DANIELS ISLAND, S.C. -- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) turned away from the 300 or so people in the crowd in this upper class enclave just northeast of downtown Charleston, and motioned to her lower back.
"I may have a yellow dress on back here, but I have a titanium spine," she said, drawing laughs from the crowd, many of whom rode bikes to come watch her in the local park. Others had walked over and clutched coffee mugs.
Bachmann made the point jovially, but the meaning behind it was clear. If elected president she would seek to dismantle the "permanent bureaucracy" of the federal government in Washington.
"I'm not just going to say I'm cutting programs. I am cutting programs," she yelled.
Bachmann served up plenty of more red meat during the first of four stops in the state on Wednesday. The crowd ate it up. One man yelled from the back of the crowd, "You make me tingle, Michele!"
James Littman, a 60-year old retired advertising executive who lives in the community, said he was impressed.
"She's 50 times smarter than the people who think she's stupid," Littman said, citing her experience as a tax attorney, an attribute mentioned by others in the crowd during interviews.
Littman said that candidates like former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty would be fine in normal elections, but that in the current setting, Pawlenty and others are "weak."
"We need a counter-revolutionary after this mess," he said, referring to President Obama's administration. "The last person that is is [former Massachusetts Gov.] Mitt Romney."
Littman said he would like to see Texas Gov. Rick Perry run as well. Between Perry and Bachmann, he said, it would be a "toss-up."
Cyndi Mosteller, a former state party first vice chair and businesswoman, met with Bachmann for about 20 minutes before the event with one or two others. She said that voters "feel that she is the ideological and dynamic alternative to many other candidates" in the Republican presidential primary.
"I do think they think there's a winnability factor here, based on her dynamism and her passion, that they maybe don't see in Mitt Romney," Mosteller said.
Bachmann is polling well after launching her campaign officially in Iowa on Monday. Her speech to the crowd here was a nonstop barrage of attacks against Obama, but she made sure to begin her talk by congratulating the University of South Carolina baseball team, which won its second national championship in a row on Tuesday night.
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