Bachmann suddenly stuck in Perry's shadow

“You may have heard last Saturday there was a little election in Iowa and I was the number one winner of the Iowa straw poll,” she told an overheated crowd at a midday town hall in Myrtle Beach. “That victory was even more stunning than it was reported – I had only been a candidate for 49 days … and I had spent about half the time in Washington, D.C., fighting against” raising the debt ceiling.

The Iowa line was a new addition to her campaign rhetoric, seemingly designed to signal that the tea party champion would not pushed out of the conversation by her more mainstream rivals…

But Bachmann, accustomed to being underestimated in the race, isn’t ceding any ground. She’s attempting to fortify South Carolina, determined to replicate her Iowa success through dogged outreach and ideological purity. As in Iowa, she’s making an under-the-radar push for the conservative Christian vote, holding closed-door roundtables with local pastors in the towns she passes through.

The Bachmann campaign has five staffers in South Carolina and says it’s in the process of a post-Ames expansion. After leaving the state Saturday, Bachmann planned to return next week, scheduling a Thursday town hall in the Charleston-area with Rep. Tim Scott, a local conservative rising star.