Michele Bachmann’s Child Army

From Mother Jones:  http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/07/michele-bachmann-home-school-fundraising

The GOP presidential candidate’s secret weapon? Home-school activists.

— By Tim Murphy
Tue Jul. 19, 2011 

In November 2008, Michele Bachmann was in trouble. The incumbent Minnesota congresswoman was facing a Democratic wave and the backlash from comments she made questioning Barack Obama’s patriotism, and polls showed her neck-and-neck with her challenger, former state transportation commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg. But at the last minute, some unlikely reinforcements arrived to give Bachmann a boost: kids.

Over the last week of the campaign, nearly six-dozen home-schooled students, some flown in from out of state, joined the Bachmann campaign, knocking on doors, sending out mailers, and making thousands of phone calls. The kids, all between the ages of 12 and 19, were members of GenJ Student Action Team, part of a national organization called Generation Joshua, which trains home-schooled students to become political activists. When the votes were counted, Bachmann held on to her seat in a squeaker—and she credited her child army with pushing her over to the top.

“We often hear that there aren’t young people in the Republican Party,” she said in her victory speech. “I’m here to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Now, as Bachmann sets her sights on the Republican presidential nomination, that same youth brigade could be her secret weapon. Over the last decade, Bachmann, who home-schooled her five biological children, has developed strong ties to state and national home-school organizations. In March, she joined fellow presidential candidates Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and businessman Herman Cain at a conference organized by the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) in Des Moines. And in 2009, she addressed Generation Joshua’s national iGovern conference in Washington, DC.

Bachmann’s love for home-school organizations is far from unrequited. The Home School Legal Defense Association PAC, a spinoff of Generation Joshua’s parent organization, donated $3,250 to her reelection effort in 2008 and contributed cash and manpower to her successful congressional campaigns in 2006 and 2010.

Continue reading at:  http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/07/michele-bachmann-home-school-fundraising

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