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.

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

    What a refreshing canidate. I just donated $25,000 to her campaign. All you dumbasses get off her back. Bachmann is so good looking and very intelligent canidate. She would run this country properly.

    September 6, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. Buster Bloodvessel

    He noticed rats were climbing up his pantsleg looking for high ground, and realized the ship was sinking. Ed, it was called the "Titanic." What did you expect?

    September 6, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. jb1963

    If he is going to be an adviser he should advise her to get out and stop taking donations from the poor uninformed right wing voters who vote for party regardless of how bad it is for them.

    September 6, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. jake1969

    Finally...I was shocked when he first signed off for this fruit loop's campaign. He's great and worked for Reagan back in the day. All you have to do is read 'ol Ed Rollins opinion articles over the years to see he's a reasonable and not extreme conservative, and there's no way he seems to fit in with the Bachmann camp. Her charade is fading luckily, and she'll get beat easily by Perry and/or Romney. Heck, even Palin's pulled back ahead of her in most polls.

    September 6, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. Louis in Wisc.

    Let's see less than a hundred people at her last "RALLY" and now the the top boss quit's time to go back to Mud Duck land and get the welfare for your hubby's "Business".

    September 6, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. Republicans - The "Not Intended To Be Factually Accurate" Party

    It was the $2 per gallon for gas that put Rollins over the edge.

    September 6, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. Don

    Michelle Bachmann has not been a credible candidate from the beginning, and Rollins knew it. However, by working with her in order to make her messages a little less crazy he was able to keep a competition going between her and Romney that allowed for a neat entrance (stage right), by Perry.

    He used Bachmann for his own Maciavellian scheming and is right where he wants to be. He will now be viewed by the GOP as the kingmaker once again

    September 6, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. Awww

    She should just be submissive to her old husband and not bother us with this ridiculous statements like getting rid of Dept of Education. I am sure her husband is giving all the education she needs, no wonder she feels no need for Dept of Education. Does this Bimbo know what the Dept of Education does? This bimbo will also okay the creatism theory nonsense sprouted from the church. How the earth is only 5000 yrs old , Jesus rode dinosaurs , earth is flat, there is no global warming.

    September 6, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. james Miller

    Another rat leaving a sinking ship --------- smart !!! He`ll join up with Perry.

    September 6, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. just checking

    Miss Anti Government now wants to get rid of education dept., Do any of these people that support her know what she stands for? Too much spending except when it comes to the gov. handouts they give her, free healthcare, subsidy for her farm and that so called clinic her husband runs. We are all funding that big house on the golf course she wants....Wake up people,

    September 6, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  11. Bill

    Ed Rollins is a smart guy and a respected strategist. He knows when it's time to jump of a sinking ship.

    September 6, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. Mark

    Her staff turnover record is a major concern, along
    with her private background and business interests.
    She would be too volatile, even as a VP. Let Minnesota
    keep her, don't inflict her on the rest of the country.

    September 6, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. Lisa S.

    3rd place....darn, no $2/gallon gasoline? So disappointing.

    September 6, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. Gloria

    I was shocked several weeks ago to hear that Ed R. was working on M.B.'s campaign. I know he's ultra conservative, but I didn't think he would be foolish enough to attach his name with hers. Guess he saw the light.

    September 6, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. edpeters101

    There goes any chance the "Flake" had of moving on. Like Bush never would have gone anywhere without Roves' brain, Bachmann isn't going to make it on hers! She joined the IRS to take them down! She's in the US government (to take it down?); Could that be called treason, or has Perry already cornered that talking point???

    September 6, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. Pat in IL

    The reputation of those who have been supporting her goes down a notch with every dumb statement she makes (the latest is the board of education thing). They are starting to know that and want out before too much of the insanity rubs off on them and their resumes.

    September 6, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. Flint Rock

    If M. Bachman scares you what's the worst
    case scenario?

    She moves in next store.

    September 6, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  18. American Citizen

    Ed Rollins should be deeply ashamed of himself for having ANYTHING whatsoever to do with the Bachmann 'campaign' of terror. Republicans have no dignity. Just a love for money and power.

    September 6, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. ggwindsor

    would like to see how much state and federal money both palin and backman families have recieved last 10 yr.s

    September 6, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. Rope A Dope

    GOP/TP feeling pretty proud of themselves and their efforts to discredit the POTUS at every turn, in everything. They are some mean-spirited, ugly people and you know-GOD don't like ugly. The polls showed him losing the Dem primary in 2007- WRONG! The polls showed him narrowly losing to JM in 2008-WRONG again! The polls are skewed. President Obama will be re-elected in 2012.

    September 6, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  21. treasa

    "She has had six chiefs of staff in four years, five press secretaries, five legislative directors and three communications directors." This is from MSNBC

    If she has a problem with maintaining her staffers at this stage in her career, how will she handle it when she reaches the whitehouse? How will she select her cabinet? If she can't manage her current staffers, if she can't sustain the current staffers, if she can't hire people who will last, what will happen in the whitehouse??? This doesn't bode well for the big-leagues....

    September 6, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. GeorgeBos95

    "She's very much in this thing".

    Right, that's why you've stepped into an "advisory" role and cited "health issues". As for the others fleeing a sinking ship, all I can say is I'm sad to see them go. I was so looking forward to the The Bachmann Comedy Tour continuing on well into next year.

    Michelle Bachmann is sinking fast ... blub blub blub.

    September 6, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. Buster Bloodvessel

    Rats were climbing up his leg and sitting on his head looking for higher ground. Ed, the ship was called the Ti tanic, didn't you notice when you came aboard?

    September 6, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. wonderabout

    Anyone with two brain cells still communicating and a thread of a conscience left wouldn't be associated with her or any other member and supporter of the lunatic fringe – they say they are against corporate influence – they say they want to create jobs – they say they are for homeland security – in truth they are for themselves (money/power) – their egos are running rampant over the PEOPLE of this country – and sadly there are way too many people who believe their BS!

    September 6, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. MarineDad05

    For a fleeting moment, I read 'Bachman Quits'...

    btw: Ed Rollins is one of the best, well-balanced strategists that the GOP has. I thought it strange the Bachman camp had the acumen to select him in the first place.

    If Ed has quit, it is a huge loss for the Bachman camp.

    September 6, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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