Michele Bachmann has long bolstered her family values bona fides in political campaigns with the story of how she and her husband Marcus raised 23 foster children along with their five biological kids.
Now she's explaining why they took on the challenge -- but again in the context of helping her political ambitions.[jump]
On Wednesday night in South Carolina, she told a roomful of admirers about a miscarriage she had years ago, and its impact:
"At that moment, we didn't think of ourselves as overly career-minded or overly materialistic, but when we lost that child, it changed us, and it changed us forever," she said. "We made a commitment that no matter how many children were brought into our life, we would receive them because we are committed to life."
Raising five biological children, let alone 23 foster kids, is no easy thing. Neither is talking about a miscarriage. But these kinds of personal testaments are staples of the anti-abortion rights movement.
Sarah Palin gives speeches about how she considered having an abortion after learning that her baby Trig would be born with Down Syndrome, and she's happy to use Trig as a prop in photo ops.
And former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum has no qualms talking about how his wife carried a baby to term, even though doctors knew the baby had no chance of survival outside the womb. She and his wife took the dead infant to her parents' home and introduced him to the other three small Santorum siblings, while singing songs and taking pictures.
To some folks, the retelling of these kinds of intensely personal stories for political gain might sound mawkish and tasteless. But for politicians like Bachmann, it helps separate them from anti-abortion flip-floppers like GOP front runner Mitt Romney.
The former Massachusetts governor may talk the anti-abortion talk, but Bachmann is showing she can walk the walk.