Bachmann starts Iowa bus tour, hopes for comeback

By PHILIP ELLIOTT | December 16, 2011 | 4:16 PM EST

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, left, and her husband, Marcus make remarks during a campaign stop at the Family Table Restaurant, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, in Le Mars, Iowa. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) — Michele Bachmann is rumbling through Iowa, hoping for a caucus comeback in time for the voting here next month.

The Minnesota congresswoman started a bus tour Friday that's to take her through the state's 99 counties, where she'll ask voters to give her lagging campaign another look. Bachmann says she's the only consistent conservative running. She says Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, both leading contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, aren't conservative enough.

Bachmann won an early test vote in August but since has slipped from the top tier.

She's now hoping that that more than a week of retail campaigning by bus will give her a much needed lift heading into South Carolina. She does not plan to campaign aggressively in New Hampshire, which votes after Iowa.