An independent women’s organization believes Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann made a real splash at Monday night’s GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire. (See earlier story

The tea party favorite used her appearance in Monday night’s GOP debate to reveal that she had filed the necessary papers for candidacy — expanding the current field of Republican hopefuls to eight. Bachmann says she decided to jump into the 2012 Republican presidential sweepstakes because she believes it is “the right thing to do.”

Meanwhile, a number of analysts conclude Bachmann and frontrunner Mitt Romney were the big winners in that debate. And Hadley Heath, a spokeswoman for the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), thinks Bachmann’s announcement made a big splash.

“I think it was an interesting way to kick off [a campaign]. In terms of her decision to do that on the program, it was interesting,” she comments. “I think it made headlines, and that was probably her goal.”

But Heath thinks Bachmann’s chance for success will depend greatly on Sarah Palin’s decision.

“They will kind of split a tea party base or a base of…women within the conservative movement that would like to see a female candidate,” she predicts. “I think her success will depend greatly on whether or not Sarah Palin runs. Now, that said, she is very different from Sarah Palin. I think she really established herself as a legitimate candidate. I thought she added to the debate, [and] I thought she looked really good.”

But despite the fact that Bachmann’s debate answers were heartfelt and intelligent, the IWA spokeswoman thinks the Minnesota congresswoman is still a long shot.