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Why did Michele Bachmann's campaign crater?

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Eric Gay/AP

(Read caption) Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) of Minnesota, speaks to supporters and media during a campaign stop, Monday in West Des Moines, Iowa.

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What happened to Michele Bachmann? Not too long ago – OK, last August – she was a hot item in GOP politics. She won the Ames, Iowa, straw poll that month, and was on every big Sunday talk show in the nation days later.

She seemed tough, and substantive, with a North Country twang – a Sarah Palin who could talk about tax policy and who was actually running. Maybe she wouldn’t win, but it looked like she would be a force in the coming campaign.

Now Representative Bachmann is heading back to Minnesota after a disastrous finish in the Iowa caucuses. On Wednesday she announced at a press conference that she was officially dropping out of the race.

"I have decided to stand aside ... I have no regrets," she said.

In the end, Bachmann may have raised her profile, and become a national figure, but her candidacy cratered like a rock tossed off a New Hampshire cliff.

What were her problems? Here are a few:

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