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NASHUA, N.H. - U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota stood before New Hampshire Republicans on Saturday clutching a tea bag, but her grasp on Revolutionary War geography wasn't quite as tight.
Before headlining a GOP fundraiser, the possible presidential hopeful told a group of students and conservative activists in Manchester, "You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord," according to video posted online by WMUR-TV.
The Revolutionary War's opening shots were fired in Massachusetts, not New Hampshire. Though Bachmann certainly isn't the first to confuse Concord, N.H., with Concord, Mass., her mistake was striking given her roots in the Tea Party movement, which takes its name from the dumping of tea into Boston Harbor by angry colonists in 1773.
Bachmann was greeted with applause when she asked, "How about a United States president that gets what the American people want in 2012?" and later proclaimed, "Are you in for 2012? I'm in!"
She later clarified that she is committed to denying President Obama a second term, not necessarily running herself. That decision will come by early summer, she said.
For the state that holds the earliest presidential primary, it was another Minnesota politician with possible White House aspirations. Bachmann's trip overlapped one day with former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's, offering voters a glimpse of their contrasting styles.
On Friday, in remarks at a New Hampshire hospital, Pawlenty offered subdued criticism of Obama's national health care law, saying, "I know the country just had a huge debate about all of this, and my side lost, at least for now. But I hope we can have a continued discussion." To be sure, he faced a roomful of skeptical physicians in one of the most liberal corners of the state, while Bachmann spoke before an enthusiastic, conservative crowd. She called Obama's health care overhaul the "ultimate example of arrogance."
"The real problem is the arrogant elites in Washington, D.C., who think they know how to run your lives far better than you," she said.
Bachmann, who only recently has begun traveling to early nominating states, is a favorite of the Tea Party in Congress, where she is in her third term. A formidable fundraiser, she's also built a national following through her blunt commentary on cable news shows.
Her speech was interrupted by protesters who chanted, "Michele Bachmann, we insist, end the AIDS treatment waiting list," a reference to a state and federally funded AIDS drug program. Many cash-strapped states have capped enrollment, dropped patients or instituted waiting lists. "It's OK," she joked after they were ushered out. "They just brought in the buses from Madison, Wisconsin."
During a stop in Manchester, N.H., Bachmann used her roots in Minnesota to good advantage. "I come from a very tough neighborhood," she said, trotting out the usual catalog of famous Minnesota Democrats: Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone and Al Franken.
Bachmann also made time for a whistle stop at the iconic Calef's Country Store in Barrington, N.H.
"I like her," said deli worker Joel Sherburne. "I think she's real nice."
Sherburne didn't mind the crowd she brought either. "It's good for the candidates, it's good for the store," he said. "It's a 50-50 deal."
Staff writer Kevin Diaz contributed to this report.