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Bachmann: 'I'm The Tea Party Candidate'

The Bachmann campaign isn't letting this one go by without a fight.

Hours after the Minnesota congresswoman's presidential campaign responded to a call from the leader of a Tea Party group for her to bow out of the race, her campaign is labeling the incident a "stealth attack" by the campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

And Michele Bachmann herself is speaking out.

In a statement to NPR, she said:

It's no surprise this came from a Perry supporter. I'm the Tea Party candidate and have been since I came to Congress. I led 40,000 Americans to Washington DC to fight Obamacare, I led the fight against Dodd-Frank, I led the fight against the debt limit increase and out of control spending, and I'm the first candidate to sign the pledge to build a fence along the border. I am the candidate most in line with the Tea Party supporters.

Ned Ryun, the president of American Majority, said on Thursday that "it's time for Michele Bachmann to go." He also decried Bachmann for "purporting" herself as a leader in the grassroots movement.

But Ryun denies supporting any particular candidate. As for the Perry campaign, press secretary Mark Miner said, "We learned of this through media reports today and had nothing to do with the group's decision."

The Bachmann camp is also citing support from Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, one the more prominent organizations in the movement. In addition to praising Bachmann for championing Tea Party causes, Martin insists that Bachmann's support among Tea Party supporters remains intact.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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