Michele Bachmann: Crazy like a fox

The Minnesota congresswoman gives Sarah Palin a run for her money

"If you're looking to fire someone, you need a reason," she says of the incumbent. "She's not doing her job. She's not helping to secure Medicare, or lowering tuition, or ensuring health care for veterans. 'No' is not an answer. You have to be willing to work toward a solution."

Thanks to Bachmann's full rotation as a Worst Person in the World on MSNBC's Countdown, Reed now boasts $310,000 cash in hand, and raised $134,935 in the third quarter. For her part, Clark raked in $308,000 in the first nine weeks alone. Both challengers have outpaced Tinklenberg's 2007 fundraising efforts—a latecomer to the race, he had raised $133,000 by this point last election cycle.

Meanwhile, all the television appearances and controversy-mongering are paying dividends for Bachmann as well. She's raised more money from individuals than any of the other eight sitting Minnesota representatives—85 percent of her $800,000, according to data compiled by Smart Politics.

One thing both her detractors and supporters agree on: As Bachmann's national prominence rises, so too do the chances of her pursuing higher office.

"I was kinda surprised she took a pass on taking a shot at the governor's mansion this go-round," says Bill Pulkrabek, her former district manager. "She's got rock-star status in our party. I wouldn't be surprised if she ran for Senate or governor down the road."

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