Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., was in Dover, N.H., Monday, marking Memorial Day. Bachmann hasn’t formally jumped into the presidential race, but it looks like she will, and that might mean two women are vying for the Republican nomination.
When Bachmann visited the Granite State in March, she made the mistake of suggesting the Revolutionary War started there, instead of Concord and Lexington, Mass. So this time she hit New Hampshire history hard, almost to prove her credentials.
Bachmann On New Hampshire, The U.S. Constitution
"Dover plays a very special place in our nation’s history, as the oldest continuous settlement in New Hampshire," Bachmann said during her visit.
But local knowledge didn’t seem to matter to voters here. They wanted to hear Bachmann talk about the things she’s famous for: the Constitution and the need for small government.
"I think [Palin] does fear that Michele Bachmann could take away from her iconic conservative woman status. I think she's worried if she doesn't get into this, Bachmann, in essence, will replace her in the hearts of Tea Party activists and others."Republican strategist Todd Domke
"Only a creator, God, has it within his power to endow mankind with these universal truths," she said. "And what are these truths? They are certain inalienable rights. Meaning, these are rights only God can give to mankind. Government may not bestow them, and never forget, government cannot take them away."
"I feel she represents what a lot of Americans feel right now, that we’re being overtaxed," said Mark Reynolds, who came here from Billerica, Mass., to hear Bachmann speak.
Reynolds said a few potential candidates interest him, including Sarah Palin, who he said has a lot in common with Bachmann.
"They have the same values, so you can easily make that comparison," Reynolds said. "I think it's good if they all run. I don’t see what the problem is, the more the merrier — creates good competition."
Bachmann vs. Palin
Reynolds identifies with the Tea Party, and he welcomes lots of conservative candidates. But the thinking is that if Palin and Bachmann both run they will split the vote, and neither would get the nomination.
Still, it’s looking more and more like Palin will at least act like she’s getting into the race, said Republican strategist Todd Domke.
"But I think she does fear that Michele Bachmann could take away from her iconic conservative woman status," Domke said. "I think she's worried if she doesn't get into this, Michele Bachmann in essence will replace her in the hearts of Tea Party activists and others."
But Domke doubts Palin will actually go through with it.
Nancy Ford, from Maine, blames the media for that.
"They have cannibalized her to a degree that I don’t think she would be able to resurrect her reputation for the entire country, because she will not be given the opportunity to do so. And I don’t know why she should do that, anyway," Ford said.
Stanley Jennings, also from Maine, likes Palin, but said she can’t win because of her own personality.
"She becomes obnoxious to some people, I think. Maybe the way she talks…I don’t know," Jennings said.
Jennings said he was turned off by Palin’s reality TV show about life in Alaska, because she seemed so artificial.
So while Palin has name recognition, and could upstage Bachmann, that could actually backfire, Domke said.
Palin might again prove she can whip up media attention by riding on the back of a Harley Davidson — as she did this past weekend. But she likely won’t offer any ideas of substance, Domke said.
"Michele Bachmann, by contrast, is much more serious. She is seen as more experienced on federal issues, more knowledgeable than Sarah Palin, and so a lot of people might look at Michele Bachmann and see her as a serious candidate," he said.
New Hampshire residents could get to judge for themselves when Palin rides into New England this week.
This program aired on May 31, 2011.