Rollins steps down in Bachmann campaign shake-up
September 5th, 2011
09:52 PM ET
11 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.

Watch Anderson Cooper 360° weeknights 8pm ET. For the latest from AC360° click here.

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

    68 years old? Working for someone who is as crazy, bigoted, and clueless about American History as Bachmann would be stressful for a 28 year old.

    September 5, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  2. Aaron

    Was this guy one of the gays that her clinic converted to straight with payment from Medicaid? If so, maybe he fell off of the straight wagon.

    September 5, 2011 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  3. Discernment


    Both Ed Rollins and David Polyansky have come to realize that Michele Bachmann is far too much of a lose cannon and really don't care how people view her warped and wacky ways. So they are bolting.

    Bachmann may not win party nomination in September 2012; but she is still running to be a V.P. pick, or a Secretary of State, or Defense Secretary, or any other high level cabinet post assuming she do not get the GOP nomination in 2012.

    September 5, 2011 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  4. Dr Howard and Dr Fine

    What a crock. Typical all talk GOP. Health reason my butt. Then why did he take the job in the first place? This wasn't his first campaign, The kind of leadership the GOP has:Quitters and blowhards. So we'll see him on CNN again with his expert judgement and advise on things he couldn't do himself.

    September 5, 2011 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  5. Wise1Speak


    (1.) – In six weeks Ed Rollins will quit his advisory roll with the Bachmann camp.

    (2.) – By early December 2011 Ed Rollins will take a position with one of the cable-news channels (CNN, MSNBC, FOX).

    (3.) – If Romney takes the New Hampshire Primary and also does well in Nevada caucuses, he will then have enough cash on hand to hire Ed Rollins for a significant campaign position. (A position requiring less than 10-hours per day).

    September 6, 2011 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  6. Surprised?

    This ship is sinking!

    September 6, 2011 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  7. huxley

    It takes a lot of work to cover up all the crazy.

    September 6, 2011 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  8. Dave A.

    Rollins finally realized what a nut dub she really is. It's mental health not physical health

    September 6, 2011 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  9. D

    Uh oh, stick a fork in this one, it's done cooking!

    September 6, 2011 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  10. LouAz

    This applies to Frau Bachmann:
    "Ordinarily (s)he was insane, but (s)he had lucid moments when (s)he was merely stupid.” – Heinrich Heine (1797 – 1856)

    September 6, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  11. David

    C'mon Mr. Rollins, you are way too smart and too good of a man to be entangled with Bachmann.

    September 6, 2011 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  12. cardog

    Nice spin on this story. We will all see the decline of Michelle Bachmann as the months go by. There is just so much craziness, idiotcy, that truly intelligent people can take. This includes Bachmann's own staff.

    September 6, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  13. TangledThorns

    After what Rollins said about Palin he should of been fired long ago. Rollins is nothing more than establishment slime.

    September 6, 2011 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  14. Spock500

    "At the end of the day, I'm not going away . . . " Really, Mr. Rollins? You're a political has-been . . . a lunatic political has-been . . a lunatic political has-been who now has an infarct (+/- a senile plaque or two) in the frontal cortex . . . Don't you get it? Why don't you do yourself and the rest of America a favor and go home, retire, and take your Plavix? Enough is enough, all ready!

    September 6, 2011 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  15. mypitts2

    He joined the campaign this June, well after the stroke, and he knew what the pressures would be. Rollins was one of the GOP heavy-hitters who gave Bachmann's long-shot campaign credibility. This move is a clear signal: The establishment thinks she's done. Perry will eat her lunch.

    September 6, 2011 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  16. GI Joe

    LOL - she's always had trouble keeping people - even as just a representative she had constant turnover because of her little egotistical hissies. Poooooorrrrr Babyyyyyyyy

    September 6, 2011 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  17. Me3

    Bachman's campaign needs another shake up if she is going to be successful: Get rid of Bachmann. Out of a country of 300 Million people, how did the GOP come up with this nut case? Michelle Bachmann is the F5 of stupidity. She makes Sarah Palin look like Albert Einstein.

    September 6, 2011 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  18. RJP3

    Only advanced age can excuse what a poor choice it is to work to elect this woman – a disgrace on his reputation.

    September 6, 2011 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  19. Marc

    It matters not who is or is not on Bachmann's campaign team. That airhead does not have a prayer of being elected president. It is no great accomplishment to be elected to public office in Minnesota, the state that elected Jesse Ventura as their governor. Bachmann is just Palin with half a brain (as opposed to no brain at all like Palin.) Teabaggers are a loser party aimed at destroying America and establishing an intolerant American Taliban government that dictates morals and philosophy according to their interpretation of the Wholly Babble.

    September 6, 2011 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  20. LNB

    Axe the Dept. of Education? Axe minimum wage? Axe yourself out of public life, Bachmann. Go back to your farm subsides and evil clinic subsides. Invite Palin to go with you into reparation re-hab. How to purge evil from your soul. How to become human. How to work for the good of humanity. Group reparation on how not to be scoundrels. Community Service for all of you. See how it really is.

    September 6, 2011 02:32 am at 2:32 am |

    It's no secret that Bachmann is lousy to work with. Rollins is smart to to jump ship, he knows a sinking ship don't pay it's bills.

    September 6, 2011 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  22. mch

    Ed, run fast and don't turn back.

    Read Bachmann: Why is there a Department of Education?

    Ed, good job.

    September 6, 2011 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  23. Dixie

    Where have I been? I had no idea that Ed Rollins worked for the Bible thumping Bachman. I had respect for him. Sorry, I take it all back.

    September 6, 2011 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
  24. Adam

    CNN should never give this man a second of air time. If he supports Bachmann it is clear he is an idiot

    September 6, 2011 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  25. xlntcat

    Well, Bachmann has been unable to keep her Congressional Office staffed burning through 5 or 6 Chief of Staffs and have reportedly the most disorganized, inept office in Congress. Rollins, however, did a better than expected job of reigning in Bat-Crazy, old lady Bachmann and grooming her as a more acceptable republican candidate. However, her long past history of deciet, greed, corruption and radicalism cannot be expunged.

    September 6, 2011 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
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