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Bachmann 2012? No decision yet, but leaning...


FILE - Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, speaks during a Tea Party town hall meeting at the National Press Club in Washington last month.

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Luke Russert
Two people close to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) say she has not made a decision yet on whether she will run for president.

"At this point," one source said, "the decision has not been made."

That said, Bachmann appears to be leaning in the direction of running, or at least forming an exploratory committee.

"There are definitely steps that have progressed," the Bachmann source said. She will make a decision likely this summer, the source said.

CNN reported that Bachmann will form an exploratory committee in June and possibly earlier. The sources would not confirm -- nor deny the story.

Why? Consider: the news of her potential run comes on a day in which she's making a speech today in Iowa.

Republicans unaffiliated with a 2012 GOP campaign believe this is a way for Bachmann to keep her name in the news and increase her visibility -- in an effort to get her visibility and poll numbers up, thereby improving her viability.

In other words: She's seriously considering a run, she's putting out feelers, and if she believes she has a shot, she'll do it.

The official statement from Bachmann's office is as follows: "The Congresswoman is grateful for all the encouragement she's received. She will make a decision about 2012 this summer. There is a natural timeline to these events and they will run their course."

A GOP fundraising source speaking on background tells NBC: "She's been in Iowa a ton and can definitely raise money, we think with her millions she could definitely launch a presidential bid. She has people in position to do it."

Ed Brookover, a political consultant who has worked with Bachmann since she first ran for the House in 2003,  said that Bachmann is "being aggressive in her planning process."

Another source close to Bachmann said she'll continue to travel to the early states of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida and that she has authorized her staff to talk to individuals in those states who could help in the event that she does run for president.

The source also contends that Bachmann has a donor base of close to 160,000, quite a large number and a good place to start if she were to run.

She has been in Iowa since Tuesday and will head back to Minnesota tomorrow. She will return to Iowa Saturday.

*** UPDATE *** NBC's Catherine Chomiak notes what Bachmann herself said about a potential bid on a radio program today:

"I'm in to make sure that Barack Obama is a one term president just like we're all happy that Jimmy Carter didn't have a second term. I'm in for that and I'll be making a decision about whether or not I will be a candidate by sometime this summer because I think it's important that a candidate participates in the Iowa straw poll."

*** UPDATE 2 *** CNN also reported that Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson "has been hired to be Bachmann's political director for the state." But Sorenson tells First Read he has "not been hired." He said he has been traveling with her for the past two to three days, wants her to run, is encouraging her to run, thinks she's "leaning in that direction," and that if she does he would likely be part of her campaign.