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Michele Bachmann regularly sees comparisons to Sarah Palin, but she's ready to be put to the test on her own merits. "We don't see a similar comparison between two men, for instance, who would also be running for President," she says. The representative from Minnesota threatens to steal fiscal and social conservative voters away from other Republican candidates for President if she chooses to run. Last weekend, Bachmann came in first place during a straw poll with 23 percent of the vote from attendees at a gathering at Liberty University. She also came in second place in a recent "positive intensity tracking" poll from Gallup. Most national polls, however, place Bachmann at about 4 percent among Republican voters. Bachmann received her J.D. degree from Oral Roberts University before the law school moved to Regent University. She is a member of Salem Lutheran Church, and her husband runs a Christian counseling center in Stillwater, Minnesota. CT spoke with Bachmann about Tea Party concerns, Donald Trump's birth certificate questions, and recent budget negotiations.

We've seen quite a bit of attention devoted to fiscal concerns, and I know this is a concern for you since you launched the Tea Party caucus last year. Do you have any concerns that the Tea Party might overshadow the concerns of some conservative Christians?

There has been a common cause that has risen in the last six months or so. What we're seeing emerging is a three-legged stool of concern. One is certainly fiscal conservatism, the second leg is social conservativism, and the third would be national security concerns. The Tea Party movement is an organic, spontaneous movement and in many ways a leaderless movement. People come in to the Tea Party with their particular issues. There's probably a 70 percent area of agreement, and the agreement would be on no increased taxes, government acting within a balanced budget, and the government acting within the parameters of the Constitution.

There are many, many people in the Tea Party movement who are also social conservatives. Almost all social conservatives are also fiscal conservatives. If culture embraces social conservative values, it translates into fiscal conservatism because fewer people become dependent on the government. The thing we're encouraging fiscal conservatives is, don't throw the social conservatives out because they will be your best friends on your issue. We're recognizing that people can advocate for issues that they believe in, but where there's an area of commonality and 70 percent level of concern, let's pull together on those issues.

The House continuing resolution included what many Christian relief organizations considered major cuts to programs that aid the world's poor. Do you support these cuts?

Well, what I support is getting our fiscal house in order. There are many nonprofits and NGOs that have enjoyed substantial government support in the past. They may need to seek their support in the private sector, because what we see is that it will be very difficult to be able to do benevolent works if there is no prosperity to fund them. You know the government can't exist without profits and income generated in the private sector. Right now we're seeing a decline in the private sector's ability to be able to produce revenue. The question will be, will these groups have public money to work with or will it be generated privately? Probably some of the best work has been generated through private funds, and so it may be that the organizations have to seek funds there.

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