Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

WASHINGTON – For her extraordinary dedication to America’s founding principles and steadfast defense of the Constitution, WND has named Rep. Michele Bachmann 2012 “Woman of the Year.”

Bachmann is a gutsy, pro-life fiscal conservative who dared to vote against raising the debt ceiling. She’s a God-fearing, gun-loving advocate of tax cuts and domestic oil drilling – and has proven to be one of Obamacare’s worst nightmares.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, to Norwegian immigrants, Bachmann grew up in a Democrat family, but became a Republican in college. Bachmann, now a four-term congresswoman and chairwoman of the Tea Party Caucus, began her political career in 2000 upon winning a seat in the Minnesota state Senate. From there, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.

Just last year, she released “Core of Conviction: My Story,” an inspiring book that reveals why Bachmann believes ordinary people can take on the establishment and win.

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Since her ascension to the House, she has been a persistent defender of the American way of life, championing America’s Christian heritage and the values of limited government.

WND’s “Woman of the Year” award is presented to the woman who “did the most to represent goodness, womanliness, perseverance and character” and “had an impact on wider American, and global opinion.”

Runners-up for the honor included Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer; Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers; Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany and party leader of the Christian Democratic Union; and Phyllis Schlafly, a guiding light conservative movement and recipient of WND’s 2012 “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

WND Editor Joseph Farah has said of Bachmann, “She is extremely smart, articulate, sincere, honest, principled and maintains unshakable core convictions about preserving America’s heritage of constitutionally limited government and the rule of law rather than the rule of men.”

Bachmann has been a favorite target of the political left. Though she was once dubbed “The Queen of Rage” by the left-leaning and now-defunct Newsweek magazine, WND Managing Editor David Kupelian said nothing could be further from the truth.

“I remember when Newsweek did that hit piece on her,” Kupelian said, “plastering a maniacal ‘evil eye’ photo of her on the cover and headlining it ‘The Queen of Rage.’ All I could think of was: How ridiculous, that’s exactly the opposite of reality. Michele Bachmann is one of the most gracious and genuinely caring people I know. And caring for a couple dozen foster children, as she and husband Marcus have done (not to mention five of their own) takes love – not rage.”

Reflections on 2012 Congress

In an exclusive interview with WND, Bachmann reflected on her past year in Congress and shared her hopes for the nation’s future.

“Most people will say the biggest story of 2012 was the president’s re-election,” Bachmann said, looking back at this year’s most memorable moments. “I actually think the most consequential story of the year, and the one with the most enduring impact, happened on June 28 when the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, voted 5-4 to uphold Obamacare.”

When she witnessed the Court’s decision on Obamacare, Bachmann said she was dumbfounded.

“I was inside the Supreme Court when the decision was passed down,” she told WND. “I was stunned. The highest court in the land had just ruled that it was constitutional for the federal government to mandate that Americans purchase a particular service. The implications will be felt for years to come – higher premiums, longer wait times and more government intrusion are just the foretaste.”

Bachmann has been a relentless warrior for conservative values, waging combat against the federal health-care takeover.

“Since the beginning, I have been on the forefront of the fight against Obamacare,” she said. “When the bill was being debated, I urged Americans from across the county to join me and other members of Congress in a House Call on Congress to demand that government take its hands off our health care. More than 40,000 Americans responded and came to Washington, D.C. And hours after Obamacare’s passage, I introduced the very first piece of legislation to repeal the president’s health-care law in full.”

In fact, Obama’s signature legislation played a role in Bachmann’s decision to run for president. She led the race for the GOP presidential nomination in August last year after she won the Iowa straw poll. But in January, Bachmann abandoned her campaign for president after placing last among six Republican presidential hopefuls in the Iowa caucuses.

“I also ran for president, in part, for the purpose of repealing Obamacare because I knew President Obama’s socialized medicine worldview meant Americans would be forced by government dictate to spend more, but would get less for health care,” she said.

Bachmann lamented that the fight for Obamacare appears mostly out of Congress’ hands after the 2012 election, and now rests upon one of the various lawsuits pending against Obama’s plan.

“Unless a subsequent Supreme Court challenge – like the one from Liberty Counsel or the one from the founder of Domino’s Pizza – succeeds, our only hope is for a full, clean sweep politically at the ballot box in a future election to turn away Obamacare. But that would be four years away, sadly, which is why I repeated throughout the presidential cycle, ‘All our chips are on November.'”

However, she noted that the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the American people.

“Our history is to innovate and change,” she said. “We will see if the American people succumb to this obvious disaster or if they’ll fight back. I fought back with everything that was in me for four years. If we work together on this project, we may have a chance.”

On a more personal level, Bachmann also takes great pride in her work helping foster youth in 2012.

“I was extremely proud to help create the Congressional Caucus of Foster Youth this year along with three of my House colleagues,” she told WND, adding, “As a foster mom to 23 children, this is an issue near and dear to my heart and it’s important to raise awareness about the hundreds of thousands of children across the country that do not have forever families.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann poses for a Christmas photo with her husband, Marcus, and five children.

Reflections on 2012 election

Bachmann’s House re-election campaign was considered by many observers to be one of the most difficult campaigns of the season.

She won re-election by only 3,000 votes, less than 1 percent more than her opponent, and she was out spent by a ratio of 12:1.

“I stand strongly for conservative values,” Bachmann said. “I am always one of Nancy Pelosi’s top targets. This time around was no different. Thankfully, I was able to fight back with the support of grassroots activists across the country. I’m proud that my campaign had an average donation of just $45.”

Bachmann blasted the mainstream media for its extreme left-leaning bias during the election this year, accusing “the full-on gale force winds of a united mainstream media” of “working to tear down every bona fide conservative and working to boost the liberal opposition.”

She added, “America’s mainstream academic, media and cultural gatekeepers seem to speak in a lockstep ‘diversity,’ which abides only one view. And anyone who deviates from that party line becomes an object of ridicule and scorn. Those who cry the loudest about a lack of civility in public discourse are often the very ones who practice the least tolerance.”

Bachmann holds her own in field of male GOP candidates during Republican primary debates

Warning of growing Muslim Brotherhood influence

Bachmann prides herself on her record of standing up to not only Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Democrats, but to her own party when it runs afoul of her principles.

“I stand on principle, not party,” she told WND in October. “I work together with people. I can accomplish things and get them done. But it’s also important when you see that your own party is going wrong to be able to stand up and take them on.”

In one high-profile case of Bachmann’s refusal to toe the party line, Democrats and some GOP lawmakers recently rebuked her and four other House Republicans – Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas – for their public denunciation of the Obama administration’s acceptance of the Muslim Brotherhood and questioning the ties of some administration figures to the radical organization. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s close aide worked under a known terror sponsor.

WND senior staff reporter Aaron Klein has detailed Clinton Chief of Staff Huma Abedin’s ties to the Saudi-financed Islamic think tank, the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, alongside Abdullah Omar Naseef – who is connected to al-Qaida.

Andrew McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York who is now with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, explained to WND why the reaction to the five House members has been so severe on both sides of the aisle.

“This is not just an Obama administration regard for the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said. “This is a bipartisan, ruling-class in Washington perception of the Muslim Brotherhood. … What’s happening is, the five Republican conservative members of the House who raised these questions are basically holding up the mirror to the disaster that’s happening before our very eyes.”

Preserving America’s values

In a somber warning to the American people, Bachmann declared that the future of America’s greatness is on the line.

“The American age is about a set of ideals and values,” she said, “and these ideas are grounded in a sincere adherence to a biblical faith which many throughout history have staked their lives upon, and were evidenced in our founding political documents like the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Northwest Ordinance, the Constitution and state constitutions, among others.”

However, Bachmann warned, “Today, a critical mass of American cultural gatekeepers not only reject those values, they mock them. The real question is whether there remains today a critical mass of Americans willing to contend for those values in the public marketplace of ideas. That is a question each of us must answer, but for the sake of the memory of prior generations, and for the sake of the next, I hope the answer from each of us is a resounding yes!”

‘It’s about the people at home’

Just before the November election, Bachmann urged new GOP House members coming to Washington, D.C., to look inside their own hearts and evaluate their strength of character before ever setting foot in the halls of Congress.

“I think they need to know who they are before they come to Washington,” she said. “They need to make sure that they aren’t more interested in moving up the political ladder than they are pleasing the people back home. I think they would be shocked if they realized that it takes less than two months for the average person to cave.”

Bachmann said lawmakers are constantly tempted by incentives to “vote in ways they would never in a million years vote on their own.”

“They need to make a decision: Are they going to have a backbone?” she asked. “Are they going to be able to look at themselves in the mirror? Are they going to be able to go home and campaign after the election the same way that they campaigned before the election? That’s a decision that has to be made in your heart before you get to Washington. And then you stand on it.”

Bachmann also warned new lawmakers to evaluate their friendships.

“Your most important friends are the people who go into a voting booth and vote for you,” she said. “That’s what you need to remember. First, answer to your God and answer to your conscience. But you’ve got to remember that it’s not about D.C. It’s about the people at home.”

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