Politics & Policy

Bachmann on the Trail

In my piece that went up last night, I look at some of the weaknesses Michele Bachmann displays on the campaign trail:

 

Her near-perfect message discipline also has the potential to backfire. “I’m a real person. I’m authentic,” Bachmann told ABC’s This Week Sunday. But Paula Kuhfus, a veterinarian who attended the party Bachmann threw the night before the straw poll, tells me Bachmann is sometimes “too polished.”

“I like her, but I think sometimes she’s not real.” Kuhfus says, noting she is also considering supporting Rick Perry. “I think she looks like a Stepford Wife when you ask her a question. She doesn’t blink!”

On Thursday night’s debate, Tim Pawlenty charged that Bachmann had “a record of misstating and making false statements.” He is not the only one to make that critique, and Bachmann is clearly being vigilant to avoid any new misstatements. “You know, I’ve been told — I haven’t checked this out, but I’ve been told — that Canada’s corporate tax rate is 15 percent,” she tells the group in Pella, Iowa. (The corporate-tax rate in Canada is currently 16.5 percent, although it is slated to go down to 15 percent in 2012.)

But I also look at a lot of her strengths: she has a gift for drawing people, for displaying empathy, and for mixing her feisty style with an appealing warmth. Bachmann is a formidable campaigner, and has an ease at retail politics that some of her rivals no doubt envy. If she’s able to iron out a few wrinkles (which I don’t blame Marcus Bachmann for) in her current campaign, she will remain a serious player in the race for months to come. Full piece here

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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