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Did Michele Bachmann fight her way back into the GOP race?

Michele Bachmann came out swinging in Thursday night's Republican debate. She landed repeated blows on Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, (R) of Minnesota at the Republican presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, Pool)

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Going into Thursday night’s Fox News Republican debate, the expectation was that Mitt Romney would finally go after Newt Gingrich, the new frontrunner in the polls. But the shots fired in last night’s debate didn’t come from Mitt … but from Michele Bachmann

Bachmann determinedly inserted herself into the debate by relentlessly attacking the former House Speaker (and smartly buying herself extra airtime by demanding she be allowed to respond to perceived counterattacks). She also got into it with Ron Paul on the issue of Iran. And in both cases, she landed some real blows. 

Bachmann went after Gingrich hard over his work for mortgage giant Freddie Mac, saying he took $1.6 million to influence senior Republicans “to keep the scam going.” When he responded by saying “that’s just not true,” she went right back at him, pointing out that Politifact has backed her charges (though actually, they had backed a different line of attack - her accusation in the last debate that Gingrich had once supported an individual mandate - but nevermind…), and repeating that that kind of “influence peddling” is simply lobbying by another name.

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