Bachmann officially joins 2012 presidential race

With a salute to small-town values and a vow to vanquish President Barack Obama, Michele Bachmann launched her campaign Monday for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

“I stand here today in front of many friends and family to formally announce my candidacy for president of the United States,” Bachmann said to cheers from about a hundred supporters in the town where she was born.

“I want to bring a voice, your voice, to the White House, just as I have brought your voice to the halls of Congress.”Bachmann, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota, staged her kickoff in front of an historic, two-story brick house in Waterloo, where she hopes her roots and conservative appeal will help her win the state’s precinct caucuses that start the nomination fight next winter.

A new poll for the Des Moines Register Sunday showed her neck and neck in the state with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.Bachmann did not mention any of her Republican rivals. Instead, she used the kickoff to indict Obama for what she called a failure of leadership at home and abroad.

She ripped him for piling up government debt, for high gasoline prices, and for failing to reverse the crisis in housing that’s caused waves of foreclosures and left the dream of home ownership “distant” to too many Americans.

“We cannot continue to rack up debt on the backs of future generations,” she said. “We can't afford an unconstitutional health plan that costs too much and is worth so littlefour more years of failed leadership at home and abroadfour more years of millions of Americans out of work or in jobs that pay too little to support their families.”

To applause, she added, “We can't afford four more years of Barack Obama.”

After Iowa, she traveled to New Hampshire, site of the nation’s first primary next winter, and on Tuesday she is to arrive in South Carolina, site of the first primary in the South.