On a temporary stage in a Raymond, New Hampshire backyard, Michele Bachmann brought her nascent presidential campaign to the first in the nation primary state Tuesday morning.
In front of a crowd of about 200 people Bachmann led the crowd in a chant of "Live Free or Die," the state motto of New Hampshire, before launching into "Barack Obama is a one term president."
Despite recent bumps in the campaign trail, Bachmann appeared poised and confident under blue skies and a hot summer sun, playfully noting the lack of teleprompters and saying when she's president they'll be banned from the White House - a dig at President Obama who constantly relies on them to deliver speeches.
Playing to her Tea Party roots, she regaled the faithful with tales of runaway spending on Capitol Hill, telling a story about the House of Representatives voting for foreign aid to help cats and dogs and noting other cases of wasteful spending at a time the American economy was collapsing.
The latest polls in Iowa show her in a statistical dead heat with front runner Mitt Romney. But while Bachmann was announcing her campaign in Waterloo, Iowa yesterday Romney was campaigning in New Hampshire where he has a commanding double digit lead.
"I think she's a very strong contender," said Romney, adding "she's an excellent candidate, she's getting her message across and receiving good support. I have nothing but respect for her."
Whether the conservative message driving her poll numbers in the Hawkeye state will translate to support in the Granite State remains to be seen. Today's Boston Herald had a front page banner headline reading 'Move Over Sarah' calling Bachmann the Tea Party's 'new star.'
She's no stranger in New Hampshire having participated in the recent GOP debate, but that event competed against the 6th game of the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup campaign and most voters were tuned into hockey and not politics.
"She's doing better here than she was prior to the debate," said Andy Smith, Director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, "but Romney is still the clear frontrunner."