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WATCH: Rep. Michele Bachmann announces her retirement
The Minnesota Tea Party stalwart takes to YouTube to explain, sort of, why she's not running again in 2014

On Monday, Politico speculated that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), the "bomb-throwing conservative and onetime Republican presidential candidate," faced an "existential threat in 2014." Bachmann "may be the congresswoman with nine lives," said Politico's Alex Isenstadt, but between "a swirl of investigations into her campaign finances" and a looming rematch with hotelier Jim Graves, a Democrat who almost unseated her in 2012 — and who is already beating her in some polls — her luck may have run out.

On Tuesday night, Bachmann announced via a YouTube video (watch above) that she won't seek re-election in 2014. In the video, the Tea Party leader rejected the idea that she was being hounded out of office, saying her decision "was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff" and expressing confidence that she would have beaten Graves.

So why isn't she seeking re-election? Bachmann doesn't really explain. She says that if eight years is enough for presidents, it's enough for her. And she promises not to fade away, continuing "to work vehemently and robustly to fight back against what most in the other party want to do to transform our country into becoming, which would be a nation that our Founders would hardly even recognize today." Her future is "full, it is limitless," says Bachmann, it just won't involve sitting in the House. She doesn't rule out running for other public office.

In eight minutes and 40 seconds, with upbeat music playing in the background, Bachmann goes through a list of things she has done or tried to do and wrongs she thinks the Obama administration has rained down on the U.S. and the world, and warns about the "ultimate risk of the destruction of our entire economic system."

And while she doesn't really explain her decision, she knows how it will play in the press: "I fully anticipate the mainstream liberal media to put a detrimental spin on my decision not to seek a fifth term," Bachmann concludes. But here she's probably wrong. There's nothing the mainstream liberal media would like better than for the highly quotable Rep. Bachmann to continue talking to the mainstream liberal media. What other rank-and-file House member, after all, would get this level of attention for simply announcing her retirement?

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian, and plays in an Austin rock band.

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