The Big Story Blog

Iowa: On Sunday talk shows, Bachmann goes after opponents

Posted at 11:47 AM on January 1, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Iowa

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- With less than three days to go before the Iowa caucuses, Rep. Michele Bachmann attacked her opponents in separate Sunday morning news appearances.

On Fox News Sunday, Bachmann went after Rick Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator who has unexpectedly risen in the polls over the last few days. Santorum, who's record is strikingly similar to Bachmann's particularly on social issues such as abortion, is threatening to snatch some of Bachmann's support in the last days of the caucus campaign.

Bachmann painted Santorum as a "big spender" Washington insider.

"Senator Santorum voted for the bridge to nowhere," she said, referring to a multi-million bridge pushed by Alaskan lawmakers that became a symbol of excessive government spending. "He's depended earmarks."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has fallen to the lower tier of candidates after surging in August, has made similar attacks on Santorum in this radio ad.

Bachmann said she's a real fiscal conservative.

"Senator Santorum has stood for earmarks, stood for spending," she said. "That's not what we want."

For the most part, Bachmann has rejected earmarks during her time in Congress, but believes that some transportation projects shouldn't be considered earmarks.

Bachmann also argued that Santorum isn't electable because he lost his last race for the Senate by a wide margin.

"I won four races in the last four years, in the toughest years for Republicans -- in a liberal state like Minnesota, I won," Bachmann said.

On ABC's This Week, Bachmann focused on Ron Paul, who's now expected to place first or second in the caucuses. Last week, Bachmann's Iowa chair, Sen. Kent Sorenson, abruptly defected from her campaign for Paul's.

Bachmann has argued that Paul is an isolationist, and could put the nation's security at risk as president.

"From person after person, they said that I won the last debate in Sioux City, Iowa," she said referring to a debate in which she and Paul argued about Iran's nuclear capabilities. "And the reason why is because... he was just fine with Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon."

"We had tremendous momentum coming out of the last debate, and we saw it in county after county in our 99-county tour, where people were just appalled by Ron Paul's position," she said. "They thought it was dangerous."

In both interviews, Bachmann was upbeat about her campaign, despite a new Des Moines Register poll that has her placing last among the candidates actively campaigning in Iowa.

She said the polls don't represent what she heard from voters during her recent tour of Iowa's 99 counties.

"This isn't just about polling," she said. "This is about what we're seeing in reality, and I think Tuesday night people are going to see a miracle."

Bachmann doesn't show signs of giving up.

"We've bought tickets to head off to South Carolina," she said. "We're here for the long race."


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.