Waterloo, Iowa (CNN) – At times off-message during her political career, Michele Bachmann demonstrated at the launch of her GOP presidential bid that she can be disciplined, especially with the media.
The Minnesota Congresswoman's staff and even Bachmann's husband resorted to sharp elbows-literally-to keep a CNN crew from gaining an interview. And the Minnesota media, who came to the event to cover one of their own, complained loudly they were shut out as Bachmann did a round of interviews with the Iowa press.
Kicking off her campaign in the northeawstern Iowa town of Waterloo where she was born, Bachmann's speech steered clear of the explosive rhetoric that has sometimes defined her political career. She sounded as if she had traded in her signature tea party tough talk for some Midwestern nice.
"Through all the rancor of the campaign let's remember that there are more things that unite us, not divide us as a nation," Bachmann told the crowd.
This was not the Bachmann who once questioned whether Barack Obama harbored "anti-American views" or ridiculed the national health care law with the one-liner: "Grandma isn't shovel ready."
Instead she let her Iowa upbringing do the talking.
"It's these Iowa roots and my faith in God that guide me today," Bachmann said.
Buoyed by a stunning Des Moines Register poll that showed the conservative firebrand just one point behind GOP front-runner Mitt Romney in this crucial early voting state, Bachmann was careful to stay on message.
Her staff repeatedly blocked CNN's attempts to question the candidate after her speech. At one point, Bachmann's husband, Marcus let his elbow do the talking.
Instead, Bachmann did a round of interviews with the Iowa media. News crews from Minnesota objected that they were being shut out by their home town Congresswoman.
None of that seemed to bother the Iowans who waited for autographs and pictures. Several supporters told CNN they now see her as one of their own.
"I don't think the media really knows what who they're dealing with," said Bruce Munson, a Bachmann supporter. "You're gonna find out," he continued.
Despite Bachmann's new softer tone at the event, many of her fans don't mind it when the Congresswoman throws the occasional political elbow.
"I've never been political in my life but I'm coming out from under my rock and she's my gal," said Charlotte Niederhauser, another Bachmann supporter.
"I want her to beat Obama's butt," Niederhauser added.