WASHINGTON -- Rep. Michele Bachmann spent two hours on the Hallmark network Monday touting her foster parenting experience and her desire to have a house full of kids above all else.
She also brandished her napkin folding skills.
In an interview with Mark Steines on Hallmark's "“Home & Family," Bachmann talked about mothering and her and her husband's choice to take in 23 teenage girls over the course of six years as foster parents. She said they had four teen girls at a time, usually for about two years, along with their five biological children. They often took in girls with eating disorders, she said.
"Are you crazy?" Steines said.
Bachmann said she is the "old woman in the shoe" and that she always wanted a house full of kids and to be "a happy mom."
She described family vacations in parks playing baseball and softball and with dogs and going down to the river and "skipping stones."
"It sounds "Little House on the Prairie" but I mean honestly it was just very simple," she said.
She said they stopped taking foster youth when her oldest son turned 16 because she sensed her biological children needed her in their older years.
Bachmann also showed off her deftness in napkin folding during a "tea party." She said she learned the avocation in a class she took to make new friends. Watch that segment here.
Asked about her legacy, Bachmann said she has accomplished it with raising her five biological children.
"They are great kids and they've turned out," she said. "God forbid if I was hit by a bus today, I'm done. These kids have turned out, they're doing great. There is nothing better. That's the legacy."
Television and radio ads already airing to influence Minnesota voters in races for U.S. House, U.S. Senate and the governor's race and are unlikely to let up until Election Day.
Although the ads are coming late -- during the competitive U.S. Senate race in 2008 the air war was already months old by this point -- their appearance presages a barrage through November.
With potentially heated races for governor and U.S. Senate as Republicans work to wrest both offices from Democrats who won their first races by narrow margins, candidates and their allies will battle across the state's airwaves. National interests see the 8th Congressional District, which has flopped between Democratic and Republican control in recent years, as ripe for a turn over and therefore overdue for more ads.
In the governor's race, Republican Marty Seifert plans to launch his first ad this week, his campaign said on Wednesday. It is the first TV spot in the race that will determine whether DFL Gov. Mark Dayton keeps his job. Andy Post, Seifert's campaign manager, said the ad will run during the Minnesota Wild's Friday night game.
Seifert is in a pitched battle to woo Republicans at the party's endorsing convention this month and the GOP will likely also have a crowded primary in August. Businessman Scott Honour, another contender for Republican votes, has also been running radio ads.
Dayton, who has amassed larger campaign coffers than any of the Republicans running against him, has not yet started television ads. He is focused on the legislative session and unlike in his first election, does not face a primary. His campaign manager Katharine Tinucci said he has the resources to run ads when the time comes but, "that time is not now."
Minnesota viewers may see and hear more ads in the other statewide contest -- the race for the U.S. Senate.
In that race, the most significant candidate media spending has come from Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken. This week started a six figure television ad campaign. He has raised more than all but a few sitting senators so likely has the resources to keep it up.
Republican Senate candidate Mike McFadden started running cable ads a few weeks ago and Republican rival Julianne Ortman began radio ads late last month.
That's only a taste. When Franken first ran, he and then-Sen. Norm Coleman, spent millions on dozens of television ads blasting Minnesotans right until their recount began.
Outside groups are also gearing up. A conservative group launched an anti-Franken ad way back in March.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce included Republican U.S. House candidate Stewart Mills in its $3 million television ad campaign to jump-start Republican campaigns "and unite the business community around their efforts,” Scott Reed, the chamber’s senior political strategist, told the New York Times.
Minnesota’s Democrats and Republicans have selected their candidates to do congressional battle this year.
Over the last several months, activists have gathered in small meetings across the state to pick their favorites. Now their slates are complete.
In most districts, those picks are expected to have clear sailing to the general election. In at least one, the party-endorsed candidate will still face a primary.
In the map below, find out about this year's congressional combatants.
Graphic: Jamie Hutt, Star Tribune
Star Tribune staff reporter Allison Sherry contributed to this post.
Sartell Mayor Joe Perske narrowly clinched the DFL endorsement Saturday to run against Republican Tom Emmer in the open 6th Congressional District seat.
The nominating convention delegates voted four times before Perske came up with 62 percent -- enough votes for the official endorsement. Rules require candidates to garner at least 60 percent to be nominated. He beat out Jim Read, a political science professor at St. Ben’s and St. John’s University, according to a news release.
Perske, also a middle school teacher, faces long odds in Minnesota's most conservative district and among the most Republican districts in the country. Emmer was endorsed last month.
The seat has been held for the last eight years by Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is retiring at the end of the year.
"I might have what it takes ... I have been a world class marathon runner," Perske said, in an interview Sunday. "So many things I do in life I do with passion. I will do all I can to win this race for the people of central Minnesota."
Republican Sixth Congressional District candidate Tom Emmer has picked up the endorsement of the Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest Tea Party political action committee.
Retiring U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is also formally backing Emmer to succeed her in Congress.
“Tom Emmer is exactly the type of constitutional conservative we need in Washington, D.C. He’s a hard charging conservative who will never waver,” said Tea Party express executive director Taylor Budowich in a statement.
"We are confident that Tom will carry on the legacy of tea party stalwart, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and continue her fight to reign in the Obama administration's big government liberal agenda.”
Emmer won the party endorsement this month, but the other Republicans in the race, Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah and former state Rep. Phil Krinkie, plan to challenge him in an August primary.
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