Bachmann talks about potential 2012 coattails, deflects Pawlenty slams
July 23rd, 2011
07:50 PM ET
12 years ago

Bachmann talks about potential 2012 coattails, deflects Pawlenty slams

Marshalltown, Iowa (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann appears to be basking in the glow that comes with rising popularity and front-of-the-pack status in Iowa.

On Saturday, the three-term Minnesota congresswoman assumed the role of Republican presidential nominee - with Senate candidates potentially riding her coattails to victory. She answered questions about what kind of cabinet secretaries she’d pick, and she employed a tactic used previously by many a front-runner candidate: deflect political attacks from opponents who are running behind.

Bachmann spoke to a small but packed room of voters at a public library in Marshalltown.

A large chunk of her speech was devoted to blasting President Barack Obama’s economic policies. To help do that, the congresswoman did arithmetic on a dry-erase board – teacher-to-student style – to tell the crowd about specifics of government spending, borrowing and debt.

The president is "refusing to make cuts,” she said at one point. “And I just got off the phone with John Boehner who's the speaker of the House. And John walked away from the fight today.”

During a question-and-answer session, the candidate was asked how she’d get Congress to go along with a potential Bachmann administration.

"As the nominee of the Republican Party, I will make it my goal to elect another 13 senators who are like minded," she responded.

“I will campaign for them, raise money for them," she added.

"This isn't about me and vanity and I want to be president of the United States. This is about making the country better."

The congresswoman was also asked: how would she pick a cabinet and advisers?

"Number one will be competence on the issues. And experience on the issues. And I will have a preference for people in the private sector," she said. Among her other criteria: officials who love the Constitution and practical people “who figured out how to make something work.”

"They are there let me know what their advice is," Bachmann said.

Meanwhile, the candidate is avoiding direct political combat with fellow GOP contender Tim Pawlenty.

The former Minnesota governor has repeatedly attacked Bachmann as not having any executive experience, and having a record of “failed amendments” in Congress.

After her speech, CNN asked Bachmann about Pawlenty’s slams. Bachmann would not take them on directly –- or address Pawlenty by name.

“Well I’ve been very proud of the record I that I’ve had in Washington, D.C. And also during my time in Minnesota,” she said. “What I have focused on is going against the agenda of growing big government in Washington. I’ve been very effective. I’ve brought the voice of the people that I serve in Minnesota to the halls of Congress.”

Bachmann continued: “I know how to deal with turning the economy around because I’ve dealt with that as a federal tax lawyer. I understand the devastation of high taxes on employers. And I also, from the point of view, of being a small business employer myself, I’ve created jobs.”

Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Michele Bachmann • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Whoosh

    Not one specific answer to very simple questions. She hasn't a clue!! C'mon people, this woman is a fraud. A dangerous one at that.

    July 24, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  2. Kris Jackson

    Sheesh! And just to be clear, we're taking this person seriously now, right?

    July 24, 2011 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  3. logic in LA

    This woman couldn't get a fact correct if it was written on her hand! Obama has proposed 3 Trillion dollars in debt cuts, and Beohner walked out yesterday, not today. But why try to deal with facts- they may cause a migraine.

    July 24, 2011 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  4. CTYank

    "Number one will be competence on the issues." That's funny- that she'd recognize competence if it bit her in the posterior.
    The girl is delusional, thinks that things will work according to her pontifications. Like, don't worry about hitting debt ceiling (because Michelle says it means nothing.) She shouldn't start picking out WH decor yet.

    July 24, 2011 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  5. DonD

    Michele Bachmann is not from the party of Lincoln, Reagan, or any sane conservative ideology. Go away. Please.

    July 24, 2011 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  6. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Wow...only 16 more months of this drivle to go....

    July 24, 2011 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  7. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    I was going to say something pithy and erudite, but that would be mean (she wouldn't understand it).

    July 24, 2011 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  8. Julia

    I am so happy I no longer live in Marshalltown, home of The Republican newspaper. Hopefully the rest of my fellow Iowans aren't also smitten by this tea party windbag from Minnesota. (remember they elected Jesse Ventura as their Governor?!) But then again, during the last presidential cycle, Iowa favored Huckabee!!!!!!!!! For that, all thanks goes to our little Bible Belt located in Pleasantville, IA. To learn more just look up Bob Vander Plaats, The Family Leader Presidential Pledge. Scary stuff!

    July 24, 2011 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  9. Rev Mkell,

    Just what we need another of the Christian Taliban telling how to life our lives, what church to go to, what we can do in private and who to worship! If you think she won't then your a fool!

    July 24, 2011 05:30 am at 5:30 am |

    Bachmann is mentally unstable and she is in mighty big trouble because Snookie Palin wants Bachmann's money and media attention for herself.

    July 24, 2011 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  11. DENNA

    Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann appears to be basking in the glow that comes with rising popularity and front-of-the-pack status in Iowa.
    Really? Heck, I say why not skip the election altogether and let Iowa choose our next president without input from the other 49 states? I mean, Iowa is so much smarter than Illinois, or California, or New York. Why should be even bother going to the polls? (eye rolling sarcasm for the dull-witted conservatives on this thread)

    July 24, 2011 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  12. Hooper

    Wonder if she has pretend friends to in that fantasy world she lives in?

    July 24, 2011 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  13. M Hawkins

    It shouldn't be about electing 13 like minded Senators. It should be about helping the people for that State get the leadership that is aligned with their beliefs and values.

    July 24, 2011 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  14. Kahuna

    Baachmann: I know how to say nebulous, feel good sound bites that say absolutely nothing.

    July 24, 2011 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  15. SCAtheist

    I can't wait to vote for her, coattails and all.

    July 24, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  16. Zious

    We are just a few years away (2015 or 2016) from losing our position as the top nation in the world – economically and militarily. If we want this accelerated then we should elect Michele Bachmann. She will most certainly do the honors of getting us off the top earlier. The good days of America are over. Now starts the century of stagnation and poverty. With politicians constantly writing policies to make the rich richer and leaving the rest of us hang out high and dry we are bound for a hopeless future. Both the parties have took us down this path of destruction. China or the other nations that are growing rapidly is where the innovations will come from and we will become their consumers.

    July 24, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  17. reggie from la

    I sure as hell0 hope he is "refusing to make cuts,!! In that same sentence, I wonder if she mentioned the cuts would be to Social Security and Medicare or did she just red meat "entitlement programs". We all know what that looks like don't we? Or do we just think we do. I won't say death panel, but the Tpart/GOP (they own the GOP ya know) will throw grandma under the bus to get a trophy win on this debt ceiling. She's one of those "clever monsters" who lead the Koch-paid and ignorant by their noses. While she's trashing Obama at every turn, he is at least trying to represent a nation. She wants to be queen or "her nation".

    July 24, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
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