U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann had a simple message for students and faculty at Liberty University on Wednesday: don't settle.

In picking up on a theme of her presidential campaign, Bachmann told a convocation of the evangelical Christian university of her conversion as a born-again Christian as a teenager. "I was a sinner,'' she said. "I had a heart that needed to be clean. .... I repented from my sin. I said oh, God, come in, make me new. ... He did what He promises to do for all.''

Her speech was an electrifying sermon in which religious themes dominated. She did take time to criticize federal health reform as a step toward "socialized medicine" and saw the country promising little for future generations. "This is an election of all elections when we have an opportunity to turn the country around,'' she said. She praised the work of Falwell in building up the university, and also Francis Shaffer, whose 1970s book and later film "How Shall We Live Then ?" was influential in Falwell's life and work.

"When the Lord came into my heart, he put a hunger and a thirst for his word,'' she told the large gathering, describing rising early to read her scriptures before high school. "I wanted to know Jesus Christ, in his fullness, every part of him.''

Bachmann said liberty, as described in the Bible, is the "animated principle of this great nation.'' She added: "It's the essence of our Christian life. It's the essence of the founding of our nation.'' She quoted the Declaration of Independence and said:  "It is not government who gave us our rights; it is God who gave us our rights. Since God was the Creator who gave them to us, no government can take them away from us.''

Bachmann encouraged the students not to "settle" for second-best in their spiritual and personal lives, as she is asking evangelical voters to do in their choice for president. "Don't settle for anything else than what this great and almighty God has planned for you,'' she said.