Michele Bachmann pulled a diva move that stole some of the spotlight from former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a rival for the Republican presidential nomination who shares some of the same base of support, at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans Friday.
After firing up nearly 2,000 attendees, Bachmann drew 40 reporters out of the main hall for a rare news conference, just as Santorum was about to address the gathering. The reporters waited about 20 minutes, penned up in a small room, until she made a dramatic entrance – and by the time she took seven minutes worth of questions, Santorum’s speech was ending.
Despite the setback, recent polling shows that Santorum is gaining ground in the Republican race.
In the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released June 16, Santorum was the choice of nine percent of respondents who plan to vote in the Republican primaries – up from an asterisk in the previous survey conducted in April. That was good enough for fourth place, ahead of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota.
Mitt Romney was first with a commanding 43 percent, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian with a devoted following, and Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota who is a leader of the Tea Party, both with 11 percent.
And in a USA Today/Gallup poll – conducted June 8 through 11 – Santorum drew 6 percent support, up from two percent in May.