Bachmann targets 'frugal socialists' in Republican Party
November 7th, 2011
12:17 PM ET
10 years ago

Bachmann targets 'frugal socialists' in Republican Party

Washington (CNN) - Seeking to recover her once-impressive standing in the polls, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann on Monday continued to position herself as the most conservative candidate in the Republican presidential race.

Speaking to about 50 Republicans and more than a dozen reporters at the socially conservative Family Research Council in Washington, Bachmann targeted unnamed GOP opponents in terms she usually reserves for Democrats.

"Unfortunately for too many Republicans, they also aspire to be frugal socialists," she said, apparently targeting GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney. "The reason President Obama and some Republicans can get behind socialized medicine is because they share the same core political philosophy about the purpose of government."

"We cannot preserve liberty for ourselves and our posterity if the choice in next November is between a frugal socialist and an out-of-control socialist," she added, the latter phrase a reference to Obama.

Bachmann called for a full repeal of Obama's health care reform law and claimed that Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry do not understand how to roll back the legislation.

Romney says he will grant waivers to states wanting to opt out of the law, while Perry says that he would overturn the law by executive order. Bachmann called both plans naive and said a "full scale repeal" of the law can only happen through Congressional action.

On a host of issues abortion, taxes, same-sex marriage, foreign aid and the federal judiciary Bachmann portrayed herself as "the candidate you can trust in office."

Bachmann is eager for a second look, especially in the must-win caucus state of Iowa, from the social conservatives and tea party activists who fled her campaign in September and moved to Perry, businessman Herman Cain or former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

After winning the closely watched Ames Straw Poll in August, Bachmann sunk in the polls when Perry joined the race and captured the imagination of Republican primary voters. After Perry's similar collapse a month later, Cain moved into the void and soared to the top of the polls.

And with Cain now facing allegations of sexual harassment, Bachmann is trying to remind conservatives of her consistently conservative bona fides and full-throated opposition to all-things-Obama.

Bachmann is mired around 3% in national GOP polls, although her numbers are slightly higher in Iowa, where she is staking her campaign.

"This election season has been full of surprises," Bachmann said. "I can assure you there are no policy surprises with me. I am far from a perfect person, as all of you know too well, but I know who I am and I will never deviate from the principles that I have fought for all of my life."

She drew one of the sharpest lines in the sand on the matter of abortion, appearing to jab Romney and Cain, both of whom have faced questions about their pro-life principles.

Cain recently said that women and families should be able to choose abortion in cases of rape and incest, remarks that drew swift criticism from staunch abortion rights foes. Romney, meanwhile, said that abortion should be "safe and legal" when he ran against Ted Kennedy for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts in 2004, but he has since moved to the right on the issue.

"I am both personally and publicly pro-life and our candidate has to do more than just check the box on the issues of life," Bachmann said. "They have to have a proven record on standing up for life. I believe it is the role of government to protect life from conception to death. I'll never be confused about that issue and you won't find YouTube clips with me advocating anything else."

Filed under: 2012 • GOP • Michele Bachmann • Mitt Romney • Rick Perry
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. midnitejax

    A last gasp out of desperation from Bachmann. She's finished, and she can't face the reality of it. She sees the attacks on Cain working, and thinks she may get a side show started for herself, by pointing fingers. Bachmann is the latest Titanic....thankfully.

    November 7, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  2. Please!

    Republicans like her, calling anyone that doesn't agree with them a "Socialist", is why I left the party.

    November 7, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. jkINC

    She's fringe, and if the far left and far right need to understand anything it's that most of the country is centrist. The only way a republic can operate is by compromising opposing views to come up with a mutually beneficial solution, even if all sides don't get everything they want. She doesn't want to be President she want's to be dictator.

    November 7, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  4. dreucalypt

    Mitt Romney a socialist? Please. And Barack Obama isn't one either. Does the word actually mean anything to the people who throw it around so much, or is it just a convenient term of abuse?

    November 7, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  5. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Yes, let's get rid of socialist programs like health care and social security... what? That alienates three quarters of Tea Partiers who themselves are retirees on Medicare?

    November 7, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  6. Harley

    "I believe it is the role of government to protect life from conception to death."

    I wonder how she justifies this against her views on capital punishment.

    November 7, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  7. Lee

    But she's one of them!!!! What are we missing? She like bail-outs, she voted for Bush's med D program, for the Patriot Act, farm subsidies (that she personally receives), she loves lots of pointless military actions abroad. She's a democan-republicrat too. She needs to come out of the closet and admit her fault.

    November 7, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  8. Wired

    Well she IS right. Most republicans practice a form of Socialism, One very close to the Communism in China. Redistribution of the wealth straight to the wealthy, with the marginalization of the lower class.

    November 7, 2011 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. Logic

    "I believe it is the role of government to protect life from conception to death. "

    unless that life is those who cannot afford healthcare. Then let em die right?

    November 7, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  10. Steve Newman

    From Bachmann's perspective Richard Nixon qualifies as a socialist After all, not only did he start the EPA, he also proposed a national healthcare plan fairly similar to President Obama's. Come to think of it, probably over 70% of Americans qualify by her definition. Especially those who support Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

    November 7, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  11. Frank138

    What Bachmann really does not understand is the COUNTRY is politicaly center-right, and she cannot be elected by "pure conservatives". There simply are not enough of them (us). In a general election vs Obama she would be extremely lucky to take ONE state.

    November 7, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  12. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    I really wish politicians would stop using these stupid buzzwords and explain how they're going to solve specific problems, instead. It's ridiculous to hear these people running for President acting like they're opposed to big government. It's like someone who wants to be a CEO but says they're anti-corporation.

    November 7, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  13. DoNotWorry

    Human care from conception to death is not Bachmann's cup of tea. This issue of death is more about punishing women for their sexuality than a concern for human life. I'll believe a concern for human life when we have national healthcare and a solid social net when corporations do a dump on the people. Where is the concern for human life when a baby is born and the mother cannot take care of it? Or something happens years later and the mother and baby are living on the streets? Different story, what?

    November 7, 2011 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. dabble53

    @thomas detroit – you ask "where is her 'governments role to protect from conception to death'?" – well, they did...just happens that in the accident the "to death" clause was invoked.
    Remember, the GOP is against health care laws, and so while all in favor of protecting the unborn fetus, once born, they couldn't care less in reality.

    November 7, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  15. Z

    The whole socialist argument is laughable. Republicans started using that word because they thought it would enrage Americans against Obama, then they came to find out that things are so bad and dysfunctional in this country that a large segment of Americans view socialism as a better alternative. That's one argument they tried to manipulate and lost control over. Then you tack on their extremist behavior and agenda and now it's turned into socialism vs. that argument socialism will win every time. Until they figure that out, using that term just makes them look even more delusional.

    November 7, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  16. Larry L

    Modern medicine isn't about profits – it's about outcomes. Every nation with better healthcare than the United States can offer has a government-sponsored healthcare system of services and insurance. Medicare needs improving, but it is a wonderful system and the Republican efforts to kill Medicare is enough reason to vote them out.

    November 7, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  17. Bob F.

    With some luck, maybe she can recover and become the Republican nominee for POTUS. In this case, President Obama can spend the campaign season at Camp David, relaxing.

    November 7, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  18. teedofftaxpayer

    Does all that mean that she and her family going to reimburse the Federal Government for the funds they received in the operations of their business? She takes federal funding to help her family business.

    She can never be elected to anything higher than what she is elected to now. There is no way she could be governor let alone President. She speaks too much hate.

    November 7, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  19. kellyinCA

    The woman is out to lunch, ok? She hasn't a clue about any of the issues that will drive this general election; she will be lucky at this stage to keep her seat in the House. For all Obama' s failures, he has accomplished much during his three years so far, and has tried perhaps too hard to rise above partisan politics in order to serve the American people. Given the field of candidates currently on offer by the Republican party, and the vitriol and poor thinking coming from most of them, it would seem that the two most likely to beat Obama in the general election are also the least likely to win the Republican nomination; and they will have the hardest time vetting and promoting a highly-qualified VP candidate to strengthen the ticket further. Bachmann's numbers are not good, and in a tough job market and poor economic numbers the last thing the electorate has time or patience for is a candidate spewing nonsense about wedge issues and slinging mud with ideological labels the candidate doesn't correctly understand. To be quite honest, I could be a better Republican candidate than any of these people.

    November 7, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  20. Dr G

    Don't people get that redbaiting is no different than racism. It is clumping a huge group of people with individual traits and differences together based on some flimsy preconception that they are all alike. Calling everyone on the right facists or nazis is just as wrong as calling everyone to the left of conservatives communists or socialists. The redbaiting has to stop. It is simply idiotic generalization and smear tactics.

    November 7, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  21. chris24

    interesting that conservatives would use the word "socialist" as if it was a dirty word, yet back the military
    as if it werent the largest example of socialism our government can come up with.

    November 7, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  22. oregonian101

    I fail to see why, if people want healthcare COVERAGE for all is equated to "socialism". I fail to see why the wealthiest country in the world does not have healthcare COVERAGE for all it's citizens. I fail to see why people like Representative Bachmann and the Tea Movement backers (Koch, Armey and others) have been able to fool the former GOP (the party is no longer Grand). Its just too bad that a few on the nut wing side of the Republican Party has put our Congress in gridlock and so vitriol that virtually none of us middle class just want to enjoy lifers have any trust in our government. Thank God we can have trust in the Lord's will and I pray that eyes and hearts become open to the greater good.

    November 8, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  23. mk1

    I get so sick and tired of progressives being called "socialists" by the right wing and cons. How about we progressives begin to call cons and the right "fascists" to even things out.

    November 8, 2011 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  24. Scott

    Bachmann is inexperienced and not a visionary thinker. Most of her opponents are just as disappointing. Mitt Romney at this point should win the nomination since Cain has serious sexual harassment issues. Overall, I think Obama's chances of getting reelected have gotten better as most Republican candidates have imploded prior to any primaries. It is sad though to not have leaders worthy of trust. There are some worthwhile Republicans who choose not to run such as John Thune, Lindsey Graham, and Dick Lugar.

    November 8, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  25. skytag

    "Bachmann on Monday continued to position herself as the most conservative candidate in the Republican presidential race."

    This woman is an embarrassment to the country and particularly to Republicans. All she knows how to do is push buttons with talk of socialism and in the process show what a complete idiot she is. The Republican party has moved significantly to the right over the past 20 years, and she wants to be seen as the farthest right candidate of is now a far right party.

    Can she really be stupid enough to believe such a candidate would have any chance of being elected in a general election? She can't get elected without the independent vote, and independents will not vote for a religious zealot right-wing fanatic.

    That sais, since Huntsman doesn't have a chance, Bachmann might as well bring attention to the sad state of the once great Republican party.

    November 8, 2011 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
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