In week one, Bachmann hits the ground running
June 29th, 2011
04:46 PM ET
11 years ago

In week one, Bachmann hits the ground running

Lexington, South Carolina (CNN) - No one can accuse Michele Bachmann of being lazy.

The third day of Bachmann's presidential rollout, which began on Monday in Iowa, has been her busiest so far, with rallies planned in four of South Carolina's biggest media markets.

And that's with temperatures hovering above the 90-degree mark.

When not traveling with her staff aboard a private jet hired to get her from Iowa to New Hampshire and finally to South Carolina, the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota is cruising around the state by bus, with a press van in tow.

At each stop along the way, including a rally in a sweltering Lexington parking lot, she has addressed sizeable and enthusiastic crowds with pointed attacks against President Barack Obama and promises to restore the American economy.

Bachmann has stayed after the rallies at length to pose for photographs, sign autographs and kiss babies - all without breaking a sweat.

She wants to make it known, it seems, that her rapid ascent in the polls is no fluke.

One supporter approached Bachmann in Lexington and told her, "You're the real deal!"

"I am, sir," she responded firmly.

Bachmann's husband serves as somewhat of a body person during these campaign stops, hovering constantly by her side and supervising her interaction with the crowds. Sometimes he gets a little too close for comfort.

"Marcus, you got to step back a little bit, you're pushing me off the stage, dear," she admonished him at one point while signing autographs and teetering on the edge of a small dais.

Later, he shielded his wife from the bright sun with an expansive golf umbrella. He also shielded her from the media when necessary.

Bachmann, a fierce crusader for limited government, has worked hard to avoid repeated questions from reporters who want to know more about the income she earned from federal subsides to a family farm and Medicaid payouts to her husband's clinic in Minnesota.

When one reporter Wednesday began to ask a question about the Medicaid payouts, Bachmann quickly cut her off.

"You know what, we're not answering those questions," she said, turning away to sign a Gadsden flag being waved by a nearby supporter.

The campaign put out a paper statement on the matter instead.

In a sign that Bachmann-world is probably not hurting for money, her rallies have been high quality campaign productions featuring press risers, glossy signage and TV-friendly lighting. It is not a low-budget operation.

The campaign press secretary, Alice Stewart, is distributing thumb drives emblazoned with the Bachmann logo to local reporters that include biographical information about the candidate and a hi-res headshot.

The events themselves are being stage-managed by veteran campaign advance man Keith Nahigian, who last worked for John McCain's presidential effort in 2008.

But behind-the-scenes, Bachmann is also putting in some political legwork.

Over the last several days, she has spoken by phone with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Jim DeMint - two tea party-friendly Republicans whose endorsements are being sought by all of the presidential candidates.

On Wednesday morning, she had a private meeting with longtime South Carolina GOP fundraiser Robert Royall and two Charleston-area conservative activists, Anne Badgley and Cyndi Mosteller. (Bachmann might not have known that Mosteller supported Democratic candidate Vincent Sheeheen instead of Haley during last year's gubernatorial race.)

Before arriving in Lexington, Bachmann chatted with two of the area's leading conservative activists, county GOP Chairman Rich Bolen and Columbia Tea Party Chairman Allen Olsen.

And on the way to her third stop of the day in Greenville, the Bachmann bus pulled over in Laurens County to pick up a group of upstate tea party activists including Greenville Tea Party Chairman Chris Lawton.

Bachmann will finish her South Carolina barnstorm on Wednesday evening at a town hall meeting in Rock Hill.

Filed under: 2012 • Michele Bachmann • South Carolina
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Hypocrisy is her number one qualification. That is good enough for tea baggers and republicans.

    June 29, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. ConservaFASCISTS

    It'll be nice if a 18 wheeler hit the ground and ran her over.

    June 29, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People

    Seems to me manic Michelle has a day job and I am not sure the job description includes begging slack jawed hillbillies for their vote.

    Or is this one of the weeks off that Cantor gave the House to "keep in touch with the constituents"?

    IDoesn't she represent someplace in Minnesota?

    June 29, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Jim in San Mateo

    I hope this is the beginning of the flame-out. The woman is clueless. When a man runs for president, we want intelligence. When a woman runs for president we want this????

    June 29, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Sylvia Saint

    She has stopped calling the president "Un-American" because Ed Rollins told her to. However, she just can't keep her us – vs- him tendencies under control.

    "I want to send our Hawaiian President back to Hawaii". That's a quote from her.

    Now, the man is American. To be "Hawaiian" he'd have to be born to parents of native Hawaiian bloodlines or he'd have to have been born there when that area was not viewed as a part of the United States hundreds a years ago.

    It seems clear to me that by referring to the President in this way, she is doubling down, albeit via a dogwhistle, on the "he's not one of us" undercurrent.

    June 29, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  6. S. In California - Obama 2012

    Question Michele Bachmann. How many minorities do you employ? My guess would be none.

    June 29, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. Jake

    not answering questions about benefiting from Medicaid? well that's confusing! good luck staying on message if you choose to remain silent on that question!

    June 29, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. thomas

    The Wall Street Journal reported the other day (here it is, but it’s behind a paywall) that as of his last disclosure form, House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor owned shares in a mutual fund that is short long-dated U.S. Treasury bonds. He is, in other words, betting that interest rates will rise, and hoping to make money off the fall in prices that would cause. (For my ancient primer on why bond prices fall when interest rates rise, see here .)

    June 29, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Joanie

    I am an 87 year old lifelong Republican & I am deeply ashamed that all our women's rights movement has been able to produce ate the likes of Sarah & Michelle. Sarah my dear you're not a Mama grizzly. More like a gerbil.

    June 29, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. deandake

    "In week one, Bachmann hits the ground running".......I con only hope it is a long run off a short pier. Her and her money grubbing husband. Hypocrite extreme! No government subsidies she says and yet her farm and her husbands "clinic" have taken over $300000.00 in government money? Just another crook trying to get into office.

    June 29, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. bb

    What does it make one, being the winner of a losing, irrelevant party? And irrelevant loser, CNN.

    June 29, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. MInnesotan

    Everyone in Minnesota thinks Bachmann is crazy!!! Don't believe anything she says, we don't.

    June 29, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Al-NY,NY

    "hits the ground running"....and stumbles on her own ineptness. She hasn't got a chance but I hope she still gets the nod. Obama will wipe the floor with this simpleton

    June 29, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. Ken in NC

    Bachmann and Palin should find a good South Carolina mud hole and just throw down. We need a good old fashion back country Mud Fight between two Alley Cats.

    June 29, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. wishing

    Is she missing any votes while she goes around the country?

    June 29, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. Ibrahim

    To believe or even think that this lady is capable of the high level cognitive processing that the job of potus required is beyond idiocy ! She does not have the intelect ! The judgment to be president of the most powerful country in the world ! Good luck michelle ! One never knows

    June 29, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. Ben

    "Bachmann, a fierce crusader for limited government..." Except when she calls for a constitutional amendment defining marriage and thus intruding into everyone's personal lives like the Taliban morality police. These Teapublicans are soooooooooo hypocritical it makes "Rotten in Denmark" sound like a upscale perfume.

    June 29, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. Proud American

    America needs to get back to its roots established by our founders! Bachmann is the one to do it! Bachmann in 2012 Bring pride back to America and American jobs!

    June 29, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. once upon a horse

    @ S. in Calif
    I don't support this right wing loon AT ALL, but what minority would really WANT to work for her or Palin? Maybe somebody like Herman Cain or Alan West but that's about it.

    June 29, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. Sir Craig

    Wait a minute...she's now running a (hopeless) presidential campaign nearly 18 months before voting takes place, yet I seem to recall she was supposedly the representative for some district in MN. Hope those constituents are happy with what they voted for, because representation isn't what they're getting.

    June 29, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. Lenny Pincus

    "You know, we're not answering those questions." I love that. It shows how neutered media types have become. There are huge questions about exactly what this woman stands for. Primacy of the Bible over the Constitution. Illegality of homosexuality. Conservative litmus test for "Americanism." She runs a company that provides "Christian" counseling that accepts Medicare dollars and subscribes to a "gay-cure" philosophy. She has worked with white supremecists on publications. She subscribes to family values yet ripped her own family apart with her virulent anti-gay stances–ask her gay sister. She is a danger to America.

    June 29, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  22. herpderples

    When I hear people say that "anyone would be better than Obama", I can't help but cringe, knowing they would prefer Michelle Bachmann. I guess people don't realize that there's not much of a difference these days between the hot picks in both parties.

    June 29, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  23. Livio

    Thank you Peter Hamby for this piece.

    Yours is the first CNN piece that I have seen that has not treated Michelle Bachmann or other conservative women with paternalistic sexism.

    Why liberals have so much hate for women is hard to understand.

    June 29, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. Texas Doc

    So nice of her dad to campaign with her.

    June 29, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    She hit the ground? So did it convince her to finally believe in gravity or does she still think it's "just a theory"?

    June 29, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
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