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5 Things You May Not Know About Michele Bachmann

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann speaks at <em>The Gift of Life</em> movie premiere in Des Moines on Wednesday night.
Jim Young
Reuters /Landov
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann speaks at The Gift of Life movie premiere in Des Moines on Wednesday night.

She was born Michele Amble. Her parents divorced when she was young. She studied political science and literature in college and was a student volunteer for Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign for president.

When she graduated from Winona State University, she married Marcus Bachmann. She got a law degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., and another degree in tax law from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. For several years she was a tax litigation attorney with the Internal Revenue Service.

Then she turned her attention to raising her children. Over the years she and Marcus had five children of their own and brought 23 more foster children into their home in Stillwater, Minn.

In 2000, Michele Bachmann was elected to the Minnesota state Senate. In 2006 she became the first Republican woman from Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Since then, she has led a highly visible, vocally patriotic life speaking out for free markets, tax reform and the sanctity of the family and against the federal rescue of Wall Street financial institutions, "Obamacare" and same-sex marriage. She is a champion of the Tea Party. But there may be a few things you don't know about Bachmann:

1. She met her husband on a playground. Michele and her husband, Marcus, met when they were students at Winona State University. According to a 2007 profile in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, they both had jobs as playground supervisors at an elementary school near the college.

2. She received the Republican Party's endorsement in 1999 — for school board. When the Republican Party backed Bachmann — and four other candidates — for the Stillwater school board, many people were surprised, saying they could never remember a school board election being a partisan event, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. The shift "has opponents fuming that political-party endorsements in nonpartisan school board races are unseemly." Bachmann and the others lost.

3. She wore gloves to a fight. When Bachmann was running for an open House seat in 2006, President George W. Bush "needled her for wearing scalloped pink gloves" during a campaign visit, according to The New York Times. Bachmann said Bush told her, "When you campaign, take off the gloves."

4. She has had stay-out-of-jail training. As a newly elected representative in 2006, Bachmann told The New York Times that she spent her first days on Capitol Hill in freshman orientation learning "how to hire a chief of staff, how to hire other staff, how to stay out of jail ... the usual things that congressmen need to know."

5. She loves Israel. In December 2006, Bachmann made a presentation to the Minnesota chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition at a celebration of her initial election to Congress. "I'm a member and I was there," recalls longtime Bachmann observer Scott W. Johnson, a Minneapolis lawyer and contributor to the Power Line blog. "Following her graduation from high school, Rep. Bachmann spent the summer working on a kibbutz in Israel. That's a claim I've never heard a gentile make. Her love of Israel is genuine and long-standing."

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Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.