Values Voter Summit: Michele Bachmann Sees the Future

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 7 2011 7:38 PM

Values Voter Summit: Michele Bachmann Sees the Future

At 7:03 p.m., the text of Michele Bachmann's speech to the Values Voter Summit flitted into my inbox. It began:

Washington, D.C. - Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann spoke from the heart to a standing-room only crowd at the Values Voter Summit hosted by the Family Research Council in Washington D.C.

At 7:37 p.m., the speech hadn't happened yet. In Bachmann's defense, the room is pretty full.

UPDATE 8:00: Not quite standing room only, though.

Bachmann's speech is being received politely, building slowly to a finish that's being choreographed for maximum excitement -- some devout supporters being lined up on the side of the room.

8:34: I spoke a bit too soon. Bachmann's speech never caught fire and turned into a looping mess. Budgeted for 25 minutes (I noticed a countdown clock near the stage), it dragged on for 45, as Bachmann repeated her themes on the same subjects -- "Obamacare" repeal, the wisdom of John Adams -- twice. Afterwards, a small number of Bachmann fans were encouraged to wait to the side of the stage to meet the candidate, and in that line I found some enthusiams. "She touched on all the subjects she talks about," said supporter Mark Moore.

But the meet-and-greet was just as odd. Bachmann ran out quickly, shaking hands, then ran back to the loping backstage area where, the theory went, she would regroup for another meeting. Some Bachmann fans started sprinting to the VIP parking lot where they were thinking they'd see here, while some -- including William Temple, the omnipresent Tea Party Patriot -- shrugged and went back to their seats. The diehards never got to see Bachmann, being told by a staffer that they'd arrived right after she left.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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