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Michele Bachmann: Don't 'settle' for a moderate

September 26, 2011|By Seema Mehta | Los Angeles Times
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Friday.
Rep. Michele Bachmann speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference… (Joe Burbank /Associated…)

Reporting from Cedar Rapids, Iowa — Taking a swipe at her rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, Michele Bachmann said Monday that Republicans will take the White House in 2012, so the party should not “settle” and nominate a moderate candidate on the belief that one is more electable than a true conservative.

“Every four years, conservatives are told we have to just stand next to the wall, sit in the back of room and we have to get around a candidate that we’re told is electable,” Bachmann told about 40 people who came to a rally in a hotel ballroom. “We’re told the conservative is the candidate who is not electable. We’re told only the moderate candidate in the race is the one that’s electable, but that isn’t true, because we know the American people are looking for their champion. They’re looking for a fighter. They want someone who's actually had that experience, someone who's actually stood up for them, someone who's been fighting these fights.”

Bachmann, who surged when she first entered the race but has dwindled in the polls in recent weeks, said her experience as a Minnesota congresswoman, tax attorney and small-business owner made her uniquely suited for the job of president. While she didn’t mention front-runners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney by name, she clearly alluded to their records and said they were “compromised.”

Bachmann criticized Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, for a state healthcare plan that includes a personal mandate, and Perry for engaging in what she said was “crony capitalism,” when the Texas governor signed a legislative order mandating a vaccine made by a political contributor. She also criticized Perry’s support of in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants, his opposition to building a border fence, and his knowledge of foreign policy.

“We can’t settle on a candidate,” she said.

Bachmann brushed off her last-place finish in a straw poll in Florida over the weekend, saying she had chosen not to participate.

“We had let it be known early on, and we released our supporters in Florida,” she said. “We put our effort and our money and our time here in Iowa in the straw  poll because this straw poll in Iowa was crucial. This most reflects a general election, a general caucus or a general primary. ... We worked and we won.”

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