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Going after 2012 candidate Bachmann has its risks

By Brian Bakst

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, July 14 2011 12:00 p.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. takes part in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 13, 2011.

Susan Walsh, Associated Press

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.

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