Image: Michelle Bachmann
Chris Usher  /  AP
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation" in Washington on Sunday.
updated 6/26/2011 8:34:18 PM ET 2011-06-27T00:34:18

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann said Sunday her bid to unseat President Barack Obama shouldn't be viewed as "anything personal" against the Democrat — he's "just wrong" on his policies for America.

In an interview with The Associated Press on the eve of her entry in the 2012 GOP presidential race, the Minnesota congresswoman said she does not foresee problems moving from frequent naysayer to the country's proposer-in-chief. She said voters can expect her to propose an economic agenda that includes cuts to corporate taxes and phase-outs of taxes on inheritances and investment earnings.

Her economic turnaround plan will also include a repeal of unspecified environmental regulations, she said.

Story: Would Perry-Bachmann fight be too far right?
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"Look, I love the environment. I love clean air, clean water. I'm a sportswoman. I love the outdoors. We will keep that. But the EPA has been an expansion department," she told the AP from outside her girlhood home in a now-gritty Waterloo neighborhood, where she says her Democratic parents taught her lifelong sensibilities.

Of Obama, she said, "I don't have anything personal about our president. But he's just wrong. But his policy prescriptions have been wrong."

The nothing-personal message was a departure from her 2008 comments questioning whether Obama had "anti-American" views. She has said she wishes she framed her criticism differently.

Bachmann, a tea party favorite, planned to kick off her campaign Monday in Waterloo where she has been greeted with a new poll predicting she'll be a force in the state that opens the GOP nomination context. The Iowa Poll released Saturday by The Des Moines Register showed her in a statistical tie with Republican rival Mitt Romney among likely caucus-goers.

The poll showed Romney with 23 percent support and Bachmann with 22 percent among those who said they were likely to vote in the nation's first Republican nomination contest. The top five included Georgia businessman Herman Cain, at 10 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, with 7 percent each.

Speaking later to hundreds at a nearby ballroom, Bachmann effusively mentioned her Iowa roots.

"We need more Waterloo. We need more Iowa. We need more closeness, more families, more love for each other," she told her enthusiastic crowd.

The audience soaked it up.

"She's one of 'us.' There are too many of 'them' in Washington and not enough of 'us,'" said insurance salesman David Alderman. "I think she's got star power. She's a frontrunner right now."

Debt 'scare tactics'
Earlier Sunday, Bachmann had harsher words for those warning economic calamity unless Congress raises the government's borrowing limit by an August deadline.

"It isn't true that the government would default on its debt," Bachmann told CBS' "Face the Nation." She later added, "It is scare tactics."

Instead, she said the U.S. could avoid a default by paying only the interest on U.S. obligations while lawmakers work on a deal to cut spending dramatically as part of a new debt ceiling.

Such an approach has been derided as unworkable by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Obama planned separate meetings Monday with Senate leaders as negotiations on trimming spending and raising the debt ceiling moved into a new stage. Talks among lawmakers of both parties ended last week when Democrats and Republicans reached an impasse over whether there should be any role for additional revenue in reducing the deficit.

Officials say the nation's borrowing will exceed its $14.3 trillion limit on Aug. 2 and that economic shockwaves around the world would result from the first financial default in U.S. history.


Associated Press writer Douglass K. Daniel in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Perry contemplates run

  1. Closed captioning of: Perry contemplates run

    >>> in the race for the republican nomination, the tea party wants an economic hawk, social conservatives want a fighter on prayer and abortion. supporters say that texas governor rick perry is both. we have a republican strategist and former press secretary ? to senator cay bailey hutchenson and just back from austin. great to see you. you worked for senator hutchison on the hill. you were not part of the campaign against rick perry . you're not aligned with him. you don't come from his camp. if you could take a step back at who is rick perry and what does he represent. tell us about him.

    >> you've got to start by recognizing he's governor of the second largest state for 11 years now. he's won statewide election five times. he's never lost an election. i think he would unify social conservatives and the tea party . i think he would be a strong candidate in iowa and south carolina . if our republican primary voters are not wanting to see mitt romney be the nominee, i think you can make a case that rick perry is the stronest candidate become the nominee. you have the remember the narrative in texas is positive. job growth. he's had a very successful session. pro-life, border security , balanced the budget without raising texass. he has a real record to run on. i think he's probably the strongest candidate if he runs to defeat romney for the nomination.

    >> at the same time, he's got this august 6th christian prayer breakfast which is certainly appealing to evangelicals to social conservatives , but does he move too far to the right on the social issues to be a viable candidate if he were to bo the nominee against barack obama ? is he more of a primary vote getter than a general election vote getter?

    >> it's a good question. i've never really quite understood all the controversy around the prayer event on august 6th . to me it seems it's a good idea.

    >> there is the separate of church and state . it is a christian prayer breakfast and it is a government i function. &h?hp &hc%

    >> that's true. keep in mind the time line . he was not preparing to run for president. the opportunity came up. he has a special session that's ending this weekend in austin. he's going to travel the country. meet privately with donors. he's going to south carolina august 3rd to speak at the red state gathering. it's the same day as the ames straw poll . and then the prayer event is that weekend in houston. we're going to know i think in the next four or five weeks potentially by the time of the next debate on july 10th if he's in or not. he doesn't have a lot of time to consider this. ultimately i think he needs to understand can he raise the money to run a good campaign and win the nomination. there's really an opportunity for him based on his record. based on his background.

    >> i think there's an opening in the field. you keep speaking as romney as the man to beat. what about michelle bachmann , very appealing out of the 0000 primary, what about -- new hampshire debate, what about jon huntsman declaring today, pawlenty?

    >> look at the field and tell me is there someone that can win two of the first three states. the only person that can do that is perry. huntsman i don't know where he could win. romney probably wins new hampshire. if perry jumps in, he has a chance to win south carolina and iowa. if bachmann and huntsman can raise that money and win more than one state, i don't know.

    >> he'd be the only southern candidate.

    >> again, governor of the second largest state for 11 years with a really strong record. he's a good speaker and the texas narrative is a real strength.

    >> thank you so much.


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