Bachmann’s Keywords: Against, Won’t, Didn’t

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In a new ad set to run statewide in Iowa, Michele Bachmann concentrates on the fiscal-conservative leg of her stool. Still in the early courting stages with Hawkeye voters, she regurgitates her biography first (Iowa-born, tax lawyer, mom), and then she speaks out against the bailouts, against the stimulus and against raising the debt ceiling. “We can’t keep spending money that we don’t have,” she says at the heart of the spot.


Absent are any mention of accomplishments outside her personal life, which can partly be credited to the fact that she’s running a folksy campaign with a concentration on grassroots and personality that is leading some to call her “Huckabee 2.0.” But it’s also a reminder that hers is The Campaign of Didn’t and Won’t. With few legislative accomplishments of her own to draw on, she presents herself as the foil to unpopular policies crafted by others. Capitalizing on the disgruntled zeitgeist is surely a smart move. The question is whether submitting a stack of “no” votes (and promises of more “no” votes to come) is going to hold up as a primary qualification for being President.

The campaign hasn’t said how big the ad buy was, though they called it “significant.”

Katy Steinmetz is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @KatySteinmetz. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.