With little more than a month to go before the Iowa Caucuses, presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann took off the gloves against her two main GOP rivals in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV.
The Minnesota congresswoman accuses former House speaker Newt Gingrich of being too tied to special interests, while she says that former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney is not a real conservative.
And neither man has stood true to a set of core convictions, emphasizes Bachmann, whose new book is entitled, “Core of Conviction: My Story.”
“I don’t sell myself for influence,” insists Bachmann, adding that the location of Gingrich’s Washington, D.C. office on K Street is the epitome of establishment politics.
“He has an organization that’s taken in well over $100 million to have influence on behalf of special interests in Washington, D.C. Isn’t that exactly what we’re trying to get away from: crony capitalism?
“That’s what I’ve been fighting when I’ve been in Washington. And that’s the real juxtaposition. It’s one thing to present yourself as a conservative. It’s another thing to be a conservative. I am a conservative.”
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She urges voters to take a closer look at Romney’s record as governor in deciding whether he has been true to conservative ideals, most notably on the issues of healthcare, abortion and same-sex marriage.
“He is the governor that put in place the precursor to Obamacare — socialized medicine for Massachusetts,” says Bachmann. “He also has been an advocate for abortion. Now he’s saying that he’s pro-life and he’s also been an advocate for same-sex marriage. He signed 189 same-sex marriage licenses as governor. But that just begins to scratch the surface of his policies.”
Bachmann also points to Romney’s support of the TARP bailout as well as his support for costly global warming initiatives that she believes will increase the price of energy.
In the end, voters must decide whether Romney is a true conservative.
“Voters will make that decision, but clearly that doesn’t sound like a conservative,” she says. “And I think that’s another reason why voters are going to come home and see that I am their champion.”
In contrast, she says that she has remained steadfast in her opposition to Obamacare and has stood firm on other conservative issues.
“I was bringing 40,000 Americans to Washington to fight Obamacare and they were advancing it,” she says. “I think when people take a look at where we’re at in the issues, they’ll come back to the core conservative in this race and that’s me.”
Bachmann says she’s the only consistent conservative.
“I’ve been consistent. It hasn’t always been politically correct, but I haven’t deviated based on political expediency. I fight and I stand true to principle,” says Bachmann, “And wouldn’t that be refreshing to have somebody in the White House who we know we can count on, who is going to do what they say and say what they mean.”
Bachmann declined to offer advice to Herman Cain as he continued to reassess the future of his embattled presidential campaign. “I like Herman Cain,” she says. “He has a fabulous personality and he’ll have to make that decision.”
She also took a jab at the media, and NBC in particular, for her treatment as a guest on Jimmy Fallon’s “Late Night,” when the band welcomed her with an off-color song, and also for an implication that she didn’t know the United States had closed its embassy in Iran more than three decades ago.
“I know that there is not an American embassy in Iran,” counters Bachmann, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. “They were trying to suggest that I didn’t know that, and that’s false. It’s just another NBC attack and unfortunately NBC has been a very willing partner to lift up the Obama administration and tear down any Republican rivals. And I just think it’s time to stop. This kind of media bias is just over the top.”
In general, she says, the media has demonstrated a bias against conservative women.
“Had that been Michelle Obama who had come out on stage rather than Michele Bachmann I think the president of NBC would have come crawling and begging forgiveness from Michelle Obama and would have issued an apology. I never heard from the president of NBC. I got a senior vice president. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s fine. I’ve put it to bed. It’s just the idea that, why is it okay to do this to conservative women but not to liberal women? I just think that it doesn’t matter what your politics are you shouldn’t demean women.”
While Egypt is still awaiting the results of its first election since the February revolution, Bachmann maintains that the policies of President Obama are partly to blame if that country falls under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, a moderate Islamist movement banned for decades by Hosni Mubarak.
“President Obama has helped to radicalize and bring to power Muslim Brotherhood elements. That’s not good for the United States. They are radical and it doesn’t do any good to have a radical organization be more empowered than they were before,” she explains. “This bodes very ill for the best interests of Israel, our greatest ally in the world, and for the United States as well.
“President Obama has a lot to answer for. He’s been a disaster on foreign policy. He’s weakened the United States and he’s put us in a position where our citizens can be far more vulnerable, even potentially to nuclear attacks.”
Bachmann says that she has the most current experience with respect to national security matters than any other GOP candidate based on her position on the Intelligence Committee.
“We’re living in a very dangerous world and this election will be about jobs and the economy but I will tell you my greatest concern right now is with the radicalization of Islamist jihadists,” she says. “That’s my worry, and from day one I will be prepared as president because make no mistake about it, the next president of the United States will be tested almost immediately. I’m prepared to meet that test.”
She lays claim to one other qualification that none of her male rivals possess.
“I think it’s time to have a mom in the White House and one that has a backbone made out of titanium who’s tough as nails and who will bring this economy back around and also hold other nations to account,” she says. “I’ll do that as president of the United States.”