In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Michele Bachmann Declares Her Candidacy Mid-Debate

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Newscom

Observers credited Bachmann with a strong performance early on in the debate. She was particularly animated on a question from a self-described "mainstream Republican" running State Senate in New Hampshire on how candidates would treat non-Tea Party GOP voters.

"What I've seen is, unlike how the media has tried to wrongly and grossly portray the Tea Party, the Tea Party is really made up of disaffected Democrats, independents. ... It's a wide swath of American coming together and I think that's why the left fears it so much."