May 9, 2011 When TV news shows want somebody to enthusiastically rip into President Obama, Michele Bachmann is a reliable choice. The Minnesota congresswoman is a polarizing figure — and a Tea Party favorite. But her first presidential campaign experience came from a place today's political observers would least expect.
May 7, 2011 The African-American businessman and Tea Party favorite has never held an elective office, but he's been making the rounds in Iowa and New Hampshire. The former Godfather's Pizza CEO got his first taste of the national spotlight at a 1994 town hall meeting, when he became known as the "pizza man" who helped derail the Clinton health care plan.
May 3, 2011 The Indiana governor's first campaign was at Boys State in the late '60s. Tellingly, he picked a candidate and managed the campaign rather than run himself. In fact, until he ran for governor in 2004, Daniels stayed behind the scenes. "This was something I was interested in," he says, "but [it] wasn't an obsession with me."
May 1, 2011 In the early 1990s, the political establishment in Wasilla, Alaska, enlisted Palin as a moderate counterweight to the growing anti-government, anti-tax movement. The establishment ended up regretting it.
May 1, 2011 After losing an election for senior class president, the former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China dropped out of high school and joined a rock band — not your typical path into Republican presidential politics. But friends and colleagues say Huntsman hasn't often done things by the book.
April 26, 2011 The former Massachusetts governor's first brush with big-time politics came in 1962, when his father ran for governor of Michigan. When Mitt entered politics, it was as a centrist, like his father. That came after a successful business career, also like his father. But Romney hopes to do one thing his father never did — add president to his resume.
April 25, 2011 The former Minnesota governor says the late Republican icon is his political inspiration. While that's a safe sentiment these days, it wasn't 30 years ago in Pawlenty's blue-collar neighborhood. As he recalls it, everybody there was a working-class Democrat — people who thought Republicans were out to get them.
April 25, 2011 There are at least a dozen Republicans considering a run for the White House in 2012. Over the next two weeks, NPR will be profiling some of them to find out what first sparked their interest in politics. For some, it was a defining moment; for others, a political hero or mentor. Try your hand at matching that "spark" to the politician.