Bachmann Campaign Chief, Deputy Leave Top Roles

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann lost her campaign chief Monday, along with his close deputy, in a campaign shake-up that the Minnesota congresswoman’s aides sought to downplay.

Citing health reasons, veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins stepped down as campaign manager. Bachmann said one of her strategists would take over on an interim basis as Rollins moves to a senior adviser role.

“In less than 50 days and with fewer resources than other campaigns, Ed was the architect that led our campaign to a historic victory in Iowa,” Bachmann said in a statement released late Monday, pointing to her win in the Ames Straw Poll last month. “I am grateful for his guidance and leadership, and fortunate to retain his valuable advice even though his health no longer permits him to oversee the day-to-day operations of the campaign.”

Speaking to CNN, where he was a contributor before the Bachmann campaign, the 68-year-old Rollins said the front-runners were now former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He said Perry’s late entry into the race slowed Bachmann’s buzz and fundraising.

“I think legitimately it’s a Romney-Perry race,” he said. “I think she’s the third candidate at this point in time — which is way different and better than we’d thought when we started this thing — and she’s very much in this thing.”

Rollins, who suffered a stroke a year and a half ago, said his plan had been to put together a team and get through the Iowa straw poll and then make a transition.

“I have great affection for her. I’ll do everything I can to help her. It’s still very much the team I put in place. I just don’t have the endurance to go 12-, 14-hour days seven days a week anymore,” he said.

Rollins’ departure as campaign chief was first reported by Politico.

His deputy, David Polyansky, who worked with him when they ran former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid in 2008, also planned to step aside, Rollins told CNN.

“David and I have been a team for a long time,” he said. “It’s just a good time to make a change.”

Bachmann, who won election to Congress in 2006 and was a leader of tea partyers on Capitol Hill, had been making great strides in her presidential bid. Her strong showing in debates and forums lent her credibility, and her win in the key early test vote in Ames, Iowa, showed she was serious about building a campaign organization.

Then Perry, a tea party favorite who could overshadow her, entered the race the same day Bachmann won the straw poll, slowing her momentum.

“It makes it harder. But at the end of the day, he’s got to prove himself in a very tough arena, in debates and all the rest of it,” Rollins said.

Campaign strategist Keith Nahigian was assuming the role of campaign manager on an interim basis. Prior to the Bachmann campaign, he was a government consultant at the Health and Human Services Department to the Homeland Security Department, as well as to the National Security Council.

“Keith has played a vital role in the success we have had to date and I’m confident he can lead us to a strong finish in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and across the country,” Bachmann said in her statement.

Bachmann is no stranger to top-level turnover. She has experienced frequent staff changes in her congressional office since 2007, and not just in low-level positions that typically see a parade of younger, inexperienced staffers bouncing from one office to the next. She has had six chiefs of staff in four years, five press secretaries, five legislative directors and three communications directors.

Some former staffers have complained about Bachmann’s style. They have said questioning her decisions draws suspicions of disloyalty and noted that she insisted on being involved in even the smallest details.

Bachmann has discounted her congressional staff churning as “growing pains” in an office that “moves at a fast rate of speed,” and she stresses that many left for more influential jobs elsewhere.

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

Comments

One Comment

  1. Tom says:

    Bachmann can make all the changes she wants it isn’t going to help her from keeping from getting corrected all the time from her gaffes!

  2. Michele Smells says:

    “citing health reasons”, right, he regained his sanity.

  3. Not Suprised Up North says:

    Looks like the rats are leaving the ship before it sinks. They can only do so much for a loose cannon. She gets up there and ruins what ever they had planned for her to say. She opens her mouth and foolishness falls out. The only thing they could have done to control her mouth is to tie and gag her. Then she’d chew threw the ropes.

  4. Ray says:

    So her staff changed, so what? Doesn’t every candidate have staff changes in a campaign. As usual just a opportunity to try to tar and feather her for no reason.

    1. kman says:

      Ray when the Top Two Bail that Indecates its over you could still write her in

      1. Tom says:

        @ kman

        He will! I think her followers thought that party could find someone nuttier than her and they aparently have in Rick Perry!

        1. Tom says:

          @ kman

          Ooops….ment to say her followers thought that they couldn’t find someone nuttier than her.

  5. em0886 says:

    She’s a true leader,a maverick. Her intellect,leadership & ambition isn’t reliant upon staffers and aides..She’ll continue to do just fine.

    1. idiocracy says:

      Sorry, “Maverick” is the property of McCain.

      …and I associate that with a failed campaign. In my eyes, you just condemned her campaign.

  6. Bachmannfloral says:

    They left for health reasons and Michelle will bring gas down to $2 per gallon. She even makes the gop scratch their heads….

  7. Pavel says:

    Neither of these two “candidates” is worth a hill of beans! Let them pop off their mouths at one another for the next year. It makes for “humor”!

  8. marty says:

    Ed Rollins campaign manager is that “old Washington ” poliitics?

    1. Tom says:

      @ Marty

      Yes he is! But he was willing to say publicly what he really thinks about Palin that rest of the GOP will not. But of course he has nothing to lose by doing so either!

  9. Plugging my nose up North says:

    She’s hoping she can use “it” as a trap to draw in more followers.

    1. dan says:

      Obama may want to try to same trick. Have you seen the newest poll numbers? He has almost fallen off the face of the Earth.

      1. Dave's Not Here says:

        Article is about Bachmann, not Obama. Try to stay on topic, dan, if you’re able.

        1. idiocracy says:

          Dan is just comparing two candidates that are losing. Sorry if the stench of one candidate gets on the other.

          You got Obama on my Bachmann!
          You got Bachmann on my Obama!
          aw, both are ruined.

          1. Carl says:

            Wonderful! I wiped my Obama with Bachmann paper!

          2. Dave's Not Here says:

            Obama is not a “candidate” who is “losing” at this particular moment. That was a false statement.

            1. Sorry, Dave but he is a candidate and he is losing says:

              “President Obama’s job approval ratings plunged to a new low ahead of his major economic speech Thursday, with widespread discontent among Americans over his handling of the economy and jobs, according to a spate of polls released. Tuesday…Obama’s overall job approval rating is at a low of 44 percent, down 3 percentage points since July, while his handling of the economy stands at 37 percent… suggests Obama is no longer favored to win re-election in 2012.”

  10. Murph says:

    Tea party now crying foul because Hoffa finally declares to fight the war the GOP/Tea P. Party started! As ever the GOP starts a war they expect Democrats to fight for them.Go figure why they would do it to working Americans,it was and is senseless lack of judgement and an error fatal to their plans for extremist/millionaire slanted fiefdom in 2012! Stop treading on us! Your wussy GOP slave owners will lose this brawl and beg forgiveness! Forgiving is not forgeting however!

  11. Citizen says:

    From the Dismal Political Economist’s blog:
    “Mr. Obama has consumed almost all of the political capital he generated upon entering office. His re-election now depends upon the voters finding the Republican candidate less desirable than Mr. Obama. The good news for the President, the Republicans seem to be doing everything possible to make that happen.”
    With candidates like Bachmann, Obama has no problem getting reelected.

    1. Betty says:

      Pretty sad when you re-election hopes rely on someone else to faulter rather than your own merits!
      Anyone who thinks MB will be running against Obama in 2012 has the polical knowledge of Elmer Fudd.

  12. Kathy says:

    CNN’S ED ROLLINS CONTIBUTES MUCH TO RAISE A REDFLAG AGAINST THE GOP, IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY. THE COLD AND STEELY FIX IN HIS EYES IS MATCHED WELL WITH HIS RIGID FACIAL EXPRESSION AND LOW INTENTFUL UNINFLECTED SPEECH.

    BY CONTRAST, CNN’S JAMES GARVILLE IS DEMONSTRATIVE IN HIS MANNER, BUT I CAN’T MOVE PAST THE USED CAR SALESMAN PERSONALITY, AND THE CLINTONISM WHICH WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET…. THE ECONOMY APPEARED TO THRIVE UNTIL WE BECAME BROKEN AS A RESULT. I CAN’T BELIEVE CLINTON WASN’T IMPEACHED!

    TO ORGANIZE A THIRD MAJOR PARTY SEEMS MOST APPROPRIATE AT THIS TIME.

    1. CAPS LOCK BROKEN!!!! says:

      THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE ON THIS PAGE!!!!!! YOU CAN TELL BECAUSE IT IS ALL IN CAPS!!!!! READ THIS!!!!!!

    2. 3rd party says:

      Now I like the sounds of that!

  13. anti bachmann says:

    bachmann you are such a loser GIVE IT UP

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From WCCO | CBS Minnesota

The Leaderboard
Good Question

Listen Live