The Corner

Bachmann’s Retail Politics

Clive, Iowa — Touring Competive Edge, a company that works on Bachmann campaign T-shirts, Michele Bachmann showcased her retail politics skills, chatting with the employees. She talked to one woman about how old her children were, and joked with another employee about how many shirts she herself had folded over the years. When some female employees pose with her for a picture, she cheerfully talks about it being a girls photo. For every photo — and there are many – Bachmann beams a megawatt smile

When Bachmann gives a brief speech to the approximately 100 employees assembled, she talks about what she wants for them, and for all employees in America: higher wages and better benefits. She paints a picture of how promoting free-trade agreements, axing regulations, and cutting the corporate tax rate could help bring those goals about. Asked after the speech about quantitative easing, she asks if anyone has a dollar. When no one does, she takes a $20 bill from a man — she jokes that he must be rich because that’s a lot of money — and she holds it up so that the audience can see and folds it slightly, demonstrating visually how the dollar is worth 12 percent less than it was a few years ago.

Asked about entitlement reform, Bachmann says we must be “crystal clear” that no plan will impact current retireees’ Social Security and Medicare, noting that she had visited senior citizens in Iowa recently who had been cancelling their Internet plans and credit cards because they were scared about those programs continuing.

“But what I think we all recognize is the current system is flat broke,” Bachmann continued. Then, without ever using the word “voucher,” she started to talk about how great it would be if senior citizens could choose their health-care plan, and not be forced to join Medicare. “I want to let every American choose,” Bachmann says.

“I thought she was great,” says Lynn Ward, director of sales for Competivive Edge’s sister company. “From a woman’s perspective, I think it’s great that we have someone strong like her running for office — and someone from the Midwest, too.”

Walking into the speech, Ward said she wasn’t sure what she thought of Bachmann, because didn’t have “a very high opinion” of Sarah Palin and had heard the two women compared.  But after hearing Bachmann, “I don’t see the comparison at all,” she says.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina 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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