Michele Bachmann is making a serious play to win the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The Minnesota Republican representative invited the entire conference - 11,000 attendees - to a meet and greet late Thrusday afternoon. Participants lined up - and the line was long - to get a picture taken with Bachmann, get a Bachmann jersey (they were told they could only have one if they immediately put it on) and a ticket for a free beer in the hotel lobby.
The move seems geared toward helping Bachmann, who is considering a presidential run, do well in the CPAC straw poll of potential presidential candidates. Conference attendees are asked who they want to see become the Republican nominee; the winner gets favorable press as a candidate who had captured grassroots activists' hearts.
Bachmann is hardly the only potential candidate shopping for votes: One Ron Paul supporter told Hotsheet that after he posted on a Paul forum that he lacked the money to attend the conference, he was sent $330 to make the trip from Austin. And there are rampant rumors that other candidates have paid for candidates to attend to vote for them as well.
Brian Montopoli is a senior political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of his posts here.