Rollins steps down in Bachmann campaign shake-up
September 5th, 2011
09:52 PM ET
3 years ago

Rollins steps down in Bachmann campaign shake-up

(CNN) – Michele Bachmann campaign manager Ed Rollins is stepping into an advisory role and deputy manager David Polyansky is leaving the campaign, Rollins said Monday.

Rollins, who’s 68 and had a stroke a year and a half ago, cited health reasons for his decision.

"I just don't have the endurance to go 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week anymore," Rollins told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday.

Rollins said he still has great affection for Bachmann and pledged to give her counsel moving forward.

"At the end of the day, I'm not going away," Rollins said.

Rollins has been with the campaign since early June. The hire was a big get for Bachmann, as Rollins helped former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee spearhead a campaign that eventually won the Iowa caucuses in 2008.

"Ed is moving away from the demanding day-to-day operations of the campaign and into a serious advisor role," press secretary Alice Stewart said in a statement. "He is fantastic and will continue to be invaluable on the campaign."

Late Monday night, Bachmann's team announced Keith Nahigian, current campaign strategist, as the new interim campaign manager.

"Keith has played a vital role in the success we have had to date and I'm confident he can lead us to a strong finish in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and across the country," Bachmann said in a statement.

Politico first reported deputy campaign manager Polyansky’s departure earlier Monday, saying he had "strategic differences" with Bachmann.

When asked about the conflict, Rollins told CNN that there are always differences in a campaign.

"David did a superb job. He ran the straw poll in Iowa," Rollins said. "I think David just decided–because we worked so well together–that he was going out, too."

However, Rollins said Texas Gov. Rick Perry's recent entrance into the race has made a difference in Bachmann's campaign.

"Legitimately, it's a Romney-Perry race," Rollins said. "I think she's the third candidate at this point in time, which is way different and better than we thought when we started this thing. She's very much in this thing."

He said Bachmann's key role in the next couple of weeks will be her performances in the debates.

– CNN's Steve Brusk and Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Michele Bachmann • TV-Anderson Cooper 360
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. jt_flyer

    Stop trying to ram your religious dogma down our throats.

    September 6, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Paul1st

    Rollins is beginning his move to "unbiased political analyst" so he can make the big bucks on television as the election season approaches. Easy money, less work.

    September 6, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. Scott

    This is Rollins way of saying Michelle Bachmann's campaign has peaked and that it is mostly downhill from here since she does not have much of a chance challenging Romney, or for the matter, others such as Perry or Paul given her lack of experience. I would much rather see Nikki Haley than Bachmann in office. Personally, I don't plan to vote for Perry. So it will be interesting to see if Republicans really want to win or simply will put up a sacrificial lamb for Barack Obama to beat.

    September 6, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. Jay

    I just don't have the endurance to go 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week anymore," Rollins told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday.

    Did you not know that there would be before you signed on to be the manager of her campaign? Is that how limited your intelligence is?

    Or maybe you woke up and realized how electable your candidate is?

    September 6, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. ?

    He probably can't stand the woman! Who can? She's a mess!

    September 6, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  6. franticsky

    Its high time that these obnoxious third class weeds like Bachmann are given a tight kick on their behinds and send them on a hike...

    September 6, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. Dieter Zerressen

    What a campaing slogan: "We're number 3". "We're number 3".

    September 6, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. 2cents4free

    Larry L Took the words out of my mouth when he said:

    "I actually wondered how long he'd be able to pretend he had a real candidate. You can work really hard for ideology, even the right-wing and radical version Rollins promotes, but how long can you work for a raving idiot?"

    September 6, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. Joshua Ludd

    What is the state of this nation and its political system that this woman is a serious candidate for president?

    September 6, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. paul

    Ed, was it the $2 a gallon gas promised by Bachman that made you jump ship???? Or was it the thousands of other "comments" that Bachman has made? When you get closer to the nomination then real people that vote actually want the truth. She doesn't have it and Ed saw he would soon be out of a job.

    September 6, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Mike's Opinion

    Ok, looks like its about time for her to drop out and get back to figuring out why G_d is happy with some parts of the US, but not others. Why is Texas not getting any rain and having fires? Why does her state have floods every year? What a moron.

    September 6, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. Chief Media Urologist

    And when President Michelle Bachmann fails to deliver the jobs....it's President Obama's fault.

    And when President Rick Perry fails to deliver the jobs...it's the Democrats' in Congress fault.

    And when President Sarah Palin fails to deliver the jobs....it was Bill Clinton's fault.

    And when President Mitt Romney fails to deliver the jobs...it was the mainstream media's fault.

    Whatever these jokers are telling us today....use history to predict the future.

    September 6, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. Terry

    Talk about a second or third tier campaign. At a recent Bachmann Rally, the crowd was shouting "Michelle Who - Michelle Who". Rollins is off looking for a better candidate, otherwise he can kiss his expertise claims goodbye.

    September 6, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. AR1000

    Ed Rollins should stop supporting crazy candidates. I agree, he is an intelligent man.

    In 2006, Ed Rollins was working for Katherine Harris Senate campaign. He had jumped the ship early, and Bill Nelson beat up Katherine Harris (60% – 39%)

    Looks like Crazy Bachmann campaign days are numbered. Continue the crazy talk, your campaign is going to end in a complete halt.

    September 6, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. jb1963

    He is smart to quit. Who wants to work for a crazy woman who says a hurricane and earthquake is a sign from God to Obama but months of fires in Texas means nothing.

    The republicans and Tea party are absolutely insane. They are domestic terrorist who need to be stopped.

    September 6, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. The_Truth

    And boom goes the dynamite.....

    September 6, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. JJ

    Third in the campaign is putting it mildly. Her campaign has always been a fringe exercise. Now she's reduced to the same thing McSame did in 2008 - flailing.

    September 6, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. gt

    ed has not pick a winner since in 30 yrs...he is old news...

    September 6, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. emsr

    Even as a Democrat I have always respected Rollins as a rational, thoughtful Republican. I look forward to reading his columns again. I have to wonder what he thinks of the current Republican party and the Tea Party.

    I think Bachmann will miss him even if she doesn't think so.

    September 6, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. Former Republican, now an Independent

    If I were Ed Rollins, I would abandon ship before Bachmann can sink it. Bachmann is off the deep-end of extremist ideals and hasn't put forth one workable solution to the country's problems.

    September 6, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. once upon a horse

    I wondered from the get go WHY Ed Rollins would eant to work on Bachmann's campaign anyway. She has about as much chnce to be POTUS as I have and that's almost ZERO. We need a president that attracts more than the right wing fringe crazies of the GOP who can't see the forest for the trees. Bachmann was fun but now she's about done. I think Rollins may have realized that.

    September 6, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. drew

    And so begins the slow, inevitable implosion of the Bachmann campaign. Well, she got several months of free personal brand-building, so she can keep getting re-elected to Congress; that's all she wanted anyway.

    September 6, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. C. Howe Yulikit

    And when Perry asks him to be a part of his campaign, Ed will heroically risk his health because it's so important that he be involved. Baloney.

    September 6, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. CSD

    Rats fleeing a sinking ship.

    September 6, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. Cedar Rapids

    'AlaskaPalin – At this point. When palin gets in all others will be history. Then in the general; the first lady winning by a landslide. No more crony capitalism. No more abortion. No more homosexual marriage,no more racism, no more of the medias left wing progressive bias. Prosperity and jobs for all!'
    Thank you for that, I enjoy a nice piece of sarcasm and needed the chuckle.

    'Maude – What a refreshing canidate. I just donated $25,000 to her campaign'
    A fool and their money are soon parted.

    September 6, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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