Bachmann Presidential Run Shocks Nation
ST. ANSELM COLLEGE—Michele Bachmann’s presentation of her candidacy at the New Hampshire Republican Presidential debate surprised literally everyone that had been following her, sometimes to the point of injury.
In recent months, Representative Bachmann had made no indication whatsoever that she was planning on running for the presidency. Her announcement, therefore, was greeted with surprise, disbelief, and occasional medical incident.
“It came out of nowhere,” says political scientist Larry Sabato. “Her keynote speech to Iowans for Tax Relief, her meetings with party officials in New Hampshire and South Carolina…. we just thought she was concerned for the country at large. She didn’t get a FOX News TV show or make a biopic movie like Sarah Palin, so she never seemed like she was actually interested in running.”
Republican party officials were likewise caught unawares. “She took all the steps to appear at the debate and then showed up, but that doesn’t mean anything,” says Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “Newt [Gingrich, former Speaker of the House] was at the debate, and he doesn’t even have a staff! So I thought it was all just kind of like a book club, where you’re supposed to have read the book and then talk about it, but really you just use it as an excuse to get together and drink. But no, there she was, announcing she was running for president.”
The news had an even greater impact outside of Washington, on voters of all political persuasions and levels of interest. A woman in the debate audience, 58-year old Louise May of Manchester, fainted at the announcement and had to be escorted out.
“I couldn’t handle the shock of it,” she said afterwards. “And I am not faint of heart either; I saw Hostel, The Passion of the Christ, AND 127 Hours, in theaters, without passing out. But this was just too much to absorb at once.”
For high school senior Bethany Jones, it was an occasion for celebration, in more ways than one. “I was, like, eight months pregnant and my U.S. Government teacher told us the morning afterward. I had never even heard of her, but as soon as the announcement was made, I was like, ‘Oh my gawd!’ and, like, my water broke, and I went into labor!” Bethany and her boyfriend Johnny Cochane plan to name the two children Michelle and Bachmann, although both of them are girls.
Political observers are skeptical and anxious for what Bachmann may do next. Says one of Bachmann’s Hill staffers who has asked to remain anonymous, “I’m still kind of in denial about the whole thing. People say she’s going to raise money, but I’m still wrapping my head around the announcement. It’s a new world now.”
By Doug Limey