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Michele Bachmann Tax Day rally draws small crowd

Michele Bachmann speaks during a Tea Party rally at the State House, Monday, April 18, 2011 in Columbia, S.C. Gerry Melendez,AP Photo/The State

An estimated 300 people gathered in South Carolina for a tax day tea party rally Monday, a smaller-than-expected crowd for the event featuring Gov. Nikki Haley and Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann, who is considering a presidential campaign, told the crowd that President Obama is Wall Street's "best friend," according to the Associated Press.

"When [Obama] came in as the president of the United States, he decided we had to have this $700 billion bailout of Wall Street. He's the best friend that Wall Street has ever had," she said. (She appears to be referencing the TARP bailout, which was passed under then-President George W. Bush in October 2008, not under Mr. Obama.) Bachmann also reiterated her opposition to raising the debt ceiling, insisting that exceeding it would not hobble the country despite Obama administration claims to the contrary.

South Carolina would be a key state for Bachmann should she enter the presidential race, since it comes early in the nominating calendar and has a relatively socially-conservative electorate. Bachmann is expected to announce her presidential plans in June.

She told reporters after the speech that she "can't wait to go up against President Obama," according to the AP, adding: "I think that it would be a pleasure to debate the issues with President Obama because he has a lot to answer for."

The turnout made the event a "dud" in the words of influential South Carolina political blogger Will Folks, who wrote that "[p]oliticians, political operatives and members of the media came close to outnumbering attendees" at the event.

For her part, Haley called on rally attendees to approve bills mandating voters show photo identification, according to The State.

Rallies were held around the country Monday in conjunction with tax day, but they didn't only involve Tea Party activists. Liberal groups held rallies calling for companies like Exxon and Bank of America to pay their fair share of taxes and for tax rates on the wealthiest Americans to be raised.

Potential Republican presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty, have spoken at tax day rallies dating back to last Friday, April 15th - which would have been tax day this year had it not been pushed back to Monday this year.

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