On the eve of her presidential announcement in Waterloo, Iowa, a confident Michele Bachmann made the case that she was a serious candidate, attacking President Obama’s record and parrying tough questions in interviews with CBS’s Bob Schieffer and Fox News’s Chris Wallace.
“Since the debate, people have paid attention and they recognize that I am very serious about what I want to do,” Bachmann said on Fox.
She didn’t shy away from outlining clear differences between herself and Mitt Romney, who is statistically tied with her for the lead among Iowa voters according to a Des Moines Register poll released yesterday.
“What people know about me is I do what I say and I say what I mean. I am a fighter for the cause … People recognize that I’m very sincere in what I say,” Bachmann told Wallace. She later criticized Romney for his “disappointing” decision to not sign the pro-life pledge by the Susan B. Anthony List.
“Mitt Romney has to say what he is, but I will say, if he is saying now that he is pro-life, this was a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate that by signing … the pledge,” Bachmann said.
On CBS, Bachmann hit Romney on his health-care program, calling individual mandates at both the state and federal level “unconstitutional,” and arguing that reliance on free market forces, rather than efforts by state or federal government, was how health-care costs should be brought down.
Asked by Wallace about New York’s legislature’s decision to legalize gay marriage, Bachmann said she acknowledged the state’s tenth amendment right to do so, but said she would continue to push for a federal marriage amendment that would outlaw same-sex marriage. She said her position was “entirely consistent,” noting that the issue of gay marriage was likely to be dealt with at a federal level in either the courts or the legislature.
In response to Schieffer’s question about whether she believed homosexuality was a choice or not, Bachmann said she was running for president, not “to be anyone’s judge.”
She also defended herself against charges that she was a gaffe-prone politician who had made erroneous statements in the past. Wallace directly asked, “Are you a flake?” a term that Bachmann called “insulting,” noting her extensive career as a tax lawyer and politician. In response to Shieffer’s remarks about her history of “misleading” statements, Bachmann said, “I haven’t mislead people at all.”
“I think the question should be asked of President Obama,” she added, noting that he pushed for nearly $1 trillion dollar stimulus by saying it would prevent unemployment rates from going above 8 percent. “That is what’s serious. Did he mislead the American people? Not only did he mislead the American people, he caused our economy to go down to depths we haven’t seen,” Bachmann pointed out.
Bachmann, who has criticized Obamacare for taking $500 billion away from Medicare, told Wallace that she did not see Paul Ryan’s budget, a budget which Bachmann voted for and which would also cut Medicare, as impacting seniors the same way Obamacare would.
“Let’s be clear: the Ryan budget is really the 55 and under plan. People need to recognize no one under 55 will be touched,” she said, calling Ryan’s plan a “starting point” for a budget discussion.
“My commitment is to make sure government keeps its promises to senior citizens both on Medicare and on Social Security,” Bachmann said of the 55-year-old and older crowd, but noted that those younger would have to face “adjustments.”
She argued that if the nation was going to be serious about its fiscal situation, the debt ceiling could not be raised. Making clear that she was against defaulting, Bachmann said payments on the debt would have to be prioritized if a new, higher ceiling wasn’t authorized and that Congress would have to cut spending elsewhere. Speaking about how the number of federal limos had been increased by 73 percent in the past two years, Bachmann said it showed how Obama wasn’t “serious about cutting spending” now.
If she were president, matters would be different.
“I have a titanium spine to do what needs to be done to turn the economy around,” Bachmann said on Fox.