Republican presidential candidate and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann said her win in the Iowa Straw Poll yesterday is a sign of voter discontent with President Barack Obama and his handling of the economy.
“People in Iowa sent a message loud and clear to President Obama,” Bachmann said today on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “They said, ‘We are done with your policies. We want something very different.’”
“People want job creation,” she said on CNN. “They want the economy to turn around and work.”
Bachmann, 55, a third-term Republican in the House, made appearances on five Sunday morning television talk shows after winning the Ames, Iowa, straw poll contest with 29 percent of about 17,000 votes, edging out Texas Congressman Ron Paul, with 28 percent, and placing well ahead of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, with 14 percent.
Pawlenty, who had campaigned in Iowa since 2009, announced an end to his bid for the White House on ABC’s “This Week” program. Bachmann said he was a good competitor and didn’t say whether she would seek his endorsement.
“He brought a very important voice to the race,” Bachmann said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “I’m grateful that he was in.”
Bachmann, who was born in Iowa, said her victory there marks a “tremendous accomplishment” since launching her bid less than two months ago to seek the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2012.
“We see this as just a very first step in a very long race,” she said on NBC. “There’s a lot of work to be done.”
Lifetime of Experience
Bachmann said she has a “lifetime of experience” that has prepared her for the presidential run, citing her work as a federal tax attorney and starting a business -- a mental health care practice -- with her husband, Marcus.
“I know up close and personal how devastating high taxes are on businesses and families and farmers,” she said on NBC.
In her television appearances, Bachmann said she opposed new spending, including extending unemployment benefits.
“The economy will go into likely a double-dip recession if we increase taxes, versus getting our spending under control,” she said on CNN.
Bachmann, who voted against raising the federal debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” the market turmoil last week and Standard & Poor’s Aug. 5 downgrade of U.S. long-term debt was a “punch to the gut.”
“The markets are roiling right now because people see that this president is flailing without a plan,” she said on NBC.
Tax Code Overhaul
Bachmann vowed as president to overhaul the tax code and to repeal the health care reform law and Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, which she said were “job-killers.” She said she supports lowering the corporate tax rate of 34 percent “to something that is more competitive” and reducing Medicare and Social Security benefits for future recipients.
“We will reform the entitlement programs now, not five years from now, not 26 years from now, now,” Bachmann said on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt.”
She said on ABC that Medicare and Medicaid can be made more efficient. “Why should we continue to run these programs the way we did 45 years ago?” she said.
Modernizing Social Security
She also said social security can be modernized. “Why would we continue to run it in the same way we did 80 years ago?” she said.
Bachmann said on “Fox News Sunday” that one of ways she’d move to reassure the markets if elected is to “work tirelessly to make sure” the Senate becomes controlled by Republicans and get to a filibuster-proof majority that will roll back spending.
Bachmann faces a new threat from Texas Governor Rick Perry, who announced his bid for the GOP presidential nomination yesterday in South Carolina. When asked on Fox why voters should favor her over Perry, she said, “I’ve demonstrated that I have been a fighter in Washington.”
“I get job creation,” she said. “I have a proven record.”
Bachmann said Perry’s entry won’t immediately force a change in her strategy.
“He has his own message, I have mine,” she said on ABC. “Our main strategy is to win.” Focusing on defeating President Obama “is my strategy,” she said.
Bachmann also on ABC brushed aside a suggestion that her credentials lack depth because she hasn’t served as a governor. Having served as a governor “isn’t the No. 1 requirement,” she said. “It’s really who is the person? What’s their character? Who are they? What have they done?”
Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter was also a governor but “I don’t think anyone would argue that America prospered and flourished under” his presidency, Bachmann said. During Carter’s presidency consumer prices rose by 11.3 percent in 1979 and 13.5 percent in 1980.