MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) — Voters are more concerned about jobs and the economy than an occasional gaffe by a candidate, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said Friday.
Bachmann who made two appearances before enthusiastic crowds on the strongly Republican South Carolina coast, also said the appeal that helped her win last week’s straw poll in Iowa will carry over into South Carolina, which has the first GOP presidential primary in the South.
Bachmann has misspoken a couple of times in recent weeks, most recently on Tuesday in Spartanburg, when she mentioned to a crowd that it was Elvis’ birthday when it was actually the anniversary of his death. Bachmann corrected herself later that day as she spoke with reporters saying “he’s still alive in our hearts.”
In June, she kicked off her presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, calling it the home of American actor John Wayne. The town was actually home for a time to serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Asked about the gaffes after speaking to a crowd of about 200 in Mount Pleasant in front of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, Bachmann said “certainly when you speak six times a day, slipups can occur.”
She said she has corrected her errors and “the media will report what the media will report, but that goes with the territory when you are running for president of the United States.”
Bachmann added voters don’t seem to be paying attention to gaffes.
“The main thing people focus on in every single place I have gone to is the economy,” she said. “The main thing they are looking for is who can turn the economy around. Who can make their lives better?”
She said that, as in Iowa, “people in South Carolina are looking for a champion to take their voice to the White House.”
Earlier, Bachmann spoke to a crowd of about 250 people gathered outside under a blazing sun and 90-degree heat in Myrtle Beach, saying the nation can’t go on spending money it doesn’t have.
“We have voted ourselves a lifestyle we can’t possibly afford and now the day of reckoning has come,” she said.
Figures released Friday show South Carolina’s unemployment rate jumped to 10.9 percent in July, the third-highest rate in the nation and the highest rate among the early presidential primary states.
“We can do so much better than what we are doing now,” Bachmann told reporters. “We can do so much better than what we are doing now. I want to give hope and encouragement to people who are unemployed. I understand the problems of the economy and I understand how to turn it around.”
In both locations she said if she had been president and the nation’s credit was downgraded, she would have called Congress back to Washington to find ways to reduce spending. Bachmann said she would make sure those who serve in the military were paid and retirees had their Social Security benefits. Beyond that, she said, anything was on the table for cuts.
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