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Bachmann a trailblazer

Her electability and ideas are questionable. Her gaffes are laughable, such as when she marked Tuesday's 34th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death by wishing him a happy birthday. But Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., deserves more credit than she's getting as a trailblazer for her gender. "Most pundits give the males the edge in the political battle shaping up, but Bachmann has made history as the first woman to clobber the guys in a national GOP race," said Steven Clemons, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, about Bachmann's win in Saturday's Iowa straw poll. And unlike Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, "she didn't get a helping hand up," he said. Palin rocketed to prominence because John McCain made her his running mate; Clinton had the name recognition and experience that come with being married to a president. "Mrs. Bachmann is self-made in a tough, male-dominated political neighborhood," Clemons noted.