First Pawlenty, then Bachmann see exit door in Iowa

Bachmann in Oskaloosa, Iowa, in August

Iowans like it when they swipe the football trophy Floyd of Rosedale from Minnesota, they make jokes about Minnesota and, apparently, Hawkeye State residents enjoy showing Minnesota politicians the door.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped out of the Republican presidential race this morning, less than five months after fellow Minnesotan former Gov. Tim Pawlenty set aside his presidential ambitions a half hour’s drive north of where Bachmann delivered a 10-minute speech today.

Bachmann made the decision early today after winning just 5 percent of the Iowa caucus vote Tuesday, a day when former U.S. Rep. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania surprised many by coming eight votes short of tying former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the country’s first presidential caucus.

Bachmann failed to win a single county, including Black Hawk, where she was raised.

While late Tuesday she vowed to continue her campaign, early today she decided to abandon the effort and canceled a campaign swing through the primary state of South Carolina.

“The people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice and I have decided to stand aside,” she said in a statement she read in West Des Moines.

While sounded more subdued than during her Iowa campaign, Bachmann continued to show spark even after several grueling months.

“I will continue to fight to defeat the president’s agenda of socialism,” she pledged, mentioning many conservative issues that she will support.

President Barack Obama’s health-care reforms “endanger the very survival of our republic,” Bachmann said. “2012 is our last chance and our only chance to repeal Obamacare.”

“I ran because I believe since Day 1 Barack Obama’s policies based on socialism are destructive to the very foundations of the republic.”

After Bachmann read her statement, she hugged her husband and left the podium, taking no questions including ones from Minnesota reporters about whether she will seek re-election to her U.S. House seat in a district that stretches across the northern Twin Cities area west to St. Cloud.

Members of a Minnesota-based conservative women’s group were sad to see Bachmann go.

“Congresswoman Bachmann is a leader,” said Voices of Conservative Women President Jennifer DeJournett. “We were proud to see her break yet another barrier for women in politics. Congresswoman Bachmann never failed to make her voice heard on the issues she cared about and fought to defend.”

Bachmann’s departure resembled that of Pawlenty, who left the president race on Aug. 14, the day after Bachmann won a major straw poll in Ames, Iowa, and he finished third.

“The audience, so to speak, was looking for something different,” Pawlenty said in an ABC-TV interview that he used to announce his decision.

Later, when he returned to Minnesota, he said that his campaign was out of money and he regretted decisions that force him to quit.

While Iowans were dispatching Minnesota politicians, the bright note for the North Star state is that it maintains possession of Floyd of Rosedale after the University of Minnesota upset Iowa last fall.

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