It's not easy to get to Michele Bachmann. Her appearance at a rally on Tuesday in Aiken, South Carolina, attended by perhaps 150 people, featured three uniformed police officers and two body guards in plain clothes. One of those guards spent much of the day preventing reporters from getting too close to the candidate.
As she greeted fans and signed autographs after her speech, he planted himself directly in front of another man filming her chit-chat with a hand-held video camera. (At another event on Tuesday I had seen the same man making hand gestures to another Bachmann staffer when I came near with a pen and pad.)
It was after 8 p.m. at the public library in the quiet town of Adel, Iowa, and staffers were folding up the metal chairs. Tim Pawlenty's question-and-answer session had wrapped up some 30 minutes earlier, but a handful of voters were still here, and therefore so was Pawlenty, tall and lean in his dark suit, staying as always until no one was left to talk with him. When the polls show you in the low single digits, you make time for everyone.
Presently, one middle-aged man in a blazer was telling Pawlenty why Republicans need a tough-talking presidential candidate like Donald Trump. "We need to be bold," he implored. Conservatives were going to be attacked in 2012, and they had to be willing to fight back hard. Was Pawlenty up to it?
FULL STORY FROM TIME