updated 11/4/2010 6:55:47 PM ET 2010-11-04T22:55:47

Self-proclaimed Tea Party leader Michele Bachmann's bid for a top Republican post in the House received a cool reaction Thursday from Speaker-to-be John Boehner, an early test of how GOP leaders will treat the anti-establishment movement's winners in Tuesday's elections.

"Constitutional conservatives deserve a loud and clear voice in leadership!" Bachmann, R-Minn., who founded the Tea Party Caucus, said in a one-paragraph Facebook announcement that she is running for GOP conference chairman.

House Republican leaders don't disagree. But that doesn't mean they want the hyperbolic Bachmann being a spokeswoman for the new majority during the 2012 election cycle.

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Boehner, aware of the role tea partiers played in making him the next House speaker, is endorsing no one. His lieutenants are lining up behind Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, leaving no doubt that Hensarling — and not Bachmann — is the leadership favorite to chair the GOP conference.

"There are few who have done as much for the Republican team as Jeb," the expected House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, said in a statement.

Departing conference chairman Mike Pence of Indiana also endorsed Hensarling, calling him "one of the most principled conservatives in Congress."

"Jeb Hensarling demonstrated his willingness to challenge Republican leaders and members to embrace a vision for limited government, fiscal discipline and traditional moral values," said Pence, who is stepping down to pursue a possible gubernatorial or presidential bid in 2012.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said Bachmann is a talented communicator who would represent the views of the more than 30 newly elected tea partiers who helped return the House majority to Republicans.

"The new majority-makers need to have a voice inside the leadership team," King said.

Hensarling is said to have lined up dozens of endorsements for the leadership elections scheduled to take place after Congress returns Nov. 15.

The tea-leaf reading of the Tea Party's role in the next Congress illustrates the delicate choice facing the incoming GOP House leaders: How, if at all, to acknowledge and reward the freshman lawmakers who call themselves tea partiers and were instrumental in returning the House majority to Republicans.

The relationship, by definition, is awkward. Many of the tea partiers won their seats by campaigning against entrenched Washington power brokers, like Boehner, Cantor, Pence and other senior Republicans. Some want to keep the channels open to what's expected to be a distinctly uncompromising freshman class.

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House GOP leaders have varying views of whether any overture, symbolic or otherwise, is warranted. Still in the discussion stages is a proposal to establish a sort of at-large leadership post for a representative of the freshman class, but no decision has been made, according to GOP officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Bachmann's contribution to the GOP's election gains is undisputed and GOP leaders widely praise her fundraising prowess. The Minnesota Republican is the House's top earner, bringing in $11 million in the two-year election cycle for her own campaign and giving out $130,000 to other GOP candidates in the campaign's closing months, election records show.

But she's also made GOP leaders cringe multiple times in the last two years with over-the-top and uninformed statements.

They have not taken up her claim, for example, that President Barack Obama's upcoming trip to India will cost "$200 million per day." Asked on CNN where she got that number, she attributed the figure to unnamed press reports.

White House spokesman Amy Brundage said the $200 million figure has "no basis in reality" and is "wildly inflated." In the tradition of past administrations, the White House declined to provide cost estimates.

A rare glimpse of the cost of foreign travel by a U.S. president came from a 1999 General Accounting Office report on trips by President Bill Clinton in 1998. It estimated the cost of a March 22-April 2 visit to Africa as at least $42.8 million, $10.5 million for an April 16-20 visit to Chile and $18.8 million for a June 25-July 3 trip to China, excluding Secret Service expenses.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Introducing the new GOP House leadership

  1. Closed captioning of: Introducing the new GOP House leadership

    >> and congressman, you heard michele bachmann . you heard my friend, tom brokaw . what happens now? we've had similar shifts in power. incumbent president, a democrat, takes it on the chin during the midterms. big population growth among the republicans. but then the national pendulum swings the other way. how do you prevent being outmaneuvered by an incumbent democratic president in two years?

    >> brian, tonight's election i think speaks to the fact that the american people want a federal government that listens to them. and if you look at what this administration has been about over the last 20 months, there's been all kinds of promises and all kinds of spending, but yet no results. people want to see more jobs for more americans . we're going to be focused on delivering results, and in fact, most americans want to see the return of opportunity. they're willing to take responsibility. and they like success. so it is time for us, i think all in this town, to work towards that end. it is time for this administration to reassess in terms of what it felt were the right policies. the american people have flatly rejected them and there's been no results.

    >> as whip, you come from the more traditional ranks of the gop. what happens when these two populations merge with the next congress, when some of the names and faces we're reporting as victorious in these local house races arrive and become of the gop in the house?

    >> this election has been marked by a real intensity around the fiscal issues. if you look at the tea party movement, it stands for taxed enough already. i think most americans are there. they understand that washington really doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. and that's where it has prompted republican candidates across the spectrum to focus on the fiscal issues, to stop the spending, reign in government, return to a constitutionally limited government , and then focus on the private sector and small businesses to grow jobs again. those are the kinds of results that the american people have been without over the last 20 months and what the people have said tonight, listen to us. we want results, we want jobs. and you know what? we believe that american can return back to a focus on opportunity.

    >> congressman eric cantor of virginia, thank you, sir, very much for being with us tonight. as all eyes become fixed on the next congress and


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