Tales from the Trail

Bachmann steps aside, avoids House Republican-Tea Party tussle

There will be no showdown at the GOP corral. (For now anyway).

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party potentate, decided to step out of the ring . And so evaporated the potential for a high-profile internal duel for House Republican Conference chair, the fourth highest position.

Bachmann in July started the Tea Party Caucus as the conservative movement was gaining momentum ahead of the November elections. Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives in those midterms which also brought wins to Tea Party candidates who will want to flex their muscles in the new Congress. USA-ELECTIONS/

But Bachmann’s decision has staved off what could have been high-level drama when Republicans pick their leaders next week.

(We don’t know yet whether there was any behind-the-scenes gentlepersons agreement as is often the case on Capitol Hill, or whether it was simply a realistic look at her prospects for winning).

In her statement last night, Bachmann said ”Jeb Hensarling  has my enthusiastic support” because the Texas congressman had demonstrated a commitment to limited government, reduced spending, and lower taxes — all positions promoted by the Tea Party movement.

Bachmann says her “high-profile” congressional race targeted by top Democrats

Second-term Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who started the “Tea Party Caucus” in the House of Representatives this summer, says her “high-profile” congressional race is being targeted by some very high-profile Democrats ahead of  the Nov. 2 election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set her sights on ousting her from the congressional seat,  Bachmann said. The outspoken Republican is a social conservative and is known for her strong Christian faith.  

“I’ve been one of Speaker Pelosi’s top targets to defeat this fall,” Bachmann said on NBC’s “Today” show. ”President (Bill) Clinton came in, he was campaigning against me. In a couple of weeks Speaker Pelosi will be in Minnesota as will President Obama. Mine is a very high-profile race, and she’s trying to do everything she can to defeat me.”

Castle vs. O’Donnell

USA-ELECTION/The fate of another Republican lawmaker lies in the balance Tuesday in tiny Delaware, where the insurgent Tea Party movement is hoping to pull off another big primary  upset.

This time the target is Michael Castle, a nine-term Congressman who is pursuing the  Republican Senate nomination. The GOP establishment is behind Castle, a former governor and popular moderate (and said to be a direct descendant of  Benjamin Franklin) in a race Delawareonline.com reports  “hinges on character.”

Challenger Christine O’Donnell, a marketing consultant and little-known conservative, hadn’t been considered much of a threat — until she picked up support from the Tea Party Express and endorsements from Tea Party favorites former Alaska governor  Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.

Republicans create caucus ‘to listen’ to Tea Party

There are scores of U.S. congressional caucuses that focus on specific issues — including ones to combat hunger and cancer, advance the arts, protect the environment and promote the rights of black, Asian, Hispanic and other Americans.

The conservative Tea Party movement scored a milestone on Wednesday in its drive to be heard in Washington when two dozen Republican members of the House of Representatives held the first meeting of the new Tea Party Congressional Caucus. USA-HEALTHCARE/

“We decided to form a Tea Party Caucus for one very important purpose, to listen to the concerns of the Tea Party,” Representative Michele Bachmann, chief organizer, told a Capitol Hill news conference afterward.

Tea Partiers converge on Washington to kill the (healthcare) bill

USA-HEALTHCARE/PELOSI

The rally began with an unaccompanied rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” sung to an oversized American flag hoisted aloft by a middle-aged man dressed like Captain America.

But the Marvel Comics super-hero impersonator was one of the few fringe elements on display, when about 200 Tea Party members gathered in a small grassy park in the shadow of the Capitol Dome with Washington-based organizers from conservative special-interest groups, House Republicans and, inevitably, the news media.

They had come from as far away as Texas, Michigan and Georgia for a “Kill the Bill!” rally meant to launch an 11th hour grass-roots lobbying effort to stop House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats from achieving victory for the Obama healthcare plan.