Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is acting like a presidential candidate, but she’s not ready to make it official.
On Thursday, as Bachmann was touring Iowa, CNN reported that she is on the verge of forming a presidential exploratory committee. Bachmann’s spokesman, Doug Sachtleben, stopped short of confirming the report but did nothing to discourage speculation.
“The congresswoman is grateful for all the encouragement she’s received,” Sachtleben said in a statement. “She will make a decision about 2012 this summer. There is a natural timeline to these events, and they will run their course.”
The CNN report cites an unnamed source close to Bachmann as saying that although she often references “early June” as the deadline for her decision, “nothing is static,” and the announcement that she will form the committee could come even earlier.
In an interview with ABC News in Des Moines, Bachmann more or less echoed that possibility.
“By this summer we’ll make a decision one way or another, and I might make a decision before that,” she said, citing the Iowa straw poll in August as a “very important” step for any serious contender.
Bachmann insisted she hasn’t “made a decision yet to announce if I’m a candidate or not,” but said no matter what, “I’m in for 2012 in that I want to be a part of the conversation and making sure that President Obama only serves one term.” If the election were today, she noted, “I don’t think the president would get reelected.”
Bachmann has been traveling the presidential circuit lately. She has visited New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina — all states that will hold crucial early presidential contests.
A look at her current Iowa itinerary:
- On Wednesday, she joined fellow potential 2012 candidates Herman Cain and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, at a rally at the Iowa Capitol to support a Christian home-schooling network.
- She’s one of a number of potential GOP contenders speaking to Iowa pastors on Thursday and Friday in Des Moines.
- On Saturday, she’ll participate in a Conservative Principles Conference hosted by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
Also on Saturday, Bachmann will be featured on a webcast sponsored by a group called Rediscover God in America, which will provide taped coverage of the speeches delivered to the Iowa pastors for a national audience. Other potential presidential candidates scheduled to speak to the pastors are former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
As the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus, Bachmann has emerged as a competitor for the same conservative constituency that has belonged to Sarah Palin. Asked if she would run against Palin in 2012, Bachmann didn't rule out the possiblity.
“I love Sarah Palin,” she said. “She is a wonderful individual, and I’m privileged to have gotten to know her. And she’s a lovely individual; she really is. And my decision will be based on whether or not I think I need to run.”
Watch the interview: