Introducing Michele Bachmann 2.0

Monday’s GOP presidential debate in Nashua, New Hampshire was the first to feature all of the major presidential candidates, plus Newt Gingrich, on one stage. The big revelation—well, other than Tim Pawlenty’s affinity for Coca Cola—is that Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is officially running for president now. Here’s the video her campaign just posted online:

That’s hardly a revelation, of course—Bachmann already announced plans to begin her campaign in Waterloo, Iowa later this month. What was noteworthy was the way she did it.

As Kevin Drum notes, there was barely a trace of the Michele Bachmann who once called for an investigation into President Obama’s anti-American agenda, or suggested that breast cancer would be an opportunity for singer Melissa Etheridge to quit being a lesbian. Sure, Bachmann suggested the Environmental Protection Agency be renamed “the job-killing agency of America,” but when you consider her previous suggestion that sustainable development is some sort of socialist plot, that actually seems kind of tame.

Bachmann said she supported the Federal Defense of Marriage Act but wouldn’t interfere in state-level same-sex marriage battles as president. She managed to hold off on dropping the kind of incendiary quotes—say, that homosexuality is a direct product of child abuse—that have been a hallmark of her political career. This was, in other words, Michele Bachmann 2.0, a less fire-breathing, more policy-oriented kind of candidate than the congresswoman that hit the tea party circuit last summer.

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  • Tim Murphy

    Tim Murphy is a senior reporter at Mother Jones. Reach him at tmurphy@motherjones.com.