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Republican debate 2011: Michele Bachmann announces presidential run

Michele Bachmann announced her intentions to run for president during the Republican debate in New Hampshire, Monday.

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Michele Bachmann (R) announced her candidacy for president during the Republican debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Monday.

Jim Cole/AP

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U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, an outspoken Republican with close ties to the conservative tea party movement, announced Monday that she is running for president, a candidacy that could further shake up a volatile fight for the party's nomination.

The first female contender to enter the 2012 race, Bachmann announced her bid during a Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire. The third-term Minnesota congresswoman has been leaning heavily toward a run over the past few months, visiting early primary states, raising money and railing against President Barack Obama.

"We cannot risk giving President Obama four more years to dismantle our nation. We must act now," Bachmann said in a fundraising letter sent within an hour of her entrance. "That's why I've made the decision to get in this race."

She brings high energy, charisma and proven fundraising ability to the race to nominate a Republican challenger to Obama. She also is known for unyielding stances, biting commentary and high-profile gaffes.

Bachmann is attempting the rare leap from the U.S. House of Representatives to the presidency.

Despite having low seniority and few policy accomplishments, she has risen to prominence in Washington in part by her frequent television appearances and willingness to attack Obama in sharp terms.

Her popularity with tea party activists and her credentials as a social conservative make her a credible threat to other candidates courting conservatives who make up the core of the Republican Party. Her impact may be felt most in Iowa, the first stop in the nomination battle and where Christian evangelicals dominate.

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