U.S. Rep Michele Bachmann (R-MN) speaks at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California October 20, 2011. (ROBERT GALBRAITH/REUTERS)

Writing on the web site of American Majority, the group’s president Ned Ryun had blunt advice for Bachmann, who has courted and drawn much of her support from tea party activists.

“It’s time for Michele Bachmann to go. For the last two years, I’ve been cautioning about the dangers of individuals or organizations trying to present themselves as leaders of the Tea Party movement,” he writes.

“Every day [Bachmann’s] campaign flounders, it risks hurting the credibility of the movement. If she really is about the tea party, and making it successful, it’s time for the Congresswoman to move on.

“The Tea Party doesn’t have a spokesperson, and it’s certainly not Michele Bachmann.”

After surging during the first days of her campaign and bagging a victory in the Iowa straw poll, Bachmann has since struggled in the polls. She has made gaffe after gaffe, singing Happy Birthday to Elvis on the anniversary of his death, mixing up John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy, and claiming that a woman told her that the HPV vaccine caused mental retardation. Last week, her New Hampshire staff resigned en masse.

Bachmann has focused much of her attention on Iowa, where she had the endorsements of evangelical leaders, but has since foundered in the polls, falling behind to Herman Cain. In Iowa, the lawmaker has visited churches and spoken openly about her faith, yet Ryun says the focus must remain on fiscal, rather than social issues, and criticized Bachmann for a campaign that is “her personal effort to stay relevant and sell books.”

“The Tea Party as a whole was founded on the principle that the American people are being enslaved by their government’s unquenchable appetite for spending, debt and the taxation that limits our freedom, and that the future of this great nation has been endangered by our leaders’ reckless behavior,” Ryun wrote.

“Those fiscal issues which attract Republicans, independents, and conservative Democrats alike must continue to be the focus of the majority of America’s grassroots, led with courage by the Tea Party.”

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