ST. PAUL, Minn. — Michele Bachmann's rise in Republican presidential race polls is making the tea party favorite an enticing target for rival campaigns.
But the Minnesota congresswoman's opponents so far — all men — are treading lightly. They're sensitive to gender concerns and mindful of angering the tea party voters they hope to court themselves.
Since entering the 2012 race last month, the three-term lawmaker has seen her standing in polls rise. Several surveys in the lead-off caucus state of Iowa show her challenging the front-runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, for the lead.
That's not to say that candidates aren't willing to criticize her.
Just a few days ago, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said that Bachmann had a "nonexistent record of accomplishment" in Congress.