US & Canada

US election 2012: Michele Bachmann joins race

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Media captionConservative Ms Bachmann announced her candidacy in Iowa

Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann has become the latest Republican to announce a bid for the US presidency in 2012.

Ms Bachmann, a favourite of the economically conservative Tea Party movement, formally declared in the US state of Iowa - her birthplace.

The 55-year-old, who is running high in Republican polls in Iowa, called herself a "bold choice" for president.

Iowa is the first state Republicans vote in for their 2012 candidate.

Its caucuses in early February are the first electoral event in the US presidential nomination process.

Ms Bachmann said she was announcing her candidacy because she was "so profoundly grateful for the blessing I have received, both from God and this great country".

"My name is Michele Bachmann, I stand here in the midst of many friends and many family members to announce formally my candidacy for president of the United States," she said.

'Real solutions'

Speaking in the town of Waterloo, Ms Bachmann said Americans should not stand for overpriced health care, increasing amounts of debt and continued unemployment, all of which she said were trademarks of the Obama administration.

"More than ever, Washington is the problem, and the real solutions will come from our businesses, our communities, our schools and the most basic and powerful unit of all-our families," she said.

"Americans agree that our country is in peril today and we must act with urgency to save it," Ms Bachmann added.

A poll of 400 party members there shows Ms Bachmann virtually tied with frontrunner Mitt Romney, with 22% of the support.

BBC North America editor Mark Mardell says Republicans feel that next year's presidential election is winnable if only they have a candidate who sparkles - and Michele Bachmann is the latest to catch their eye.

She is already a darling of the Tea Party movement for her plain talking and forthright conviction politics.

While she has made her share of harsh statements - seen by opponents as gaffes - some think she has many of Sarah Palin's qualities with fewer of the drawbacks, our correspondent adds.

Ms Bachmann stresses her record as a tax lawyer and founder of a charter school, as well as repeating frequently that she is a mother of five children and foster mother to 23.

She is an economic conservative who says she will not vote to raise America's debt limit and is urging big tax cuts.

And Ms Bachmann is also a social conservative - a born-again Christian and a fierce opponent of abortion and gay marriage.

That goes down well with Republicans in Iowa, but may not be such a draw to those in the middle ground, our correspondent says.

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