Michele Bachmann has revealed she suffered a miscarriage after an unplanned pregnancy, and says the loss inspired her to become a foster parent to 23 children.
The Minnesota Republican told a town hall crowd in South Carolina on Wednesday that the experience changed her and refocused her family's priorities.
She says the miscarriage was 'devastating' and that it came after she and her husband Marcus already had two children.
Bachmann, who describes herself as '100 percent pro-life,' now has five children of her own.
|Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, wearing her trademark pearls, on the campaign trail in South Carolina, where she told an audience that the media wished to see her 'mud wrestle' with rival Sarah Palin. AFP
She says the miscarriage led to the belief that 'no matter how many children were brought into our life, we would receive them because we are committed to life.'
Fellow Republican candidate Mitt Romney has been criticized for taking too soft a stance on abortion.
Earlier Bachmann claimed that the media want to see her have a 'mud wrestling fight' with fellow Tea Party darling Sarah Palin, who is also staunchly pro-life.
Palin also has five children, and has said the experience the of having a child with Down's Syndrome strengthened her anti-abortion stance.
Bachmann, who is touring the U.S. for support for her White House bid, showed yet more signs that she is growing tired of comparisons with Mrs Palin.
But Mrs Bachmann's latest bizarre campaign trail outburst is unlikely to relieve her of being associated with the gaffe-prone former governor of Alaska.
Speaking at a meeting in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Mrs Bachmann, 55, said of the media: 'They want to see two girls come together and have a mud wrestling fight.
'And I'm not going to give it to 'em. I have great respect and admiration for the Governor.'
The Minnesota representative is seen as arch-rival of Mrs. Palin, who has yet to announce whether she will run in next year's primary contest.
This is because they appeal to the same stripe of deficit-hating, gun-loving social conservatives.
Mrs. Bachman has been keen to stress that she in an ally of the former vice presidential candidate - but there are increasing signs that she may be willing to go to war with her.
A potential turning point in their relationship occurred earlier this month when the congresswoman strategist, Ed Rollins, launched into a harsh critique of Mrs. Palin, describing her as 'not serious'.
There are even claims that Mrs. Bachmann may have already taken many of Mrs. Palin's supporters and is her slightly softer stance may win over more people in the middle.
Although both women's tendency to make gaffes - Mrs. Bachmann kicked off her campaign by inadvertently saying she would suggesting she would work in the 'spirit' of an Iowa serial killer - are equally likely to put off many voters.
On Wednesday, while speaking of the U.S. currency's loss of value in foreign exchange markets, she appeared to blame President Barack Obama for a century's worth of inflation.
'That means the federal government has stolen that money from you. You made it and they stole it from you because they've been printing essentially valueless money and flooding it into the money supply.
|Bachmann (R-MN) announces her candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination at the historic Snowden House June 27, 2011 in Waterloo, Iowa. AFP
||Rival: Fellow Tea Party darling Sarah Palin, at a book signing in Minnesota, yesterday, has yet to announce whether or not she will run for the White House
'I don't stand for that. A dollar in 2011 should be the same as a dollar in 1911. A dollar should be worth a dollar.'
But despite her gaffes, Mrs Bachmann's words seem to please an initially cautious South Carolina audience, whose state is one of the key early nominating contests.
Afterwards many felt she had the right mix of being was exciting enough without being too extreme as to be unelectable.
Of the other candidates, the former governors - Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and Jon Huntsman of Utah - were seen as too boring.
The Tea Party favourites - former senator Rick Santorum, pizza mogul Herman Cain, and Representative Ron Paul of Texas - are thought to be incapable of beating Mr Obama.
But Democrats are not getting too worried by Mrs Bachmann.
They claim her position in the middle of the Republican pool of candidates merely demonstrates how far to the Right the Tea Party movement has dragged the party.
'She's talented. She definitely has an appeal and there's a sense on the Democratic side that it might be even more potent than Sarah Palin,' Jennifer Palmieri, president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, told the Huffington Post.
'But, you know, she is gaffe prone and she's really conservative.
'The idea that Barack Obama can't beat Michele Bachmann is laughable to me.'
'In the last two years of the Obama administration ... you have lost 14 percent of the value of that dollar,' she told a crowd of 800 at an hour-long evening town hall meeting in Rock Hill.
© Daily Mail, London