Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann says she’s encouraged by the reception she’s getting in Iowa, and she’s inching closer to a run for the White House.

“It’s great to be in Iowa.  Is there any other place?” Bachmann said Wednesday afternoon at a statehouse rally for parents who “home school” their children.  She’s among a handful of potential presidential candidates who’ll appear at an event this Saturday that’s been organized by Iowa Congressman Steve King. 

As she has on previous trips to the state, Bachmann is stressing her Iowa roots. “I’m an Iowan myself.  I was born here in Waterloo and I was raised here in Waterloo and Cedar Falls.  I’m also a seventh-generation Iowan,” Bachman said during a two-minute-long question-and-answer session with Iowa reporters this week.  “Our family were early pioneers to Iowa.”

Bachmann has said she wants to be “part of the conversation” about replacing President Obama with a Republican in 2012. Some of Bachmann’s supporters indicate the timing of her decision on a race for the White House is partly dependent on the timing of televised debates featuring the roster of Republicans who’re running for president.  The first two debates of the season are scheduled in early May.

“There’s a natural order when a decision will have to be made.  Clearly, sometime before this summer a decision will have to be made,” Bachmann told Iowa reporters Wednesday. “And so it’s been exciting to come back home to Iowa and talk to people about the issues that are important to them.”

Bachmann met privately with the 24 Republicans who serve in the Iowa Senate. After that meeting, Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley of Chariton called Bachmann a “dynamo.”

“Our members were very enthused with her enthusiasm, her grasp of issues,” McKinley said.

But Bachmann’s just one of several potential presidential candidates who’ve already made a trek to the statehouse to court Republican legislators. “You almost trip over presidential candidates in this state,” McKinley joked. “And we welcome them all to share their ideas.” 

A half-dozen Republicans who’ve said at one point or another that they’re contemplating a presidential campaign will appear Saturday at an event in Des Moines organized by Congressman Steve King.  Bachmann is on that list, along with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Godfather’s Pizza C.E.O. Herman Cain and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.

A private gathering of 600 pastors in Des Moines is drawing many of the same candidates.