Bachmann: ‘No plan to run for president’

Greg Nash

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Conservative firebrand Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said Wednesday that she has “no plan” to launch another presidential campaign in 2016.

{mosads}Bachmann, who is retiring from Congress at the end of this year, told The Hill in an interview that running for president in 2012 was enough.

“I have no plan to run for president in 2016,” Bachmann said.

“I was so honored to be able to do it in 2012. It was really one of the greatest experiences in my life. But I think the men who run will tell you too, it’s one of the most difficult things you ever [embark] upon,” Bachmann added.

Earlier this year, she hinted that she might run for president again, even though she’s not frequently mentioned as a candidate.

“The only thing that the media has speculated on is that it’s going to be various men that are running,” the Minnesota Republican told RealClearPolitics in July. “They haven’t speculated, for instance, that I’m going to run. What if I decide to run? And there’s a chance I could run.”

Asked if she had changed her mind since then, Bachmann insisted that she had merely made a “rhetorical comment” when asked about the lack of potential female Republican presidential candidates in 2016.

“Oh, no, no, no. Not at all. No. The context of my remarks were that they were suggesting that no woman would be running for president on the Republican side, and I said, ‘Well, I’m an obvious choice,’ ” Bachmann said. “So, that was the nexus of my remarks: Who knows, maybe I’ll run. It wasn’t that I was going to. It was just a rhetorical comment.”

She briefly surged in the polls in 2011 and won the Iowa Straw Poll. But her campaign fizzled afterward, and she came in a disappointing sixth place in the Iowa caucuses.

The Minnesota Republican said that having a woman on either presidential ticket shouldn’t be prioritized over a compelling policy alternative.

“I think the issue isn’t gender so much as it is ideas. That’s what people are looking for,” Bachmann said.

She also denied that the Republican presidential field lacked diversity, noting that she was part of a 2012 GOP presidential field that also included Herman Cain, an African-American.

“We had people on the stage that demonstrated diversity,” Bachmann said.

She argued that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be viewed as an extension of President Obama’s administration.

“If Mrs. Clinton is running in 2016, she will effectively be the ideas that would be Barack Obama’s third and fourth term for president,” Bachmann said.

During a farewell speech at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday, Bachmann indicated she wouldn’t be leaving the political scene despite her departure from Capitol Hill. She urged Republicans to “go bold” if they win both chambers of Congress in this year’s elections and consider proposals like reforming the tax code and allowing the Export-Import Bank to expire.

“You either go bold, or you don’t go at all,” Bachmann said. “If you want somebody to lead the debate, I’ll lead the debate.”

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