(CNN)– Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann launched her nine-city swing through Iowa on Saturday - pointing out the influence of the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
The three-term congresswoman and contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination told CNN that "life couldn't be better," as she fed waffles to her husband at an Iowa City diner.
Bachmann's tour of the Hawkeye State follows her official announcement in Waterloo last month of her presidential bid, and seems timed to capitalize on support that's been building in her home state.
"I think Iowa's very important. We want to do very well here, so we're going to be working towards the caucuses that are coming up in August, and on to January and February, and beyond," she said.
Six campaigns have reserved spots at the Ames Straw Poll, set for August. Though the winner of the contest isn't guaranteed the GOP nomination, or even a victory during Iowa's caucus, it can be an early predictor of success in the state.
Other candidates like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman are sitting out the Ames Straw Poll. But for Bachmann, banking on Iowa is an investment with promised returns.
"Iowa is the first in the nation. It's very important to be here and have a presence here, because the values and the opinions that people have in Iowa count," she said.
"This is the bread basket of the world, for a reason. It's important to come and listen to what people have to say here in Iowa and then take that message back to Washington, D.C."
Bachmann will make five stops in four cities Saturday and continue to tour through five additional cities, ending the sweep Monday.