Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bachmann Ready to Leave Congress, but Not Politics

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bachmann Ready to Leave Congress, but Not Politics

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * An audacious conservative, Rep. Michele Bachmann stood out from the moment she was first elected to Congress in 2006. Democrats were ascendant and Bachmann was a stridently Republican new arrival with a homespun Minnesota twang.

Four terms later, Bachmann is leaving just as Republicans take control of Congress for the first time since she was first elected. After a turbulent career dotted by fights with the left and her own party, and a fast-rising and fast-fading presidential campaign, Bachmann said she is ready to leave, her work in Congress complete.

"I didn't get sucked into the system of Washington," she said. "I didn't become a politician. I was a constitutional conservative."

That role Bachmann carved for herself often placed her in the spotlight during her eight years in office. She provided a consistently conservative voice on television on issues ranging from health care to immigration, and even delivered a "Tea Party response" to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in 2011 that overlapped with her party's official rebuttal.

Speaking on MSNBC in 2008, she said that Obama "may have anti- American views." The comment led to a flood of donations to her opponent and a narrow, three-point victory in one of Minnesota's most conservative congressional districts. In recent years, she has said Obama's policies put America on a path to "Marxism."

Bachmann has rarely walked anything back. "I don't have a lot of regrets from my time here," she said.

Democrats alternated between derision and anger at her outlandish comments, which even some former members of her staff say stretched the truth or were outright false. "Who cares?" Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi once responded, when asked about Bachmann's response to a Supreme Court ruling that allowed same-sex marriages to go forward in many states.

Bachmann began her career as a tax attorney. …

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