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Michele Bachmann's narrow win at last weekend's Iowa straw poll crowned her the unofficial Republican frontrunner in the early presidential caucus state. But with that momentum comes greater scrutiny.
Just three days after the Ames poll, Bachmann faces fallout from not one, but two, potentially damaging stories in which the candidate was caught not quite telling the truth.
On Sunday, Bachmann irked Republican voters in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, when she showed up late to a party fundraising dinner. Politico's Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin noted that Bachmann delayed her arrival on stage, even though she had been already introduced, as staffers fussed about stage lighting.
While this was happening, Bachmann wasn't shaking hands or mingling with potential Iowa voters, as rivals Rick Perry and Rick Santorum--who were also on hand--did. Rather she was "camped out" in her bus, according to Politico, and the crowd was, in turn, puzzled by her absence and her seeming unwillingness to step out of her campaign bubble.
When she arrived on stage, Bachmann explained her tardiness by saying she had been at a family reunion. But the candidate's own mother and two cousins told Politico's Emily Schultheis in a follow-up report last night that Bachmann actually hadn't shown up to the reunion--a discrepancy that the Minnesota lawmaker's campaign has so far declined to explain. (UPDATE: A Bachmann spokeswoman confirms her boss skipped the reunion but defended the remark, saying her boss was meeting with other family members.)
On its own, the story is puzzling, but perhaps not as much of a deal breaker for potential Bachmann supporters as the perception that her interactions with voters are becoming more limited.
Meanwhile, the candidate was caught in another fib yesterday, this time about whether she had received income from a family farm that had taken government subsidies in the past.
Bachmann, who has been a critic of agriculture subsidies, has repeatedly insisted that she has "never gotten a penny of money" from a farm previously owned by her father-in-law, who passed on the property to her and her husband when he died in 2009.
But as the Los Angeles Times' Kim Geiger reports, Bachmann's personal financial disclosure forms filed with the House of Representatives show she's received between $37,504 and $120,000 in income from the farm since 2006--including between $5,001 and $15,000 in 2010. (Congressional financial disclosures don't require lawmakers to file exact totals, but rather ranges of income and net worth.)
Alice Stewart, a spokeswoman for Bachmann, told the Times that Bachmann and her husband are "limited minority partners" of the farm.