Rep. Michele Bachmann is restarting her limping presidential campaign today with a new book that accuses the president of running a "gangster government," and reveals her plan to build a coalition of singles, soccer moms, Hispanics, blacks and Asians to win in the GOP primaries.
"I will drive a freedom and prosperity train from all parts of the nation to Washington," she declares in Michele Bachmann, Core of Conviction, My Story.
Biographical books from presidential candidates typically come out early in a campaign, not seven weeks before the Iowa Caucuses. But Bachmann, who writes that she was late to the election, feels that it can help to begin her campaign anew in part by explaining what inspired her to run and what in her past gives her the confidence she'll win. She is on a book tour to promote her story.
"She is starting to tell her personal story. Most people don't know what makes her a tick and the foundations of her life," said a campaign official.
For example, she reveals the impact of her parent's divorce when she was in ninth grade. She had to work extra jobs to afford things she wanted because her mother could barely make ends meet.
"I took every baby sitting job I could get, because by ninth grade, I was growing conscious of my appearance. In those days, girls had to wear dresses to public school, and if I wanted pretty dresses, I had to buy them, because mom couldn't afford them for me; she couldn't afford lunch money," Bachmann writes. [Pictures in the book show that she has changed very little from when she was a teen.]
She also wrote about how former President Jimmy Carter, who she voted for, let her down.
"It was in the perilous fires of the Carter administration that my ideology was forged," she wrote. "In the seventies, Carter taught me what I was against, and then in the eighties, Reagan taught me what I was for."
Bachmann also explained why she went to work for the IRS. With a goal of changing the tax code, she wrote, "I chose to learn how to change the system from the inside out." She also revealed that she isn't against taxes. "I believe that everyone should pay at least some tax, at least a symbolic amount. In so doing, we are all reminded that if we are going to preserve our republic—a word coming from the Latin res publica, or public thing—we all must be good citizens."
But her book is also a statement on why she is running, and on that she blames the "gangster government" of Obama, who she accuses of ignoring public opinion and the Constitution to shower friends like auto workers with money and favors.
She wrote of the bailouts: "Liberals raided the Treasury and spent money in early 2009, and the rest of us paid for it. They were almost giddy as they pushed money out the door by the bushel basketful. It was as though they didn't care where the money went: 'Just spend more!' was the motto. This was more than foolish; it was darn near criminal."
She wraps up the book with her decision to run and her four key issues:
"First, I am a national security conservative," she writes, explaining that the nation should stick to its friends and defeat enemies, like Iran.
Second, she describes herself as "economic conservative," which she said includes cutting the debt and spending to free the nation from economic burdens.
"Third, I am a social conservative—and I mean it," she wrote, highlighting her work to stop abortion and boost ethics and values. [Read: Bachmann's Thanksgiving: Cheap Bird and 'Turkey Bingo']
And finally, she noted that she is a Tea Party leader.
"I once said that the Tea Party represents 90 percent of Americans. I now realize that I misspoke," she admitted. "I should have said 100 percent, because I believe that nearly all Americans retain faith in the ordered liberty that the Constitution offers."
Winning won't be easy, but she said that she is trying to build a coalition of women, blacks and Latinos to push her to early primary and caucus victories. "I will call it the Liberty Express," she wrote.
- See a collection of political cartoons on the GOP hopefuls.
- See photos of 2012 GOP hopefuls on the campaign trail
- Read about GOP rhetoric vs. reality at the foreign policy debate.