Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's tour of early voting states continues to fuel speculation that she'll jump into the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but the congresswoman remains tight-lipped about her plans.
Bachmann hit two morning shows Tuesday from Manchester, New Hampshire--the first-in-the-nation primary state she's been traversing since Sunday--where she set herself up in perhaps the clearest terms to date as a direct challenger to President Obama.
"The real comparison that I make is with Barack Obama and myself, and I think that's a very positive comparison," Bachmann said on "Fox & Friends."
"I am completely different than President Barack Obama. I created and ran a successful business. I'm a federal tax litigation attorney. ... We have a wide berth of experience that I can bring to this, and that's the comparison that I make. Because after all, that's what's going to count in 2012. Who will be the candidate that will create American-made jobs, and who can turn the economy around. The president has failed," she added.
Late last week Bachmann made political stops in her home state of Iowa, which will host its early caucuses in February. The congresswoman will also make a trip to South Carolina, another key primary state, before heading back to Waterloo, Iowa to declare officially whether she's in or out.
Bachmann has played coy about the timing of that announcement, saying nobody will know until "next month"--which is Wednesday.
Meanwhile, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has also increased her visibility in key voting states, departing Washington, D.C. Monday on her "One Nation" tour of American heritage sites. The trip, which Palin insists is not a political venture, concludes in New Hampshire next week.
Bachmann said she and Palin are friends, both Tea Party darlings who campaigned together in 2010, and would support a Palin run for the GOP nod.
"I think the more candidates that are in the race, the better," Bachmann said.
"And I think it's great if she can garner attention on her bus tour, especially if she's pointing to our early American fights [like] Gettysburg and the sites she's going to," she added.
In or out, Bachmann said she holds her GOP colleagues in high esteem going into next year's general election.
"I have no doubt that Republicans will field a wide, well-qualified bench to go against Barack Obama in 2012," she said. "We have to have a change; Barack Obama has to be a one term president."