Michele Bachmann says she can still win Iowa, but with staffers defecting and some polls putting her in last place, most analysts are ready to read the last rites to the Minnesota congresswoman's campaign. So where did it go wrong for the Ames straw poll winner? Unfortunate timing, a lack of cash, feuds with advisers, and some major missteps all played a part, Politico finds. Rick Perry stole her thunder by entering the race the same day as the straw poll, and many saw her refusal to leave her campaign bus the next night to share the spotlight with him at a GOP fundraiser as a turning point.
Bachmann retreated to the conservative comfort zone of Fox soon afterward, and failed to develop a strong message, campaign insiders say. In the debates, Bachmann, possibly with the VP spot in mind, appeared reluctant to land blows on Mitt Romney. Her former campaign manager, Ed Rollins—who accused Bachmann of being "out of ideas" after he quit in September—says she has also been damaged by her tendency to see sinister motives behind setbacks. She accused Newt Gingrich of buying Tea Party support in South Carolina, and after her Iowa campaign chairman defected to Ron Paul this week, she accused the Paul campaign of paying him off.