Rep. Michele Bachmann Touts Iowa Straw Poll Win

Says she can compete with new entry Texas Gov. Rick Perry on national stage.

ByABC News
August 14, 2011, 11:20 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2011— -- Fresh off of her victory in the Iowa Straw Poll, Rep. Michele Bachmann said today she has broader appeal beyond a Tea Party and social conservative base, and that she can compete on a national stage with other Republican candidates and with President Barack Obama.

"Everywhere I've gone, all across Iowa, there isn't an event that I do that I don't have people come up who say that, 'Michele, I'm a Democrat, and I'm voting for you,' 'I'm an independent, and I'm voting for you,'" Bachmann said on "This Week." "And I think it's because I'm talking about what people really care about, and that's turning the economy around and job creation.

"I think what people see in me is that I'm a real person. I'm authentic," Bachmann said. "And they want someone who's going to go to Washington and represent their values. ... That's really what you saw here in Iowa in the straw poll yesterday. You saw a big message sent to Washington."

Bachmann took first place Saturday in the straw poll, with 28 percent of the nearly 17,000 votes cast. That was enough to beat close challenger Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who finished with 27 percent of the vote.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty finished a distant third at 13 percent, more than 2,500 votes behind Bachmann, leading him to drop out of the race. Bachmann wished Pawlenty well, saying he had been a "very good competitor."

"I have great respect for the governor," Bachmann said. "We've known each other for a long, long time. And he brought a really important voice into this race."

The straw poll is an early test of organizational strength and voter support, and since 1987, the first or second-place finisher has gone on to win the Iowa Caucus. Bachmann said her campaign will try to build on the win to move forward as a national campaign.

"I think every day going forward we'll take a look at what's happening with strategy, but our main strategy is to win. Obama is my strategy," Bachmann said. "I intend to be the nominee of the Republican Party and to take him on and to defeat him in 2012."