David Strom, a Republican long involved in Minnesota politics, said it would be a mistake for Bachmann to sand down her edginess.
“She’s not a maneuverer. At the end of the day she is going to distinguish herself by going out there and trying to draw people to her. I don’t think she will try to become more nuanced as politicians tend to do,” he said.
Those who have opposed Bachmann say she doesn’t budge on her views, even in tough races.
Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg, who lost to her in a 2008 congressional race, said he was frustrated that the more controversial Bachmann came off, the stronger she seemed to get. Her comments often fuel a fundraising machine that netted her $13.5 million for her last election.
“She can say something that’s just outrageous and just completely wrong and move on and never skip a beat,” Tinklenberg said.
Given the rise of the tea party movement, there may be even less reason for her to slide toward the political middle. Tea party members are seeking purity from the GOP candidates and have reacted skeptically to those largely linked to the party power brokers, particularly Romney.
“Truthfully, she’s a hell of a lot closer to where the party is right now than where they are,” McKenna said.