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. Chas in Iowa

    I didn't think I could have a lower opinion of Ed Rollins but knowing he was part of the Bachman crusade could help.

    September 6, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Stacey

    Buh-bye, Mrs. Bachmann!

    September 6, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. WIMPY38

    Now, if only Palin can get her campaign organizers and manager to go. You know the ones: Dopey, Sneezy and Doc.

    September 6, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. Jake

    funny. but Rollins credibility has already sunk to an all time low for taking on the gig in the first place!

    September 6, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Captain Obvious

    She will say God told him to quit. Hey, I hear there are some spot available in the Gingrich campaign!!

    September 6, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. The Refudiator

    Poor Ed. Once he woke from his self-induced coma, he realized that working for a loon made him look loony too. D'oh!

    September 6, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. cured76

    He probably was doing OK for awhile until he realized he'd have to look in her eyes each and every day.

    September 6, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Aezel

    "Rats fleeing a sinking ship." First thing I thought of and I see I wasn't the first.

    September 6, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Aezel

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

    Which she will do poorly on. It is sad when you are so dumb that even an idiot like Perry can make you look like moron.

    September 6, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. boocat

    Maybe he figured out (finally) that she's a dingbat....

    September 6, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. Copper's Donut Shoppe

    If Ed Rollins can't stand the heat in theBachmann kitchen it must be very bad. Ole' Ed is know for his race-baiting, snaggle toothed campaigns. His quitting speaks reams.

    September 6, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. Copper's Donut Shoppe

    I am also a dad who is a marine but I am a father first and then a marine.
    Your priorities are out of wack.

    September 6, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. GODblessAMERICA77

    Mu-ahha-ha-ha-ha!eeeeevil laught..

    September 6, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. surfninja

    Bachmann and Charles Manson have other things in common besides those "crazy eyes."

    September 6, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Halcyon

    I don't blame Mr. Rollins for stepping down. Campaigning is a tough job and at his age (68), it can definitely wear you down.

    Having said that, with Rick Perry literally upending the Republican Primary and essentially absorbing a lot of Bachmann's supporters, one has to wonder how much of this new political paradigm played a part in Rollins decision to hand over the reins.

    September 6, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. dcol

    He's not stupid. Hanging your hat in the Bachman camp is a real losing battle. Even the best of the best campain perople cannot get past the crazyness.

    September 6, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Luke Brown

    The news media is making too much of this. He is saying he will still be involved in the campaign, doing what he is best at - advising and coaching the candidate and senior staff. Unlike some of her male challenger, Bachman knows why she is running and doesn't really need advisors to tell her how to connect with people.

    Personally, I would never vote for her, but this is a media driven story about an inside the Beltway staff change. GIve her a break.

    September 6, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Republican Robber Baron

    Ed is way too sane and classy of a guy to work for a Rightie extremist Nut like Bachmann. Good move Ed.

    September 6, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. dcol

    Cedar Rapids – Palin is a quiter and out for herself and where she can make the most money. Has good speeches telling you just what you want to hear. Get you head out of the sand and let her actions speak for themselves. She'd most likely quit the presidency claiming it was a hardship on her family and start a new reality TV show.

    September 6, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Put a fork in her . . .

    If Rollins quits, then Michelle is done. Looks like she's been "Perry-ed"

    September 6, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. Wouldn't you quit Idiot Bachman too?

    Why aren't there some intelligent candidates running. The GOP is digging around in the cellar with idiots on board this campaign. Nuts. Just nuts!

    September 6, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. catwill

    Mr Rollins knows when to fold them and he knows that Rep Bachmann should go back to Wash because she can't win the GOP/T primary and he knows the jig is up.

    September 6, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. I Love Buchmann

    maybe it was all the stupid things she said sucking up to that Demmit guy over the weekend ?. this lady holds the key to getting Obama reelected. the more we hear from her....the better the democrats look. she's gonna help crush the t-baggers and religious zealots come 2012. hope she stays in the race as long as possible. the more she talks, the crazier she gets. i love Buchmann!

    September 6, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  24. Al-NY,NY

    Frau Eva Braun, I mean Michele Bachman is toast. Too bad though. I would loved to have had her as the candidate. and to Alaska Palin..... please help that nitwit become the GOP nominee. Nothing would make Obama a more sure second term POTUS than that fool

    September 6, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    Rollins had his stroke 1.5 years ago ... he's been around the block to know how stressful a presidential campaign is. Why doesn't he just admit he's a rat fleeing a sinking ship?

    September 6, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
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