Bachmann ends White House bidby Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio,
Catharine Richert, Minnesota Public Radio,
Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
Des Moines, Iowa — Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday morning that she is suspending her bid for the White House.
"I have decided to stand aside," she said at a packed news conference Wednesday morning in West Des Moines, Iowa, at the Marriott Hotel. "Last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice."
In the same room the night before, Bachmann had been introduced as the next president of the United States.
Bachmann finished last in the Iowa caucus on Tuesday among the GOP presidential candidates who had campaigned there.
She had been predicting a caucus "miracle," saying Iowans would "come home" to her.
But the reality of the caucus returns showed no such miracle. Bachmann garnered just 5 percent of the vote statewide and didn't win a single county.
During her speech at the news conference, Bachmann said the health care reform law backed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats had moved her to seek the presidency. She said Republicans and the country now must rally around the person who can successfully defeat Obama and his health care reform law.
"It must be stopped. Its repeal is more than just a cliche for me. Obamacare violates our fundamental liberties as Americans," she said. "I'll continue to be a strong voice, I'll continue to stand and fight."
After the caucus, analysts predicted it would be tough for Bachmann to do any better in the New Hampshire or South Carolina primaries.
"She spent in inordinate amount of time in Iowa. At one time she was the front-runner. She won the Iowa Straw Poll back in August. But that was August. In January she ran basically dead-last," said Peter Brown, Assistant Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "The notion that the voters of New Hampshire or South Carolina or Florida will feel much differently is not one likely to occur."
Bachmann thanked her staff and said she was proud of her contributions to the race.
"I didn't tell you what the polls said you wanted to hear," she said. "I have no regrets — none whatsoever. We never compromised our principles."
As news reports announced Bachmann would suspend her campaign, other analysts said they weren't surprised.
"It seemed to me to be pretty much inevitable," Steven Shier, a political science professor at Carleton College, told MPR's Midmorning.
Shier said Bachmann's disappointing finish in Iowa would have made it difficult for her to raise the money needed to move forward. "[Candidates] leave the race because they don't have the money to continue, and that is certainly Michele Bachmann's situation," he said.
Bachmann has not said whether she will run for reelection in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District.
"I look forward to the next chapter in God's plan," she said. "He has always had something greater around the corner."
- Morning Edition, 01/05/2012, 6:20 a.m.
Mark Zdechlik covers politics for MPR News.
Catharine Richert covers politics for MPR News, and writes PoliGraph, a fact-checking feature that gets behind the spin in Minnesota politics.