WASHINGTON - Rep. Michele Bachmann made the case on Wednesday that her commitment to Jewish causes makes her the best Republican presidential candidate in a still crowded and fluid field.
In a speech before the Jewish Republican Coalition, the last cattle call-style event involving most of the GOP's presidential candidates before voting begins next month, Bachmann promised the crowd that one of her first acts if elected President would be to move the U.S. embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, a promise echoed by many of the candidates who spoke before her.
"I've even found a donor who would put up the money for the move," Bachmann said. "So the boxes could be unpacked on day one."
Bachmann's speech mostly touched on familiar themes. She said the Obama Administration had "forgotten the importance of Israel to America" and "confused engagement with appeasement and has inspired Israel's enemies." The three-term congresswoman also called on Obama to order the Navy to begin preparations for a naval blockade against Iran and said covert operations to prevent the country from building a nuclear weapon should be stepped up.
On the domestic political front, Bachmann called the Occupy Wall Street movement "the Obama re-election team" and said Obama stands with that group but not with Israel.
During a question and answer session with the audience a pediatrician asked Bachmann about her views on vaccines, especially in light of her controversial statements from the summer when she falsely linked the HPV vaccine to mental retardation. Bachmann ducked the question, arguing that her opposition to a plan for universal HPV vaccinations of young women in Texas was based on the allegations of "crony capitalism" between fellow candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry and pharmaceutical companies.
Bachmann's trip to the Capital also enabled her to stop by Congress and vote in the House chamber. She last voted in the House on Nov. 18.