I caught up with Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann on the Hill this morning, and we chatted about her potential presidential bid as she power-walked — at unforgiving speeds — through the halls of the Cannon office building. The gist: Officially, she hasn’t made a decision, but she will be making one in the next few months, and she seems heartened by feedback from New Hampshire and other potential bellwethers.
“I’ve been in the early primary states talking to people about what their concerns are, and I have not made a decision about my plans,” she told me in between stops to greet staffers. “But I anticipate that a decision will be made some time in the early summer either way, because I believe that it’s important for a candidate to be part of the August straw poll in Iowa. And so if I choose to go that route, then I think I’ll need to have time to make plans.”
When asked how the feedback she’s gotten at fundraisers and meet ‘n’ greets has changed her outlook, Bachmann gives an unequivocally positive response: “It’s been excellent, absolutely excellent.” Though she doesn’t admit that this amounts to an increasing likelihood that she’ll run — “It’s all part of the information that I’m taking in to come to a pointed decision,” she says — it’s hard to imagine it doesn’t. She approaches the prospect of running with a cautious, deliberate respect that seems appropriate for a member of Congress so recently shot into the political stratosphere. “As you know, it’s a momentous decision. It’s not one that I take lightly. It can’t be a rash decision,” she said. “So, with my advisors and my family, we’re trying to make a prudent decision and take all the information in.”
She says there was no single moment when the Oval Office started to seem like her desired destination, but with Tea Party support strengthening since before the midterms, she’s increasingly become a name people know. In a recent Quinnipiac poll, more respondents knew who she was than a host of other 2012 potentials, including Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, Rick Santorum and Haley Barbour. “I think increasingly, watching the Obama policies has been what’s galvanized my thinking,” she says of her motivation. But does she feel simply inspired to run or like she could really take the win? “Well, that’s all a part of the decision that I’m trying to make right now,” she says. “It just hasn’t been made.”