Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) debate performance will likely be overshadowed by her campaign’s financial problems and the congresswoman’s waning poll numbers.

The good thing for Bachmann is that her niche in the race – as the solid conservative – is still very much in flux. But for the Minnesota Republican to recover her claim to that role, she needs a strong performance on Tuesday night and for businessman and current GOP star Herman Cain as well as Texas Gov. Rick Perry — the other top candidates with a claim to that conservative mantle — to falter.

Despite her win in the Ames Straw Poll two months ago, Bachmann is essentially on the margins of the current race, and many are questioning how long her campaign will be able to continue.

Bachmann’s operation spent $2 million more than it raised in the third quarter and has just $1.3 million cash-on-hand. What’s more, it’s not even clear that she’s still competitive in her one must-win state – Iowa, where the caucus was just set for Jan. 3.

Much like Perry, Bachmann has seen an early boomlet come to an abrupt end. And it’s hard to see how she’s going to recover her momentum with a campaign in such financial straits.

A good debate performance would certainly help.


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