Those strengths already have helped her, first in a June 13 New Hampshire debate where she won favorable reviews, and in a new Iowa poll Sunday showing her neck and neck in the state with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Bachmann, 55, formally launched her campaign Monday with a salute to small-town values and a vow to vanquish President Obama.
"I stand here in the midst of many friends and many family members to announce formally my candidacy for president of the United States," she said to cheers from about a hundred supporters.
"I want to bring a voice, your voice, to the White House, just as I have brought your voice to the halls of Congress."
Bachmann did not mention any of her Republican rivals. Instead, she used the launch of her campaign to indict Obama for what she called a failure of leadership.
She ripped him for high unemployment, for piling up government debt, for high gasoline prices, for an "unconstitutional" health plan, and for failing to reverse the crisis in housing that has caused waves of foreclosures and left the dream of homeownership "distant" to too many Americans.
"We cannot continue to rack up debt on the backs of future generations," she said.
"We can't afford four more years of Barack Obama," she said.
Bachmann did not mention some of the issues that drive social conservatives in the state, such as abortion or gay marriage.
"She is so understood as a religious conservative that she doesn't have to talk about it," said Goldford, a political scientist at Drake University in Des Moines.
What is helpful to her in conservative states, such as Iowa and South Carolina, though, could weigh her down in more libertarian or moderate states, such as New Hampshire.
Bachmann's record also will come under more scrutiny as she emerges as a top-tier candidate. The Los Angeles Times, for example, reported Sunday that members of her family have received federal money for their business and farm despite her vocal criticism of such federal spending.
Also, her frequent appearances on cable TV that helped hone her communication skills have yielded comments that opponents could use to challenge her credibility - such as suggesting loyalty investigations for members of Congress.
Finally, there is history: Only one sitting member of the House ever has been elected president - James Garfield, in 1880.