GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Pigeonholed as a right-wing disciple, Michele Bachmann is offering herself as a presidential candidate who can unite the GOP’s disparate base and appeal to Republicans of all ideological stripes.

“Fiscal conservatives — I’m one of those. National security conservatives — I’m one of those. Social conservatives — I’m one of those. And the tea party — I’m one of those,” the Minnesota congresswoman said repeatedly in South Carolina this past week.

The line, now standard fare as she visits early primary states, provides a window into her strategy of selling herself as more than just a social conservative crusader.

Bachmann’s ability to overtake rivals Mitt Romney and Rick Perry in the GOP nomination contest may depend on whether she can attract support beyond her core evangelical and tea party constituencies, which gravitate toward her strong stances on cultural issues.

But this year, economic concerns clearly rate above many others with most voters. If she wins the party nod, she will have to court moderates and independents as well as conservatives.

Throughout her political career, Bachmann has fiercely guarded and worked to bolster her social conservative reputation.

She has had a 100 percent rating from the influential American Conservative Union during her nearly five years in Congress, based on her voting record. Over the past few years, she rode the wave of the rising tea party and used her frequent TV appearances to stoke a national image as a favorite of the right.

As a candidate, Bachmann isn’t eager to revisit her past controversial statements even though Democratic and Republican rivals alike use them to paint her as a fringe Republican in the race to challenge President Barack Obama.

During a recent debate, she deftly handled a question about a past remark cited the Bible as instructing wives to be “submissive to your husbands.” In a measured tone, she explained it was about showing mutual respect.

A few days later, Bachmann faced tough questions on the Sunday national news shows about previous statements, including a comment about the gay lifestyle being one of “personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.” Not addressing such issues directly, she relied on answers such as “I’m running for the presidency of the United States. I’m not running to be anyone’s judge.”

Bachmann’s typical campaign speech illustrates her efforts to broaden her appeal. Or as she put it in Florence this past week: “We are going to make the case that we’re the unifying candidate who can beat Obama.”

She opened her remarks to conservative South Carolina audiences with a quick rundown of her stances on cultural issues. But she quickly pivoted to jobs, filling a whiteboard with numbers about tax collections and the nation’s swelling deficit.

“You cannot spend more money than what you take in. It’s a simple fact of life, right?” Bachmann told a receptive crowd at the Greenville convention center. She promised to submit only balanced budgets as president even though critics say that’s impossible.

To national security conservatives, she said: “I won’t step one toe out of this country and apologize for the United States of America,” the rap that Obama’s foreign policy approach gets from conservatives.

She also plays up her role on the House Intelligence Committee, stressing how she’s trusted with the nation’s secrets and apprised of the most pressing threats.

The broader pitch is a necessity given the times.

Gail Randall, 54, is among those who showed up this past week to hear Bachmann and who think social issues are fading.

Said Randall: “It’s all about the economy this year, I think, and job creation.”

Lois Ross, 42, said she appreciated hearing from Bachmann about foreign affairs, including illegal immigration and the economy because “they are the only issues I’m voting on.”

Bachmann’s outreach also comes across more subtly.

No matter where she travels, she emphasizes her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa.

She says it drives home her heartland sensibilities and bedrock values. She shares stories of growing up in a broken home after her parents divorced, sending a message that she can relate to people’s personal and economic struggles.

Wherever Bachmann goes, she blares Elvis Presley tunes from her campaign bus.

It’s not the first time Bachmann has tried to make such a pivot.

She built a following in Minnesota as a state senator championing social causes such as a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage. But after dispatching GOP challengers in her first bid for Congress, she focused her fall campaign on financial issues.

She hired a presidential campaign team that knows well the danger of being narrowly defined in a primary.

Several top advisers, including campaign manager Ed Rollins, oversaw Mike Huckabee’s 2008 campaign. The ex-Arkansas governor is a former minister and a social conservative who harnessed the organizing ability of pastors, evangelicals and home-school advocates to win the Iowa caucuses. But he never grew his base of support before dropping out.

His campaign had wanted to stress his economic record and sportsman background, too, but never was able to get beyond the caricature that was stamped into voters’ minds.

“There’s this temptation always — and we’re certainly seeing that with Congresswoman Bachmann — to try to make her into a one-dimensional candidate or a one-dimensional person,” said Eric Woolson, who was Huckabee’s Iowa campaign chief. “That clearly doesn’t tell the whole story.”

Even if she wins Iowa, Bachmann could flame out in New Hampshire, where there already are doubts about whether her track record and excitable rhetoric are a good fit in the opening primary state.

“I see very little oxygen left for Michele Bachmann in New Hampshire. Though she has some appeal, it is not very broad,” said GOP strategist Jamie Burnett, a former Romney backer unaligned with a candidate this time. “To win here, she is going to need to attract support from beyond the tea party in order to compete.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (55)
  1. minnie says:

    She overestimated the number of ignorant rednecks and crazy people than can vote.

    1. minnie for Governor says:

      Roger that! And let’s not leave out airheads, undereducated Imbeciles, and 20-something brats that think the world owes them something.

    2. Income Inequality, Bachmann what is your position? says:

      I would like to know what Bachmann’s view is on income inequality in this country.

      Recently i found out that the US is ranked 45th in the world. Nigeria, Iran, Cameroon, and Côte d’Ivoire have better income distribution than the US, ranking 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 44th respectively. Republicans say more than 50% of Americans pay no income tax at all, the real number is about 51%.

      The TOP 1%’s piece of the the pie is 33.7%

      The BOTTOM 50% of Americans’ piece of the pie is an amazing 2.5%. Thats right 2.5%, which is equivalent to $1.45 Trillion dollars. That is their net worth.

      Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich = $700 Billion.

      Top pay for those tax cuts, you’d have to take roughly half of the bottom 50%’s net worth. Half of what they have and own to cover the cost of those tax cuts.

      You decide what is fair, take from the poor to cover the loss in revenues to extend the Bush Tax Cuts, or make the Rich give up those tax cuts.

      1. Rick PArry with an A for America. says:

        That makes the bottom 50%’s net worth approximately $10,000 on average.
        Lets check the facts, truth-o-meter says:TRUE.

        1. Bob says:

          Tell the lowest fifty to get a job. The government will keep them their to keep getting their votes forever.

          They have to help themselves.

          1. Great Idea BOBBLE HEAD BOB says:



            1. Z says:

              The caps lock key is to the LEFT..

              1. Pat says:

                Typical anti-Bachmann, can’t use a keyboard. But can call in for their EBT card. Obviously the IQ for whatever party you are in is very low as well.

                Go get a job, if you can. Did Micky-D’s let you go?

                1. Danny Urban says:

                  Pat, in the unlikely event she did win, you would be lucky to get a job at Micky-D’s!

  2. The Crux of the Buscuit says:

    I know more than a few Republicans that think Michelle is nuts so good luck with that broadening thing Michelle. PS. How would someone go about contacting you and your husband for a little discipline? You know, that old dynamo hum kind a thang……

  3. anti bachmann says:

    Bachmann your a dumb ….. you know what

    1. idtapit says:

      You may be correct on that. The fact of the matter is, she’s smokin hot!

  4. jan says:

    Here’s one conservative independent voter who will not even consider voting for her. In fact, I don’t like any of the candidates so far but she’s the worst! The Roman emperor Augustus tried to legislate religion and morality and failed miserably. History repeats itself again.

  5. I'm just sayin' says:

    Dear WCCHoe, Why are you giving her so much press? She is not even in the top two for votes, so she does nto have a prayer, yet you get her on the front page at least once a day. why?

  6. Swamp Rat says:

    She wants to broaden her GOP appeal and unite the Republicans; withdraw from the race and go fishing ‘Up North’ somewhere out of sight. She needs to spend time in the wilderness to reflect on the political damage to all she has done to the GOP [especially] and the 2012 election races.

    At least Sarah Palin knows when to withdraw &/or move on when the political scene gets hot! She heads home to Alaska. Bachmann should take notes about doing the same.

    1. Matt says:

      yea she needs to head home to iowa

      1. Danny Urban says:

        You got that right Matt! Hope she moves there soon!

  7. MB is anti-lazy says:

    Anybody who wants more government and more income redistribution will never vote for her. It is easier to work less hard and make poor life decisions than be a true conservative. There are more people that want to take the easy way than the hard way. It is that simple. Other than a few of her religion comments, she is smack on. Sure it is bad medicine for a majority but the majority will at some point be forced to acknowledge the lazy is not going to keep your status quo.

    1. No, she's just crazy. says:

      So according to you who are these lazy people. Please describe, give some statistics, hard facts. Don’t do as Wachmann and pull them out of thin air.

      Let me guess, Minimum wage laborers, service workers, people working 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. People working multiple part-time jobs, unemployed and under employed, people born and raised in poverty are the people you’re referring to right?

      1. Not crazy says:

        You see the problem is that you are likely on the dole as well. There is such an inherent conflict of interest here. All the people you mention above have made bad personal life choices. How the heck bad of choices did you make in life to need 2 or 3 jobs and guess what those aren’t the lazies i’m speaking of. Someone with that many jobs is most certainly not lazy. You are simply making excuses for everybody. We were all brought up in the same system and some rise to the top and others faulter. They deserve what they endure and they don’t deserve my tax dollars to fund their poor choices. When will personal responsibility ever sink into your entitled heads.

        1. Hugh G Rection says:

          Work smarter, not harder that’s where I am. My job pays good despite the economy and I put my own self here.

          1. Yep hugh says:

            Sadly, you are now in the minority. Everybody wants a good paying job but so many are not willing to do anything about it except play victim. Like the SNL Bush skit said, it’s hard to be successful, have to get up early, work Saturdays and eat dinner at the office. The formula is simple but it is really hard to put in place.

            1. Anti-Moron says:

              What the MB moron fails to comprehend is that not all wealthy or successful people like myself agree with that winner takes all mentality. People everywhere are born into different economic situations. Thats is most likely the determining factor on how well they do in life. The challenges lower income Americans face would be too much for most other to over come and succeed. All of the data and statistics prove that the system is just designed to work against those at the bottom. What are we doing to help those people get out of poverty?

              1. Y says:

                I strongly disagree, I grew up on a small farm, poorer than those in the projects. Heck, when I was able to take time of from milking, my brother and I would go to my sisters at the projects. It was great, they could sleep in, they didn’t have to work, do chores, etc.
                Worked my way through college at a processing plant, 12 hour days.
                Now I have a good job.

                It is that simple. But it is much easier to feel sorry for yourselves and try to live off of someone else.

                1. Ok but,,, says:

                  You see Y, the only response from the left here is to take it to the lowest common denominator and say that in addition to the “poor economic situation” some people aren’t as smart as you. I am in your boat and quite frankly most of the successful folks I know, which is most, were brought up in less than ideal economic situations. This is a case of the truth can’t be explained away without using the victim card. Lazy is as lazy does and it is that simple. Again, it is hard to move up and it is easy to accept government checks and income transfer payments.

        2. lefty says:

          TRY THIS THEN MAKE A COMMENT have you ever thought that some of the people you call lazy are out of work and can not get a job. Yes there are many that take advantage of the system then fix the system just do not try to make it only the way you think it should be. What all of you that think people are just lazy try giving up your paychecks for the next 6 months only spend what your so called lazy people get from the government. no more and make all your payments ( house car insurances phone and food) by the way you do not have a cell phone or cable TV for the 6 months. Then come back and tell us all how ease those lazy people have it. You and all the rest that think helping someone in need should do this you would not last 1 week

    2. lefty says:

      have you ever thought that some of the people you call lazy are out of work and can not get a job. Yes there are many that take advantage of the system then fix the system just do not try to make it only the way you think it should be. What all of you that think people are just lazy try giving up your paychecks for the next 6 months only spend what your so called lazy people get from the government. no more and make all your payments ( house car insurances phone and food) by the way you do not have a cell phone or cable TV for the 6 months. Then come back and tell us all how ease those lazy people have it.

  8. lefty says:

    all of these comments are correct WHY WCCO do you even think of giving this moron air time or paper space. She is so far out of touch with reality that I am amazed that she has not been lockup on the nut farm. I worked with crazy people and most of them did not hallucinate half as much as this moron. Maybe its her migraines that make her spew out so many false statements.

    1. Toothless Bawney Fwank, a liberal's best friend says:

      Same reason they put Ellison and Klobuchar and Franken on. It’s the joke factor! We’ve been laughing for quite a while now!!!

  9. okiedokie says:

    Happy Birthday Elvis!!!!!

    Kucklehead…….Your one of those!

    Bachman and Dayton should have a child together and see how long it lives before it forgets to breathe.

    1. Leroy says:

      You should throw a little Obamy genes in there too, then the kid will think there are 57 states.

  10. Richard in Minneapolis says:

    “National security conservatives — I’m one of those.”

    The U.S. already spends as much on ‘defense’ as the rest of the world combined, yet anyone who advocates spending less is branded as ‘weak’. After forcing the collapse of the USSR by pushing them into more defense spending than they could possibly afford we are now doing the same to ourselves. Eisenhower was right.

  11. Murph says:

    Well,she could always star in a remake of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” ! It would give her some legitimacy at something(craziness) anyway! Palin could take the role of “Chief ” if she can show the producers she can at least chew some gum!

    1. okiedokie says:

      Great Idea…. Bush and Dayton would be a tough casting decision for the post lobotomie lead role. I’d probably have to give the nod to Dayton. Bachman could be Palin’s stunt double if no other role was available.

  12. Charles Manson says:

    I endorse her whole heartedly. She stands for everything I do. Bravo Michelle. Does she have any tattoos? My roomies all wish she did an would put up a few candids. While we can’t vote, we can support her in other ways. We will put a firm grip on this.

  13. I'm Just sayin' says:

    I just have to say that with all the “Minnesota nice” going on in here from the left, it is no wonder the republicans steam rolled the democrats in 2010. I am neither a democrat nor a republican because neither party has all the answers, but I most certainly will vote for someone that can stand on their own two feet and not have to drag others down to look good. Where have all the moderates gone?

  14. Louise says:

    MB would balance the budget by ending Social Security and Medicare. She is rich and has no clue what it is like to live from payday to payday. To balance the budget we should fry anyone on death row that has been there more than 5 years. Those are the people that need to lose the tax payers financial support. Wonder how much that would save the Federal Government.

    1. BeFree says:

      Why live paycheck to paycheck? People who do not have a savings should cut their expenses, create a savings, and take control.

      That is the only way to Stop being a slave of the government.

      1. BeFree of MORONS says:

        I agree, cut you meals in half. If you have two kids, feed just one. Buy just one shoe instead of two. If you can’t afford to pay your rent, find a box and problem solved.

        1. Befree of the moronic morons says:

          Show us a starving poor person in this country.

          You can’t, their faces are hid by their hundred dollar cell phone…

          1. It should be illegal for you kind to breed. says:

            If this moron was twice as smart tomorrow as he is today he’d still be really stupid. In fact this moron’s birth certificate was an apology from the birth control pill manufacturer. You have to give ’em credit, he is a real arithmetic moron; the moron adds stupidity, subtracts I.Q. points, divides brain cells, and multiplies ignorance. I mean its true we all share 98-99% of genetic make up with chips, but when it comes to IQ you’re as close as it gets to 100%. In other words you unfortunately did not evolve far enough.

            Since you miraculously are able to use a computer take a hour or a day and checkout this website

            1. It should be illegal for your kind to breed. says:

              Typo correction otherwise the moron will believe we are related to chips and not chimps.

              I mean its true we all share 98-99% of genetic make up with chimps, but when it comes to IQ you’re as close as it gets to 100%. In other words you unfortunately did not evolve far enough.

            2. MoronicArgument says:

              Thank you, you just proved my point. Not one person starved to death on that site.

              What the heck is food insecure? EBT card did,
              ‘t work today.

              What a joke if you are trying to argue that that site will show starving faces of Americans.

              Seriously, the poor get more food than they can eat. I have several free loaders in my family, they all ask if they can sell us their extra food.

          2. Paul Solinger says:

            Just because you have a freedom to speak, doesn’t mean you should.

            1. EBT says:

              Wow, attacks only? You smart people do not have any statistics? Just mindless attacks? Typical idiots. I will try to dumb it done for you.

              How many people die of hunger in the U S?

              Keep popping out those kids you two, more money on your EBT card. Wooohaa.

  15. Chuck says:

    What does your boyfriend say when you make those comments about sarah? Are do you have a secure bond?

    1. Splat says:

      He just get’s jealous and splats some more.

  16. Bruce'ms says:

    Purty: what are you doing on here making comments like these about women???
    What about our legally recognized union in NYC last month?

    Have you forgotten everything after we had out little skippy tiff at the parade in loring park?


  17. Sarah says:

    In 18 months it will be Michelle who… Just like same sex marriage will vanish.

  18. Satin says:

    Good work my little angel from hell, you must Bachmann eyes all of those sheep.

  19. Andy says:

    You know, 15 years ago, when I was poor, I didn’t have a cell bill, cable bill, a tv. Seems poor people today are much better off than I was.

    Why do you all want someone else’s money? Can’t you make it on your own?

  20. jeff says:

    how can you capitalists sit there and complain about big government when truly the size of a government directly varies on the amount of injustices that occur in that society? capitalism is inherently flawed because the greedy can never be satisfied.

  21. Murph says:

    She forgot AIRHEAD,she’s one of those!

  22. James2 says:

    When Michelle finally becomes the Messiah so we receive the Marcus of the Beast, we shall all have economic security and peace in all the Earth. Then when the second coming occurs, she will win the election in Heaven and we will finally get to embrace her version of unconditional love supplemented with tea parties and crumpets made in our golden easy bake ovens. Yeah, she’s the man to vote for!

  23. tryecrot says:

    Yes there should realize the opportunity to RSS commentary, quite simply, CMS is another on the blog.

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