Michele Bachmann Drops Out of Presidential Race

Chris Carlson/AP Photo

Rep. Michele Bachmann suspended her presidential campaign after placing sixth in Tuesday's Iowa Republican caucuses, she announced today.

"Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, so I have decided to stand aside," Bachmann said at a news conference, flanked by her parents, husband and five children. "I have no regrets, none whatsoever. We never compromised our principles and we can leave this race knowing we ran it with the utmost integrity."

Bachmann said she will continue to fight the policies of President Obama, particularly his health care legislation, calling the 2012 election "the last chance to turn our country around, before we go down the road of socialism."

She said she was motivated to stop Obama and not by a thirst for power. "Though I'm a congresswoman by title, a politician I've never been. … I'm not motivated by vanity, glory or the quest for power."

Bachmann had staked her candidacy on Iowa, the state in which she was born and raised. In September, campaign manager Keith Nahigian called Iowa a "must win" state.

Bachmann placed last out of the six candidates competing here in Tuesday's first-in-the-nation caucuses, receiving only 5 percent of the vote and losing in Waterloo, the town where she was born.

Iowa became the backdrop of her presidential bid when in June she announced her candidacy in her hometown of Waterloo.

It became the springboard for her stint, albeit short-lived, as the GOP front-runner after she secured the top spot at the Ames Straw Poll in August.

And today it became the insurmountable hurdle that ended her run for the White House after she finished dead last among the GOP candidates competing in the Iowa caucuses.

Bachmann, a three-term congresswoman from Minnesota, emerged on the national political scene riding the wave of Tea Party activism. As the founder of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, Bachmann's socially conservative, family-oriented approach initially captured the support of staunch conservatives and evangelical Christians.

Bachmann, 55, has five children of her own and has taken in 23 foster children.

She supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman and opposes abortion under any circumstances. She came under fire in June after a gay patient treated at the C hristian counseling center Bachmann and her husband own told ABC News that the clinic tried to "pray the gay away" using so-called reparative therapy.

She also took some heat after implying that the HPV vaccine, which rival candidate Rick Perry mandated as Texas governor, could cause mental retardation in young girls, a claim the American Academy of Pediatrics said had "absolutely no scientific validity."

When it comes to the economy, which the majority of voters say is their No. 1 issue this cycle, Bachmann touts her experience as a "federal tax litigation attorney," a.k.a. tax evasion prosecutor for the IRS.

Her tax code tag line is often that every American should pay at least some income taxes, rather than just 47 percent who currently pay them. Bachmann says that broadening the tax base will pay for tax breaks for high-income earners.

Bachmann's 11-point jobs and tax proposal, the "American Jobs, Right Now" blueprint, also calls for ending taxes on repatriated profits and expanding domestic energy production.

She claimed that Texas Gov. Rick Perry's flat-tax plan, which he announced in October, is an "imitation" of her plan.

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; thank you Gov. Perry for using my ideas for your tax plan," Bachmann posted on her Facebook wall shortly after Perry announced his plan.

After a similarly poor showing at the Iowa caucuses, Perry said Tuesday night that he will take a few days off to "determine if there is a path forward for myself in this race."

By Wednesday morning, as Bachmann was announcing the end of her campaign, Perry hinted on Twitter that he will stay the course through South Carolina.

"And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State," Perry tweeted today. "Here we come South Carolina."