Unlike Sarah Palin, who has brandished the feminist moniker and spoken of an “emerging conservative feminist identity,” Bachmann told me in an interview Tuesday that she wouldn’t call herself a feminist—instead, she simply described herself as “pro-woman and pro-man.” When I pressed her on the matter, the Minnesota congresswoman said she sees herself as an “empowered American.”…

As for Matthews, she has received no apologies, but she is unfazed. Unlike Palin, who frequently decries the “lamestream media,” Bachmann doesn’t attack the attackers. “The media is what the media is,” she says. “It’s part of the territory. A person has to accept that there are difficult questions and unfair questions and it is a part of this process and it is what it is.”…

True, the media have a field day playing up her every misstep—most recently her assertion that the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly” to end slavery—but we should know by now what that is about. (Hint: She’s a woman with presidential aspirations.) If Joe Biden’s gaffes had received half the attention of Bachmann’s, nobody would take him seriously, either.

In person, Bachmann seems eerily disconnected from the TV caricature. She is bright, quick, charming, and thoughtful. She will civilly and gamely debate any issue.