Bachmann launches 2012 presidential bid

Representative Michele Bachmann, a rising star of the conservative Tea Party movement, leaped into the...

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Representative Michele Bachmann, a rising star of the conservative Tea Party movement, leaped into the race for the Republican 2012 presidential nomination on Monday and said the country cannot afford four more years of President Barack Obama.

"I am here today in Waterloo to announce that we can win in 2012 and we will win," Bachmann told a crowd of supporters outside a historic home museum in the Midwestern town where she was born.

Bachmann, 55, is attempting to establish herself as the main alternative to front-runner Mitt Romney among a crowded field of Republican candidates vying for the right to oppose the Democrat Obama.

Her announcement speech, accompanied by rock music as traffic noise roared from a nearby highway, was full of red-meat rhetoric against Obama, memories of her Iowa childhood years and rock-solid devotion to conservative principles.

A conservative from Minnesota, Bachmann was buoyed by a Des Moines Register poll on Saturday that showed her only a single percentage point behind first-place Romney among Iowa Republicans.

The state holds the first contest on the road to her party's presidential nomination.

Her challenge will be to gain the trust of voters beyond hard-core conservatives. While she may play well among social conservatives who dominate politics in Iowa, her future is more uncertain elsewhere.

Saying "we cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama," Bachmann urged voters to make a "bold choice" and select her.

"Make no mistake about it, Barack Obama will be a one-term president," she said.

Some in the crowd chimed in as she said the line.

Bachmann quoted Obama as saying in February 2009 that if he did not get the economy growing in three years it would be a one-term proposition.

"Well, Mr. President, your policies haven't worked, spending our way out of the recession hasn't worked, and so, Mr. President, we take you at your word," she said.