Michele Bachmann says farewell to Congress, but not politics


U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is winding up her eight years in Congress this month, and although she won't be in office anymore, it's very likely she'll remain active in politics.

Bachmann, a Republican who has represented Minnesota's 6th Congressional District for the past four terms, decided not to seek re-election this year. Republican Tom Emmer won election in November and will succeed her in Congress when the new session convenes in early January.

Bachmann has made the media rounds doing farewell interviews, and she appeared last week at what is likely to be her last political rally as a member of Congress, according to MPR News.

She spoke to the crowd in opposition to President Obama's recent executive action to grant temporary work permits to five million unauthorized immigrants.

Her political influence

Bachmann has had a high profile during much of her tenure, as a vocal critic of Democratic policies, and sometimes of her own party's policies. But she was often criticized for making statements that either stretched the truth or were found to be outright false.

Her brand of strident Tea Party conservatism will likely continue to influence the national political debate for years to come, according to Larry Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota.

"I don't think she leaves behind a traditional legacy in terms of monuments and buildings," Jacobs told the Associated Press. "I think she showed again and again her ability to mobilize new forces in politics."

Bachmann told MPR she has no regrets about her time in Congress.

"I've given it absolutely everything for eight years and done the best I possibly could, and now it's time to start another phase," she said. "I don't look back, I look forward."

Her next steps

What she's looking forward to is remaining in the thick of the national political debate.

"I think I'll be involved in media," she told MPR News. "I'll be involved in speaking nationally around the country. Probably writing a book ... also be involved in helping get candidates elected."

Bachmann said she also wants to play a role in the 2016 presidential election, to make the voices of Republican women heard, she told the Associated Press. That's especially important, she said, because of the expected candidacy of Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Bachmann ran for president herself in the last cycle, but dropped out after coming in sixth in the Iowa Republican caucuses.

"I occupy a very unique space," she said. "I am the only woman who has been in presidential debates on the Republican ticket."

Bachmann's list of legislative accomplishments is short; her biggest was the approval of the new $700 million bridge over the St. Croix River which will connect her district with western Wisconsin.

She told the Associated Press she is also proud of her work on adoption and foster care issues. One of her last official trips as a member of Congress was to an orphanage in Haiti over Thanksgiving.

Her lighter side

Bachmann is also having a little bit of fun on her farewell "tour."

She recently posted a list on BuzzFeed.com of the 16 things she'll miss most about Congress. Among them:

  • Friendly chats with Nancy Pelosi (shown in the photo above)
  • Palling around with the president
  • MSNBC's even-handed reporting
  • Fierce hot-dish competitions and other Minnesota delegation events

Bachmann's office posted a short video last week of her rapping a few lines from the 2012 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hit, “Thrift Shop.” One of her staffers, who was doing the recording, can be heard saying, "after you retire, we'll post it." Here it is:

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