Michele Bachmann officially enters the 2012 field

Amanda Carey Contributor
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Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann officially announced her presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, Monday morning. It was a departure from the bomb-throwing Bachmann America has come to know. Instead, the congresswoman entered the field with a much softer, nostalgic tone.

“Let us always remember there is so much more that unites us as a nation than divides us,” she said at one point, adding that the country’s problems don’t have an identity in either party. (Is Tim Pawlenty a second-tier candidate?)

In her speech, Bachmann managed to cover everything from the American dream, to big government, to US troops overseas, to life when a gallon of gas was 30 cents. She also clearly identified her main campaign strategy: Iowa.

Though Bachmann has lived in Minnesota for decades and represents the state in the US House of Representatives, she referenced her Iowan roots numerous times during her roughly 30-minute speech.

The congresswoman talked about her “Iowa roots” being “firmly planted” in Waterloo. She also said that her “Iowa roots” and faith are what guide her, that her family has spent “generations” in Iowa, that she “knows what it means to be from Iowa,” and that she “learned everything I know” from growing up in Iowa.

At one point, Bachmann, who lived in Iowa until the 6th grade, said “I remember being so sad when my mother told me we were moving to Minnesota.”

So far, her strategy that appears to be working. Bachmann finished a shockingly close second place in the Des Moines Register Iowa poll over the weekend. She and Mitt Romney were statistically tied, with the former Massachusetts governor polling at 23 percent while the congresswoman took 22 percent.

Bachmann focused much of the rest of her speech on nostalgic memories of life five decades ago, the need to return to the America the Founders envisioned, and the need to rein in big government.