Jan 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Michele Bachmann told a small group of supporters Tuesday night that she's staying in the presidential race as the only true conservative who can defeat the sitting president, despite a bleak showing in the Iowa caucuses.
The Minnesota congresswoman was running in last place among six candidates as returns came in from the nation's first Republican presidential nominating contest.
"I believe that I am that true conservative who can and who will defeat Barack Obama in 2012," she said. "What we need is a fearless conservative, one with no compromises on their record on spending on health care, on crony capitalism, on defending America, on standing with our ally Israel."
Shortly before Bachmann spoke, her campaign manager suggested she might leave the race. Asked if he could say with certainty whether she would go forward with her candidacy, Bachmann campaign manager Keith Nahigian told The Associated Press in a telephone interview, "I don't know yet."
Nahigian added, "It's hard to tell, but everything is planned."
But shortly thereafter Nahigian said she was going "full steam" ahead.
Bachmann's showing was a sharp turn after she finished in first place in the Iowa GOP's summer straw poll. Coincidentally, her campaign bus took her past Ames, the site of her August triumph, as the dismal caucus results were rolling in.
"I'm disappointed with what happened in Iowa," said her state campaign chairman, Brad Zaun. "I think you move on. Iowa is one state."