MANCHESTER, N.H. — Chris Matthews’ nightmare is coming true.
Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman and Tea Party favorite that the MSNBC host devotes countless hours to complaining about on air, announced during Monday’s CNN debate that she is planning to run for president.
Even though she was slated to participate in Monday’s debate, she was not a candidate yet, and hadn’t even filed papers to form an exploratory committee. She had begun hiring staff and making moves indicative of someone who is preparing to do so.
She said during the debate that she plans to make a formal announcement soon. In an interview after the debate, a campaign aide for Bachmann said she plans to announce within the end of the month.
Pollster Ed Goeas said Bachmann went ahead and announced her candidacy in an unorthodox way by doing it during a debate because she had made her mind up about running and “didn’t want to play any games.”
Judson Phillips, who leads the Tennessee-based group Tea Party nation, said he views Bachmann pulling from two pools, Tea Partiers and evangelicals. He said she “looked presidential” at the debate.
“Her competition is Herman Cain for the Tea Party vote and Santorum for the evangelical vote,” he said.
She would also face competition from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, if Palin would join the race.
“She clearly belonged up there,” said Alice Stewart, an aide to Bachmann’s campaign. “She knew very well the issues that are important to the people of this country.”