She began her political career simply, as a Christian mom concerned about the content of school papers her children brought home in their backpacks, but today she has become one of the leading defenders of liberty and conservative principles on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., laughs at her humble start in politics.
"I attended my caucus, not intending to run for office," Bachmann told WND. "I had on jeans and a sweatshirt with a hole in it and tennis shoes. But the people said, 'Michele, you need to run,' and I did."
Bachmann went on to beat out Minnesota's longest-sitting state senator in the 2000 Republican primary and then defeated her Democratic opponent in the general election. Six years later, she overcame millions of dollars in Democrat campaign spending to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and, in an exclusive interview with WND, Bachmann hinted her underdog campaigns may even lead to the White House.
Bachmann, a federal tax litigation attorney before serving in elected office, told WND that she is "first and foremost a mother." In the late 90s, the mother of five and foster mom to another 23 children through the years, grew concerned about what her foster kids were bringing home from the public school.
"Through the Goals 2000 program, the federal government was pushing knowledge, facts and information out of classroom study, substituting them with a study of attitudes, values and beliefs," she said, "but not necessarily the values that moms and dads would like."
Bachmann also took time during her interview with WND to blast three areas of massive government expansion that have been proposed over the last several years, even faulting fellow Republicans for the bailouts under President Bush:
"I voted against the bailout, and I worked feverishly within my own caucus, begging, urging Republicans not to vote for it," she said. "That was a big mistake Republicans made on the bailout last fall. It laid the groundwork for the slide toward socialism that we've seen since."
"Over the weekend, I read a 1986 book – 'Destroying Democracy' by James T. Bennett and Thomas J. Dilorenzo – that talked about ACORN's agenda, and it was as fresh as everything President Obama has been advancing since he took office," she said. "Complete nationalization of health care, energy tax, government taking over the economy"If the president gets his way with nationalized health care, it will be almost impossible to ever turn it back and restore to us our freedom." </b>
To Bachmann, light bulbs, the census and the dollar standard are issues simply because liberty is at stake. To her detractors and political opponents, however, her unorthodox stances are fuel for ridicule.
Bachmann has been labeled across the Internet as "kooky," MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has named her to his "World's Worst" list, and, according to Bachmann, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has named Bachmann one of her top eight targets to get rid of in the next election.
The ire has grown so fierce, Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity refers to Bachmann as "the second most hated Republican woman" (after Sarah Palin).
Bachmann, however, is not surprised by the criticism.
"In some ways, it's an honor, because it means that I must be effective. Otherwise, they'd be ignoring me," Bachmann told WND. "The other side seems to have two tricks that they pull out of their bag: the Republican is stupid, or the Republican is crazy. … It's straight out of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals': they identify their target, then try to marginalize their target."
Bachmann explained much of the ridicule she endures is because powerful women with conservative views don't fit liberals' desired image.
"What I have seen birthed out of the hardship of the elections in 2006 and 2008, however, is a winnowing of that mindset that caused the Republican Party to lose so badly," she said. "There is still a remnant, a strong fighting element in the House Republican Caucus that is more in line with the principles of, say, Mark Levin's 'Liberty and Tyranny' then they are with the principles that cause the GOP to lose."
Finally, WND asked Bachmann if she could see a day when the candidate who began her political career in jeans and a holey sweatshirt would one day run for the presidency.
"If I felt that's what the Lord was calling me to do, I would do it," she answered. "When I have sensed that the Lord is calling me to do something, I've said yes to it. But I will not seek a higher office if God is not calling me to do it. That's really my standard.
"If I am called to serve in that realm I would serve," she concluded, "but if I am not called, I wouldn't do it."
*cough* *cough* *cough*