Michele Bachmann has moved into the vanguard of the GOP backlash against President Obama and the Democratic Congress. But can she help lead Republicans out of the political wilderness? "I’m trying to just explain to the American people what’s happening here in Washington, D.C.," she said in an interview.
WASHINGTON -- Things are heating up inside Michele Bachmann’s office behind "enemy lines" in the Democratic-controlled Congress.
Her staff says a recent barrage of incoming calls comes mostly from friendly territory beyond the Beltway. But the second-term Republican doesn’t have to search far for enemies.
Giving passionate voice to conservative alarm over the growth of government’s reach and spending, Bachmann’s escalating rhetoric has delighted her stalwart supporters while unleashing a new storm of criticism.
But if she’s worried, it doesn't show. Despite a few public missteps that have provided YouTube moments for her detractors, Bachmann continues to talk like a woman on a mission.
"I haven't purposely been trying to be inflammatory," she said in an interview last week. "I’m trying to just explain to the American people what’s happening here in Washington, D.C."
Detractors scoff. There’s MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, calling Bachmann the "Mata Hari of Minnesota" to ridicule her recent quip about life as a conservative Republican in Barack Obama’s Washington, where she described herself as "a foreign correspondent on enemy lines."
The liberal blogosphere, meanwhile, has erupted in howls over her new campaign against a "one-world currency government" — leading her to tell conservative radio host Glenn Beck, "This is not Michele Bachmann being a kook."
That the question even came up is testament to the vitriol Bachmann has attracted after a string of national cable TV appearances stretching to last August, when a group of GOP members took over an empty House floor to push for expanded oil drilling.
‘Armed and dangerous’