U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann will attend the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday as part of a congressional delegation.
In the waning days of 2012 presidential campaign, Bachmann often compared herself to Thatcher, the prime minister known as the "Iron Lady" because she stuck to strict conservative economic and political positions despite public opposition.
Days before the Iowa Republican caucuses in January 2012, Bachmann told crowds that: "We need another Margaret Thatcher, another Iron Lady."
Bachmann also ran campaign ads in Iowa calling herself "America's Iron Lady." The comparison came in the days surrounding the theatrical release of a biographical movie, starring Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, about the Thatcher's life.
House Speaker John Boehner selected Bachmann for the delegation, which will include Republicans Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and George Holding of North Carolina.
Thatcher, who served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990, died April 8.
"Not only was Margaret Thatcher a role model for conservative women across the globe, but she was also one of the most consequential political leaders of our time," a statement from Bachmann read, in part. "While we mourn her loss, we also remember the extraordinary legacy she left behind. May the great Lady rest in peace."
New York-based Freedom to Marry plans to pump cash into this year's Minnesota legislative fight to legalize gay marriage.
The national group, which donated more than $700,000 into the successful campaign to oppose last year's constitutional ban on gay marriage, said on Thursday that it hoped to raise $2 million to spread amongst state's debating marriage laws. It said it planned to spread $800,000 among five states, including Minnesota, to wage the fight.
“As we move toward securing the freedom to marry for our state, this investment shows the level of commitment and confidence that soon all loving and committed couples can join marriage in Minnesota," Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, said in a statement.
Minnesotans United was the main organization campaigning against last year's marriage amendment and is taking charge of this year's lobbying to legalize same-sex marriage.
Freedom to Marry plans to spend cash in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island as well as Minnesota.
Update: Jake Loesch communications director for Minnesota United said the group has already received $150,000 from Freedom to Marry and "we anticipate more in the coming months."
Although the Obama campaign is sending former President Clinton to Minnesota and has started running ads in the state, key Obama staffers said Monday morning Republican Mitt Romney's momentum in Minnesota is "pretend."
"The Romney campaign wants you to think it’s expanding the map but it’s not," said Jim Messina, President Barack Obama's campaign manager. "Romney is pretending he’s got a shot in state’s like in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. We expect the Romney campaign to visit an out of play state this week to pretend like they have some momentum there."
A Star Tribune Minnesota Poll over the weekend found Obama with 3 percentage point lead over Romney, predicting a far tighter race than both campaigns appear to have assumed.
Obama campaign senior advisor David Axelrod said the Obama campaign is running ads in Minnesota because the Romney campaign began advertising in the state.
"We are not going to surrender any territory," he said on a conference call with reporters.
Republicans see evidence that the Democrats are clearly scared Minnesota is on the verge of slipping away from them.
"No matter how you slice it, President Obama’s map is shrinking while Governor Romney’s momentum and plan for a real economic recovery is forcing the president’s campaign to spend critical campaign cash to defend states they once thought were safe," said Ryan Mahoney, Regional Press Secretary for the Republican National Committee in an email to reporters over the weekend.
President Obama's campaign plans to spend money to run television ads in the Twin Cities market in the final weeks of the campaign, an Obama campaign official said.
But the official said the ad buy is "very small," less than one percent of the total ad spending the campaign plans in the final weeks, and it is "targeted to Wisconsin." Twin Cities stations are aired in western Wisconsin, which has long been considered a swing state in the presidential race.
"It is not about putting Minnesota in play," the official said.
The news of the Obama ad buy in Minnesota comes as the Associated Press is reporting Republican Mitt Romney's campaign is also planning to air Minnesota ads for the first time in his general election campaign.
It is not clear whether the spending is designed to woo voters in the state's battleground neighbors or because the campaign believes Minnesota is winnable.
Neither Obama nor Romney's ad buys appear to be very sizable.
By the end of the day Friday, public files indicated Romney had bought about $29,000 worth of ad time on two Twin Cities stations (KSTP and KARE) and Obama had purchased $15,000 worth of time on KMSP. Public filing of advertising information sometimes lags behind the actual purchase.
Republicans said Obama's buy indicated he believes he is embattled in Minnesota. The Obama official said their campaign, while not taking Minnesota for granted, is not moving the state to the threatened column.
Minnesota has given its ten electoral votes to the Democratic presidential campaign in every election since 1972.
As of Tuesday afternoon, outside groups had spent nearly $6.2 million to influence the outcome of the race between freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack and Democrat Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional district.
Of that, $5.5 million, or nearly 90 percent of it, has been spent to oppose one of the two candidates, largely on attack ads, according to federal records.
Cravaack has been the hardest hit. Groups, from the DCCC to AFSCME, have spent $3.2 million to oppose him while $2.4 million has gone to oppose Nolan.
But Nolan’s friends haven’t done much to build him up – his supporters, have spent only $360,000 to promote him. Much of that money was spent by the DFL.
Cravaack’s supporters have been similarly chintzy in spending cash to boost him. Only about $117,000 has been spent to sing his praises, according to campaign records.