It's official: Michele Bachmann is in. As we reported last week, she's begun a three-state presidential announcement tour, which kicked off in her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa this morning. As soon as video is available, we'll post it [UPDATE: Video below]. In the meantime, here is a partial transcript of her remarks, courtesy of Slate's Dave Weigel [click through for the full transcript]:
It's great to be in Iowa and even better to be in Waterloo where I was born. It's fitting to be here at the Snowden House, the place that once served as the home of the Waterloo Women's Club. I stand here today in front of many friends and family to formally announce my candidacy for President of the United States. I do so because I am grateful for the blessings God and this country have given to me, and not because of the position of the office, but because I am determined that every American deserves these blessings and that together we can once again strengthen America and restore the promise of the future. I want to bring a voice, your voice, to the White House, just as I have brought your voice to the halls of congress to secure the promise of the future for our generation and generations to come.
Americans have always confronted challenges. Ours is a history marked by struggles as well as prosperity. My early days were difficult as they were for many Americans, especially during the time when my mother struggled to raise us after divorce. But we made our own way. We depended on our neighbors and ourselves and not our government for help. We trusted in God and our neighbors and not in Government. Americans still have that same spirit. But government keeps trying to erase it because government thinks it knows better—that government can create jobs, and make a better life for all of us, even make us healthier! But that's NOT the case. We have to recapture our founders' vision of a constitutionally conservative government if we are to secure the promise of the future.
I'm also here because Waterloo laid the foundation for my own roots in politics. I never thought that I would end up in public life. I grew up here in Iowa. My grandparents are buried here. I remember how sad I was leaving Iowa to go to Minnesota in the sixth grade, because this part of Iowa was all I knew—I remember telling my parents that we couldn't move to Minnesota because I hadn't even been to Des Moines to see the state capitol.
I grew up a democrat. My first involvement in politics was working for Jimmy Carter's election in 1976. But when I saw the direction President Carter took our country; how his big spending liberal majority grew government, weakened our standing in the world, and how they decreased our liberties, I became a Republican. I remember standing in the kitchen of my grandma's house on Lafayette Street in Waterloo listening to my dad, a Democrat debating the merits of the Great Society with my grandmother, a Republican. I remember her prophetic admonition to my father that the Great Society wouldn't work because it wouldn't be my father's generation who paid for it, but rather my brother, David and me. And now that prediction has come true and neither my democrat father nor my republican grandmother would have condoned this spending and debt.
I hadn't planned on getting into politics. I loved the law and went to law school. I went on to William and Mary to become a tax lawyer. Together with my husband we started a successful small business.
When I saw the problems with our local school district and how academic excellence was being eroded by federal government interference with the local schools, I decided to do more than just complain about it. One of those Iowa values instilled in me was to always leave whatever you were involved with better than when you found it, so I decided to seek public office to make our local school district better. I didn't seek public office for fortune or power, but simply to make life better in our community and education better for our children. And now I seek the presidency not for vanity, but because America is at a crucial moment and I believe that we must make a bold choice if we are to secure the promise of the future.
We cannot continue to kick the can of our problems down the road, because they are problems of today and not tomorrow.
- We cannot continue to rack up debt on the backs of future generations.
- We can't afford an unconstitutional health plan that costs too much and is worth so little.
- And we can't afford four more years of failed leadership at home and abroad.
- We can't afford four more years of millions of Americans out of work or in jobs that pay too little to support their families.
- We can't afford four more years of a housing crisis that is devaluing our homes and making home ownership impossible for many Americans.
- We can't afford four more years of a foreign policy that leads from behind and doesn't stand up for our friends and stand up to our enemies.
- We can't afford four more years of Barack Obama.
As a constitutional conservative, I believe in the Founding Father's vision of a limited government that trusts in and preserves the unlimited potential of the American people. I don't believe that the solutions to our problems come from Washington: more than ever, Washington IS the problem, and the real solutions will come from our businesses, our communities, our schools and the most basic and powerful unit of all-our families.
We've started another campaign season, almost when it seemed like the last one just ended. Through all of the rancor of the campaign, let us always remember that there is much more that unites us than divides us. Our problems don't have an identity of party, they are problems created by both parties.
Americans agree that our country is in peril today and we must act with urgency to save it. And Americans aren't interested in affiliation; they are interested in solutions, and leadership that will tell the truth. And the truth is that Americans ARE the solution and not the government!
This election is about big issues, not petty ones. When all is said and done, we cannot be about big government as usual. Then America will lose. In Washington I am bringing a voice to the halls of congress that has been missing for a long time. It is the voice of the people I love and learned from growing up in Waterloo. It is the voice of reasonable, fair-minded people who love this country, who are patriotic, and who see the United States as the indispensable nation of the world.
My voice is part of a movement to take back our country, and now I want to take that voice to the White House. It is the voice of constitutional conservatives who want our government to do its job and not ours and who want our government to live within its means and not our children's and grandchildren's.
I'm Michele Bachmann and I'm running for President of the United States.
Together, we can do this. Together we can reign in all the corruption and waste that has become Washington and instead leave a better America for future generations.
Together we can make a team that can't be beat!
Together we can secure the promise of the future.
Together we can - and together we will!
God bless you and God bless the United States of America!
Question of the weekend: Are you a flake?
I loathe playing the identity politics card, and I think Chris Wallace is a top-shelf journalist -- but I also can't help but wonder if this question would have been put to a male candidate. Wallace has apologized for phrasing the question the way he did, but maintains that any candidate's seriousness and propensity for gaffes should be fair game. Good for him, on both counts.
UPDATE - Here is Bachmann's announcement speech. Heavy emphasis on faith, freedom, and her Iowa roots:
UPDATE II - Is Bachmann refusing to accept Wallace's apology?
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said she wasn't accepting the apology of Fox anchor Chris Wallace, who asked her Sunday if she was a "flake." Bachmann rejected an apology from Wallace, who challenged whether the Tea Party-aligned congresswoman was serious in her bid for the Republican presidential nomination. "I think that it's insulting to insinuate that a candidate for president is less than serious," Bachmann said in an interview on ABC when asked about Wallace's apology, which he posted online.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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