MINNEAPOLIS -- Your mission is this: Come to your home state. Find an audience of conservative activists, gathered by a Tea Party group that always brings you in to blow the doors off. And tell them that the Tea Party is a vital part of the GOP, to be listened to in respected in 2012.
Michele Bachmann had an easy job here, and she performed it brilliantly. This was her crowd, and it was already keyed in to her big applause lines.
"Make no mistake about it," said Bachmann, "Barack obama will be a --"
One! Term! President!
And why would he be? Her stump right now is a mix of the Romney competence argument -- "Obama trench of a double dip recession" -- debt panic, and a run at Obama from the left on Medicare. Other speakers blamed Obama for high gas prices, and she went there, too. But she had a more compelling Obama failure data point that strikes right at the grey matter of the conservative base voter.
"When Obama became president, gold was $940 an ounce," she said. "Today it's $1500 an ounce. Has the president failed us on keeping the soundness of the currency? You bet he has!"
She illustrated her point.
"If you have a dollar," she said, "hold it up."
Some people in the crowd did so.
"This is the reason why I have voted no on allowing Congress to borrow and spend more money. Don't fold it in half, fold it 40 percent behind. Every time Congress spends a dollar, 42 cents is borrowed money. Could you live that way? Honestly. Could you live that way for a month?" Later, she folded the dollar again. "He's devalued the worth of the dollar by 14 percent."
But then came the Medicare argument. Bachmann's case, as it was in New Orleans, is that seniors deserve to keep what is effectively a single-payer system. If the ACA is not repealed, "they'll be rolled into Obamacare. That's the future for senior citizens in this country. And nobody is telling this story." She warned them of the rationing that would come, augered by the rising costs of plans. "This is your intro to ObamaCare. You're not getting more care. This is the future for you."
"She plays well in person," one reporter confided to me, sotto voce. "She does not seem crazy."