Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Bachmann'Real Housewives' producer 'begging' Conway to join cast Ex-rep admires furs amid PETA inaugural gala Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog MORE (R-Minn.) said she doesn't consider Sarah Palin a political "competitor" as both consider bids for the Republican presidential nomination.
Bachmann, a Tea Party darling who appears likely to enter the 2012 race, said she considers the former Alaska governor (who has embarked on a bus tour that's stoked speculation about her own possible campaign for president) a friend, not a foe.
"I compare myself to Barack ObamaBarack ObamaOMB director: Government shutdown not a 'desired end' US to step up support for Saudis, says Pentagon chief Five things to watch in France's election MORE, not any other of the Republican candidates," Bachmann said in an interview on "Good Morning America" on ABC. "First of all, I want to say that I like Sarah Palin a lot; we're friends. And I don't consider her a competitor; I consider her a friend."
Conventional wisdom has held that Palin and Bachmann are likely to appeal to and compete for the same voters in the GOP primary electorate. Both women were early allies of the Tea Party movement and have distinguished themselves by way of their strident criticism of President Obama.
The two are so well-aligned politically that Palin made a campaign trail appearance last year on Bachmann's behalf in Minnesota.
"What do you say, Minnesota?" Palin asked Bachmann supporters at a rally last April. "Will you do the rest of the nation a favor and reelect Michele Bachmann?"
If both Republicans do enter the race, it could put them in an awkward situation, especially since Palin's star power could well eclipse the Minnesota congresswoman. But Bachmann said there's plenty of room for candidates, not just herself and Palin.
"I think there's enough room for a lot of contenders," she said. "And I think there's no question that in 2012, the Republicans will field a wide bench of contenders against President Obama. And I think the comparisons will be very favorable."