Monday is a big day for the presidential race, with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) set to officially launch her presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, the town where she was born, at 9 a.m. CT -- well, launching her campaign after she had already participated in a debate, announced her candidacy at that debate, and was also welcomed at a rally in Waterloo Sunday evening, addressing more than 700 people.
Bachmann now enters the race in a position that much of conventional wisdom would not have expected: As a top-tier candidate, running in a dead heat with Mitt Romney in the latest Iowa polling.
Before she launched her campaign, Bachmann had been saying that she would announce her 2012 decision in Waterloo. Instead came the announcement during the debate two weeks ago, followed that night by a pre-recorded video announcement on YouTube. With that said, she's now making it up with Monday's kickoff in Waterloo -- on top of Sunday night's "Welcome Back to Waterloo" event that was advertised on local radio Friday.
Bachmann has already been making a splash in the race, attacking frontrunner Mitt Romney on abortion, and possibly already starting to emerge as a major threat to him -- especially if Sarah Palin does not run. (And of course, she has also had some of her signature blatant errors of fact of history.) So a key thing to look out for is how this national Tea Party movement star pitches her candidacy today -- as a positive, favorite daughter of Iowa, or a fire-breathing conservative activists, or perhaps all at once.