In her presidential announcement today from her hometown in Waterloo, IA, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R) portrayed herself as the Tea Party's champion.
"It may have started small, but our voice is growing louder, our voice is growing stronger, and it’s made up of Americans from all walks of life like a three-legged stool," she said. "It's made up of peace-through-strength conservatives, and I am one of those. It is made up of fiscal conservatives, and I am one of those. It is made up of social conservatives, and I am one of those."
"And it’s made up of the Tea Party movement, and I am one of those."
Her rationale for her presidential bid: She can't wait until tomorrow. "I seek the presidency -- not for vanity, but because America is at crucial moment. And I believe [we] must make bold choice if we are to secure a promise for our future, because we simply cannot kick the can of problems down the road, because our problems, quite frankly, are today; our problems are not tomorrow."
And she used announcement to deliver an attack on President Obama's first two-and-half years in the White House.
"We can't afford four more years of failed leadership here and abroad," she said. "We can't afford four more years of millions of Americans who are out of work and who aren't making enough in wages to support a family."
She continued, "We can't afford four more years of a housing crisis where we continually watch the value of our home devalued in front of our eyes... And we can't afford four more years of a ... foreign policy, with a president who leads from behind and who doesn't stand up for friends like Israel."
"We cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama," she said to applause.
Obama 2012 campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt offered this statement in response to Bachmann's announcement:
Congresswoman Bachmann talks about reclaiming the American Dream but her policies would erode the path to prosperity for middle class families. She voted for a budget plan that would extend tax cuts for the richest Americans on the backs of seniors and the middle class while ending Medicare as we know it. Congresswoman Bachmann introduced legislation to repeal Wall Street oversight - risking a repeat of the financial crisis -- and while she voted to preserve subsidies for oil and gas companies she opposes making the investments necessary to enhance America's competitiveness and create the jobs of the future.