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The Changing Fates of Michele Bachmann

Yahoo Contributor Network

Maybe Chris Matthews had a point.

Since her minor upset win in the Ames Straw Poll, Michele Bachmann has fallen almost completely off the GOP radar. Six weeks after her triumph, Bachmann finished last in the Florida straw poll. Naturally, she dismissed her poor result. "We put our effort and our money and our time here in Iowa in the straw poll because this straw poll in Iowa was crucial," Bachmann said. "We told all of our supporters in Florida that they were free to vote for anyone else that we wanted because we weren't participating."

Putting aside the fact this straw poll has successfully predicted the eventual GOP presidential nominee three out of three times, this strategy doesn't make a lot of sense. The high-profile departures of two key campaign staffers (including manager Ed Rollins, a guy that knows a thing or two about Republican politics) did not help her public image.

Gov. Rick Perry's entrance into the race stole a large amount of Bachmann's thunder. Another victory in a straw poll would have gone a long way to righting her campaign ship. Even a strong showing would have been something to cheer. But dead last?

Many are now openly wondering if Bachmann is the next major candidate to go. At a recent campaign stop in Iowa, Bachmann wrapped herself in the legacy of Ronald Reagan and trumpeted her tea party bona fides to all of the 35 people that showed up in a hotel ballroom to hear her speak.

One recent poll put her support at only 7 percent, compared to 23 percent for Perry and 16 percent for Mitt Romney. Her own advisers are openly saying the Iowa caucuses are a "must-win" for Bachmann to remain in the race.

Those caucuses are four months away. With her poll numbers sliding, her penchant for putting her foot in her mouth and her depleted campaign coffers, the real question is whether or not she'll make it that long.

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