WATERLOO, Iowa, June 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., formally kicked off her bid to be the Republican presidential nominee Monday in her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa.
Her address was meant to introduce herself to a national voting public while wooing a local audience critical to her political goals, The Washington Post reported.
"Everything I need to know, I learned in Iowa," Bachmann told the audience of friends, family and supporters. "This is where my Iowa roots were firmly planted, and it's these Iowa roots and my faith in God that guides me today."
Bachmann, the second Minnesotan in the crowded Republican presidential field, said she was "profoundly grateful for the blessings that I have received both from God and from this great country," and said "every American deserves these blessings."
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty also is seeking the Republican nod.
As president, Bachmann said she would try to slash the federal deficit and reduce the federal government's role.
The country, she said, should "declare independence from a government that has gotten too big, and spends too much, and has taken away too many of our liberties."
Her Bachmann for President Web site says she's a "principled reformer who holds an unwavering commitment to the conservative values" that helped her succeed as a small-business owner, a tax attorney, a lawmaker on the state and federal levels, a wife and a mother.
Bachmann is characterized as a constitutional conservative "who understands that our founding fathers established a federal government to preserve and protect the nation while fostering an environment where dreams could flourish," the Web site said.
"It is Michele's single greatest calling in public service to ensure that the liberties enshrined in our founding documents are handed down from this generation to the next," the site said.
On CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, Bachmann said she "gave my heart to Jesus Christ" at age 16 and prayed to God about seeking political office on the state and federal levels.
"That's really what that means," she said. "It means that -- that I have a sense of assurance about the direction I think that God is speaking into my heart that I should go."
Bachmann, a Tea Party movement favorite and the House Tea Party Caucus chairwoman, entered the presidential race running neck and neck in an Iowa caucus poll with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- 22 percent for her and 23 percent for Romney.
The Iowa caucus is the first major electoral event of the U.S. presidential nominating process.
After announcing her presidential candidacy, Bachmann's campaign is to go Tuesday and Wednesday to early primary states New Hampshire and South Carolina, her campaign office said.