Bachmann's ex-NH staffers blast national campaignby Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The New Hampshire staffers who left Republican Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign issued a statement on Monday harshly critical of Bachmann's national campaign staff.
A long-time New Hampshire political observer said the shake-up further hurts Bachmann's chances in the Granite State and adds to speculation that Bachmann's national campaign is falling apart.
In their statement Bachmann's former New Hampshire staffers say some Bachmann national campaign leaders treated them rudely, were dishonest, "and at times cruel."
They write that communication problems with top Bachmann leaders had been building since Bachmann got into the race in June, that even simple requests were ignored and that they went sometimes weeks with little or no contact with the national campaign.
They also accuse some national campaign leaders of being abrasive and discourteous towards "many New Hampshire citizens." They said several incidents happened during Bachmann's recent trip to New Hampshire that were serious enough for some members to depart the campaign, but they did not provide any specifics.
The former staffers made it clear it was the campaign and not Bachmann they were having problems with.
New Hampshire political commentator and publisher of NHpoliticalcapital.com Dean Spiliotes said Bachmann's Granite State staff exodus will make it even harder for her to gain support in the state that holds the first primary.
"There's just a lot of confusion about what her strategy is," he said, "whether she wants to focus primarily on Iowa which some would argue probably makes more sense given her social and religious conservatism or whether she thinks she has a legitimate chance in New Hampshire."
Former members of Bachmann's New Hampshire staff did not respond to interview requests.
Bachmann's national campaign didn't respond either.
On Friday as news of the New Hampshire resignations was spreading, Bachmann told Radio Iowa the story was false and that news outlets had no business going with it without first contacting her campaign.
"I don't know if this is just a sad story that's being said by a different candidates or campaign I have no idea where this came from but we've made calls and it's certainly not true," Bachmann said.
"She has to be careful about looking like she's out of touch with her own campaign. She's either not telling us what she knows about the problems in her campaign or she's out of touch. I think either is problematic for her," Spiliotes said.
He also said the way the story is playing out stands to hurt Bachmann well beyond New Hampshire.
"Probably most problematic for her is that this feeds into the larger media narrative out there that her campaign is in a death spiral," he said.
Since winning the Iowa Straw Poll in August most polls have shown Bachmann's support has plummeted. Bachmann's campaign has said it is focusing its efforts on Iowa.
- All Things Considered, 10/24/2011, 5:24 p.m.