Michele Bachmann was a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who came to national attention during the presidential election of 2008, and was a candidate for U.S. president in 2012. Bachmann rose to fame after a television appearance in 2008, during which she encouraged the media to "take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?" Bachmann, an energetic, Bible-quoting conservative, was running for re-election in Minnesota's 6th district that year, and the remarks sent more than a million dollars in donations to her opponent in the race, but Bachmann won anyway. A former lawyer for the U.S. Treasury Department, Michele Bachmann began her political career in the 1990s as an advocate for charter schools and a critic of taxes. She was elected to Minnesota's state senate in 2000 and for six years made her name in local politics as an opponent of taxes, gay marriage and the teaching of evolution in public schools. Although a newcomer to national politics, Bachmann's congressional campaign in 2006 was strongly supported by the Republican National Committee, and she had help in her campaign from such luminaries as Karl Rove
and then-president George W. Bush
. Her re-election in 2008 looked like a done deal until her remarks about anti-American representatives in congress on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews
. In the same program she said candidate Barack Obama
and his wife Michelle Obama
concerned her because of their "anti-American" views. Critics have called her the reincarnation of Senator Joe McCarthy
(and worse), but Bachmann's fan base of conservative "tea party" Republicans didn't mind her factual blunders and intemperate remarks. She made an unsuccessful, shot-in-the-dark run at the U.S. presidency in 2012, then reelected for a fouth term in Congress that fall, narrowly defeating hotelier Jim Graves. While under investigation for campaign finance violations, she announced in 2013 that she would not seek reelection in 2014 and the investigation was dropped. Bachmann joined the board of the Family Research Council, the lobbying/fundraising arm of James Dobson's religious organization Focus on the Family. She has continued to work against government power, gay marriage, American immigrants, international cooperation and non-Christian religions.