Exclusive: President Michele Bachmann?
Sources: Tea Party favorite is mulling a presidential bid in 2012.
Jan. 5, 2011 — -- Forget the fervent chatter speculating that Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann is considering launching a campaign to challenge Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the Minnesota U.S. Senate seat in the next national election cycle. Think bigger.
ABC News has learned that Bachmann, R-Minn., also is seriously weighing whether to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.
A source close to the three-term congresswoman said Bachmann will travel to Iowa this month for multiple meetings to seek advice from political forces there and party elders close to the caucus process before coming to a final decision regarding a potential presidential run.
Bachmann, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, also is set to deliver a keynote speech at an Iowans for Tax Relief PAC fundraiser Jan. 21 in Des Moines, Iowa.
According to an invitation to the fundraiser obtained by ABC News, tickets cost $25 per person or $40 per couple, and donors are able enhance their standing by coughing up $1,000 to become an honorary "host" or by donating $250 to become a "watchdog." Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the Iowans for Tax Relief PAC, a political action committee working to elect pro-taxpayer Iowa legislators.
Bachmann's appearance in the Hawkeye State later this month will be her third trip over the past eight months to the significant early-caucus state, and last week she was featured at another GOP fundraiser in Michigan -- also an early primary state.
Although aides in Bachmann's congressional office said she has received frequent encouragement from supporters to challenge President Obama next year, they would not confirm quite yet that she officially was throwing her hat into the ring.
However, Bachmann's senior staff did admit the Minnesotan is not ruling out a presidential campaign.
"Nothing is off the table," Bachmann chief of staff Andy Parrish told ABC News when asked whether the Iowa trip signaled Bachmann's intent to run for president. "The congresswoman is excited about her first trip to Iowa this year."