Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann told groups of New Hampshire Republicans and tea party supporters she loves their state and its “Live Free or Die” motto, and most of the people Bachmann spoke to cheered her on.
“You’re considered stoic, independent, blunt-speaking people. I fancy myself one of you!” Bachmann told a group gathered at a hotel outside of Manchester Saturday morning for a New Hampshire GOP fundraiser.
Earlier in the day, Bachmann spoke to some New Hampshire state lawmakers and others at the site of a future alternative school in Manchester. She railed against the growing national debt, and President Obama and Democrats in Congress. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty was in Manchester just two days earlier saying many of the same things.
Manchester resident and small business owner Steve Mathieu played hockey with Pawlenty Friday morning in Concord. Twenty-four hours later, he was listening to Bachmann at the school in Manchester. Mathieu said he was a long way from deciding which candidate to support in the 2012 GOP nominating contest. But he dismissed the notion that Pawlenty, with two terms as governor under his belt, is more qualified to be president than Bachmann. Mathieu said Bachmann and Ronald Reagan share some qualities.
“They shoot from their value system. People call it shooting from the hip, but what it is, is what you see is what you get with these people. They’re honest. They’re true to their principles. They’re true to who they are and that’s exactly what America needs,” said Mathieu.
Some say Bachmann is almost perfectly positioned to fill a void in the tea party-wing of the Republican Party that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin seems to be leaving.
University of New Hampshire political scientist Danta Scala told MPR News that Bachmann doesn’t need to operate in the shadows of Palin.
“I think she could be potentially more than a poor man’s Sarah Palin, which she usually is cast as by the national media, because she’s at least as well versed on issues of importance to conservatives as Palin is, and she can, perhaps, deliver as much verve on the stump as Palin could,” said Scala.
As she almost always does whereever she goes, Bachmann brought a lot of energy to New Hampshire. She drew several standing ovations at a fundraiser for a tea party political action committee Saturday afternoon.
On Friday evening and then again on Saturday morning, she made the mistake of saying the first shot of the revolutionary war was fired in New Hampshire. But in her last speech Saturday afternoon, Bachmann said many New Hampshirites helped their counterparts in Massachusetts, the state where the first shots were fired. Bachmann also added this mea culpa to her Facebook page, “It was my mistake, Massachusetts is where they [the shots] happened,” wrote Bachmann.