MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has formally entered the presidential race.

The tea party favorite announced Monday that she has filed papers to kick off her bid for the GOP nomination to challenge President Barack Obama next year. Her comments came in the opening minutes of a televised debate involving her and six other Republican hopefuls.

Bachmann has drawn large crowds in Iowa and elsewhere by championing the tea party goals of social conservatism and deep cuts in government spending and regulation.

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