CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann’s former New Hampshire staffers say they were deceived and treated as second-class citizens before they quit in frustration last week.
In a news release, the five former staffers said they hold no ill will toward the Minnesota congresswoman, but they could not continue working for her given their treatment by members of her national team. They did not get into details, but characterized the national team’s behavior as “rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel,” toward the New Hampshire staff, and “abrasive, discourteous, and dismissive” of the state’s voters.
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“These are our neighbors and our friends, and some within the national team treated them more as a nuisance than as potential supporters,” the group wrote.
Bachmann’s spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment Monday.
Bachmann has focused her campaign on Iowa and South Carolina, where her social conservative message has more appeal. She has visited New Hampshire just twice since announcing her campaign in late June, and during her latest trip earlier this month, blamed her absence on the August debate in Congress over raising the nation’s debt limit. While other candidates have been traveling to New Hampshire last week and this week to formally sign up to get on the ballot for the yet-to-be scheduled New Hampshire primary, Bachmann’s campaign told the secretary of state’s office last week it might send her paperwork by mail.
In their statement issued Sunday, the former staffers also tried to clarify confusion that arose Friday when Bachmann’s national spokeswoman said she had not been notified that any New Hampshire workers had quit. The group said Jeff Chidester, Bachmann’s New Hampshire campaign manager, quit on Thursday, sending an e-mail to a national official saying that while he was “done,” others might be interested in staying if national officials reached out to them.
The other four staffers quit on Friday after their efforts to get in touch with the national team to discuss their concerns were ignored, they said.
The staffers said all five of them had been full-time, paid employees until Sept. 11, when they were asked to temporarily go “off payroll” due to financial concerns.
“It saddens this team to see a dedicated patriot — a person so desperately needed in the White House — sequestered behind a wall of pretense, guarded by political operatives consumed by their own egos,” the group wrote.
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