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As poll numbers sag, Bachmann pledges to be 'very competitive'

September 20, 2011|By Seema Mehta | Los Angeles Times
  • Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann looks at hanging beef carcasses during a plant tour at Amend Packing Co. in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday.
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann looks at hanging… (Charlie Niebergall / Associated…)

Reporting from Des Moines, Iowa — Michele Bachmann on Tuesday tried to tamp down signs that her presidential campaign is flailing, including new poll numbers that show her support is less than half what it was a month ago and harsh words from a former high-level advisor.

“We’re doing exactly what we need to do. We’re here in Iowa, meeting with people, engaging with people, listening to them and talking about what their concerns are,” Bachmann told reporters at a family-owned meat-packing plant here. “My focus is on turning the economy around and creating jobs, and that’s why we’re here today in Iowa.”

A USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday found support for the Minnesota congresswoman had plummeted to 5%. It was 13% in August. In response, Bachmann noted that the race is fluid, that she had won the Iowa Straw Poll in August and that Texas Gov. Rick Perry had entered the race.

She also disputed remarks by her former campaign manager, Ed Rollins, that she “doesn't have the ability or the resources to go beyond” Iowa.  

“We do not agree. We have sufficient resources to be able to do what we’re doing and that’s to be very competitive in this race,” Bachmann said, noting that she had recently spent time in Arizona, California, Florida and South Carolina. “We’ve been all over the United States, and we intend to compete and go forward.”

Bachmann made the remarks after touring the Amend Packing Co., admiring sides of beef -- weighing up to 700 pounds each -- in a chilly meat locker and trying her hand at slicing rib-eyes for the television cameras. She used the visit to argue that government over-regulation threatens small businesses, such as Amend, which was started in 1869.

“This is what my entire focus is, to make sure we can turn the economy around and grow jobs,” she said. “One thing we learned today, at a company that has five or six employees, one employee is dedicated just to dealing with government rules and government regulations. This is just one business, but this is replicated all across the U.S., the level of compliance that now businesses have to deal with.”

Bachmann said government is hurting small businesses, which hampers job creation.

“Government has gotten in and made it almost impossible to create a profit anymore,” she said. “We want to have safety, but at the same time, we want to have some common sense.”

Bachmann also reiterated her call on President Obama to deny Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad entry into the United States to attend a gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

“The president must not continue to lead from behind on key issues of national and international security. With madmen in positions of power, like Ahmadinejad, make wild and genocidal threats against another nation like Israel, we should listen to them, and we should take the necessary counter-measures to stop them and their evil intent,” Bachmann said.

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