together to be able to wage a full scale successful effort to be able to make it all the way to the White House," she said during a telephone news conference Thursday night.
Though she had hinted that she might move up her announcement to May after former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, real estate magnate Donald Trump and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels withdrew their names from 2012 contention, Bachmann said Thursday that her advisors encouraged her stick with her original timeline.
She has sent a flurry of fundraising emails to supporters this week. Her aides said she had raised $256,000 online over the past 30 hours.
The congresswoman brushed off questions Thursday about whether she would defer to Palin, who has signaled that she is open to a possible presidential run.
“Our decision is unique, and we are independent of what any other candidates decide – no matter which candidate gets in or which candidate gets out,” Bachmann told reporters. “We’ve seen three candidates that have chosen not to proceed. ... We may see more decide not to get in.”
Bachmann added that she considered Palin a friend and has great respect for her.
“But again I don’t believe any two candidates are interchangeable,” she continued. “I think each one of us bring our own unique skill set into this race.”