Rep. Michele Bachmann used the first major presidential debate of the 2012 campaign to announce that she is formally running for president.
For Bachmann, the conservative from Minnesota, the announcement was expected, but the timing of it was not. She had been expected to declare later in the month in Iowa.
But early in the debate in Manchester, N.H., live on CNN, Bachmann said that she had filed her paperwork Monday with the Federal Election Commission to launch a presidential fundraising committee.
She said she would soon make a public announcement. CNN’s John King, a bit flustered, quickly pushed Bachmann to return to addressing the debate topic at hand.
Bachmann, 55, has served in the House since 2007. A former tax attorney, she’s popular among “tea party” activists. At present, she is the only woman in the GOP field.
She also appeals to social conservatives. The mother of five, she has also served as foster parent to 23 other children.
The location for her announcement was an oddity as well. Because of her appeal to conservative activists, she had been concentrating her early campaign efforts in Iowa.