Republican contender Michele Bachmann 'a hypocrite' on handouts
Boasting she has a "titanium spine" but dodging revelations which suggest she may also possess a brass neck, Michele Bachmann spent the weekend preparing to become the latest Republican front-runner to launch a bid for the party's Presidential nomination.
The first Congresswoman to represent the state of Minnesota, a social conservative and favourite of the Tea Party demographic, consented to a relatively rare unscripted interview with Fox News as she travelled to yesterday's official campaign launch in Iowa, a key destination in early voting.
But, even as supporters were celebrating a poll suggesting that she has now moved into second place in the running for February's Iowa caucuses, at 22% to the early leader Mitt Romney's 23%, Ms Bachmann was learning about the perils of life in the glare of a media spotlight which accompanies any campaign for America's highest office.
A story in the Los Angeles Times revealed that, despite the principled objection to public spending and big government which has propelled her rise to prominence, the Congresswoman and her family have in recent years benefited from hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in financial support.
The article revealed that Ms Bachmann's husband Marcus, a psychologist, has received $30,000 (£19,000) in grants from both the Minnesota and federal authorities. That seems at odds with Ms Bachmann's vehement public hostility to government involvement in healthcare, which she has dubbed "socialised medicine".
Ms Bachmann has previously been a stern critic of farming subsidies. Yet her family's farm in rural Wisconsin received $280,000 in government support between 1995 and 2008, largely for corn and dairy production. And while she has previously claimed to have never received "one penny" from the farm, financial disclosure forms show that Ms Bachmann was in fact paid dividends of between $32,500 and $105,000, between 2006 and 2009.
Michele Bachmann describes herself as "a principled reformer who holds an unwavering commitment to the conservative values that helped her succeed as a small business owner, a US tax attorney, a lawmaker, and a wife and mother".