Michele Bachmann made her name in Minnesota politics by working hard to pass an amendment to the state constitution to keep gay people from getting married. Now gay activists won't let her forget it. In her presidential campaign, Bachmann is tweaking her image, The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports, presenting herself as a fiscally responsible deficit-cutter. Her first campaign ad doesn't even mention social issues. But her days as a culture warrior weren't that long ago--2004 appears to be the peak of her activism against the "personal enslavement" of "sexual anarchy." The issue keeps following her. Next year's Exodus International "ex-gay" convention will be held in St. Paul, in the home state of Bachmann and her husband, who runs a clinic that turns gays straight. And GOProud, a gay Republican group controversial within the party, has requested a meeting with Bachmann, Yahoo's Chris Moody reports.
Meanwhile, Politico's Ben Smith reports that gay rights groups are now using Bachmann to energize the ranks. "Michele Bachmann is the very definition of a target-rich environment, and given her husband's positions and things she's said in past she's going to have a really hard time appearing as a reasonable mainstream candidate," Michael Cole-Schwartz of the Human Rights Campaign told Smith.
But it would be a mistake to think Bachmann ought not to be concerned about her association with gay issues. Bachmann’s success to date has been the product of her strong stands on fiscal issues and a sunny, upbeat personality that has charmed many Republicans who hadn’t known much about her before the last few months...But, even after a victory in Iowa, if the increasing media focus on the gay issue is what is most associated with her in the public mind, it will become a major problem in the later big state primaries and possible derail her long shot hopes of winning the nomination.