November 3rd, 2010
11:59 PM ET

Bachmann sounds off on spending, won't identify specific cuts

Martina Stewart
AC360° Digital Producer

(CNN) – Fresh off a victory Tuesday in her hotly contested and closely watched re-election bid, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, refused to identify specific cuts to the federal budget while, at the same time, criticizing what she called “over-the-top” spending for an upcoming presidential trip.

When asked in an interview that aired Wednesday on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° whether she would support cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Bachmann slammed the White House for the costs of President Obama’s forthcoming trip to India.

The Minnesota Republican called the trip’s costs “over-the-top.”

She added, “We have never seen this sort of an entourage going with the president before. And I think this is an example the massive overspending that we’ve seen – not only just in the last 2 years, really in the last four.”

Pressed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about whether she would support cuts to Social Security and Medicare proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, Bachmann said those entitlement programs need to be given a closer look.

“What we need to do is reform the system,” Bachmann told Cooper, before pointing out the Social Security program’s dire financial outlook in the short- and the long term.

She added, “For the sake of the most vulnerable people in the country, we have to reform Social Security so it’s solvent."

Later in the interview, in an apparent reference to Social Security and Medicare, Bachmann told Cooper that she would entertain changing the “eligibility levels.”

“We need to look at eligibility levels. Eligibility levels may be too high. We may need to cut them down by a percentage [point] or two,” Bachmann said.

Asked for comment about Bachmann’s criticism of the trip, the White House said in a written statement that the figures cited by the Republican lawmaker “have no basis in reality.”

White House spokesperson Amy Brundage added, “Due to security concerns, we are unable to outline details associated with security procedures and costs, but it’s safe to say these numbers are wildly inflated.”

Bachmann’s comments come on the same day she formally announced her bid to join the House Republican leadership and become the chair of the House Republican Conference in the next Congress. She already has at least one rival for job. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, is also seeking the number four spot in the GOP’s House leadership. Hensarling has already been endorsed by two powerful House Republican leaders.

Filed under: Martina Stewart • Raw Politics
soundoff (434 Responses)
  1. Matt

    As usual, attack the President with false claims and offer no solutions of your own. Gotta love the republican party. Brings nothing to the table, but complains about everything democrats do.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Of course she will not identify specific cuts. The majority of the spending increases over the last 20 years were introduced by Republican congressmen and approved by a Republican president! She has always been vague when it comes to specifics. That way she does not have to worry about answering for her actions. God help Rep. Boehner in having to deal with her and the rest of her now existent caucus!

    November 4, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  3. Shari from Madison

    Typical Republican. Can't even answer a direct question but instead tries to stear the conversation to bashing our President and doing it with at best, part truths at worst outright lies.

    Get ready America. It's going to become even more of a dog-eat-dog world, where truth is not practiced in government and government cares more about staying in power than helping those who really need help!

    November 4, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  4. DS

    Obama has chance to negotiate when he goes to Asia because we can ACCOUNT for the gains/losses to bring correction.

    Obama stands no chance with EU because we cannot ACCOUNT for the trillion dollar (and now Euro) of losses to that continent for decades.

    Europe cut spending model takes away money from one side and gives it back from different side. We don't see that different side.

    It does not change much for North-Americas because dominating nations of EU are pounding on the World markets more aggressively and replacing/acquiring the World markets (into EU markets) in places where North-American economy was/is expected to grow. Had North-america grown into those markets, it would have provided employment to the un-employed in North-Americas. Those losses to EU cannot be ACCOUNTED for.

    Add to the above, we have some Asian economies as well which compete in the low end market, but we can ACCOUNT for those losses and negotiate/correct.

    In brief, EU economy with higher Euro/pound currency would be far worse if they did not have North-American technology and business model to replace worldwide with ruthless planning and aggression. Wont describe again because we have written about it 100 times already.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  5. kevin godar

    3000 person entourage and 34 warships? Sounds pretty expensive. I wish he would have spent that money in my town.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  6. Tim

    Does this woman have any idea of how much $200 million PER DAY is??? Either she flunked high school math or she is just trying to lie in order to make the President look bad. It is time to stop the fear-mongering. I call on everyone to email/call both Representative Bachmann as well as Representative John Boehner and demand that she publicly apologize for lying on national TV.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  7. Demetrius J. Jones

    I would only hope that both parties can and will work together.I already feel as if the repubilcan party has alreay started on the President.He can not change things that took us eight years to get into.I will admit he moved a little too fast entering into the White House.Why is it and someone help me to figure this out, why do Repulicans want the hard working people to work hard and pay higher taxes,higher health insurance.If you want to balance out this bugdet,make those people who set on their ass get up an work.It is not fare that our seniors have to suffer with lack of assistants after working hard for so many years.An working people like myself find it very hard to get ahead. What are you bright people in Washington with all the answers going to about this.Stop arguring over which party has the most seats and get us on the right road to recovery.Trufully speaking anyone can do your jobs,but it takes a caring heart for the people and what's going on to see an listen to the hurt in the peoples voices over lost of jobs,homes,an just trying to make it,while you all fuss in the White House.Yes as you can see an angry taxpayer.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  8. Benf

    And yes, media, you are the tool, not only to allow this, but to carry this out 24×7 so that republicans can deconstruct the president.

    Well, I have news for you.

    You are putting this country at risk by weakening the President at a time where we need a leader to rally around to grow out of this crisis.


    November 4, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  9. Benf

    Google the halo effect.

    They are relying on Bachman to be an attack dog.

    This is because due to what is called the halo effect, people see attractive people in a more positive light.

    As an attractive person people will trust her more, believe she has better social skills, and an entire host of other things.

    Read up on the halo effect.

    Bachman is not here to give constructive criticism to Obama so this country is better off. She is here as an attack dog.

    She won't give any answers, she doesn't have to. The goal is to construct a reality about Democrats and Obama and it is working,

    November 4, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  10. Edward

    I saw something happen in these midterm election that blew my pants off left me shock I saw the Tea Party repackage HATE RACISM & FARE wrapped in a pie box and sold as American pie but what shocked me was who was buying it BLACKS it like having the KUKLUX CLAN coming by your house for a lynching and asking you to go buy the rope for your own lynching now how messed up is that wow !!!!!!!!! I also saw all of the network got their balls cut off no one would say what on their mind or even anything that looks like the truth THIS IS THE NEW AMERICA when you can openly say anything even if its not true and the networks go along with it I have yet to see one network who has the balls to say you are lying no matter how you put it a lie is a lie.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  11. Liz Rounds

    So, the projected figure/cost of Obama's trip is "wildly inflated"...just as the cost savings projected by Obamacare?

    November 4, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  12. Benf

    By the expense from Iraq, I am referring to the costs of bringing everything home. Google how much that costs. Should we cut that? Leave troops and equipment there to blend into Iraqi society?

    What about the segment of Obama's budget, that shows up as deficit, that was a request that emmergency funds be included in the budget just in case... So that even if we don't need them, we are counting them and anticipating the need within the budget. (They weren't used so they will keep in the governments coffers.)

    Bachman where were you when Bush was president and the national debt doubled? Was it okay then because it doubled on policies that your ideology was hell bent on forcing on the country?

    JUST STOP IT! You fool too many people but, you don't fool me. Your only goal is to create as much negativity around the President, no matter what he does, so he can be sufficiently weak in 2012 so a Republican can win. That is IT. I disrespect everything you stand for MIchelle Bachman and I believe in your obsessive hunt for power, you bring to this nation, the lowest form of Democracy possible.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  13. Vincenzo Ferreri

    I doubt the Republicans will have anything positive to add to the House Agenda. They have not contributed anything in the last two years but negativity. I can't believe people have forgotten who is responsible for this mess we are in. Wall Street and Republican Policies have caused homes to be less than have their value and unemplotment to be so high. What is going to change with a Republican House? Nothing Good!

    November 4, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  14. Rob A

    Her platform is, cut taxes, reduce spending, create jobs. And a chicken in every pot....

    November 4, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  15. John Michael

    Mr. Anderson Cooper is acting as if taking 1.2 billion out of the local economy and sending into the black hole in Washington is no big deal. Wahington doesn't create sustainable employment through another wasteful PROGRAM. I wish liberals could understand this simple concept. I would't be shocked if Mr. Cooper headline tonight will be "where are the jobs you've promised?"

    November 4, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  16. Benf

    The budget is off by a trillion four. I'm sure it is the trip to India. People. Don't listen to this woman. She will be fighting to extend the tax cuts for millionaires at a cost of $700 billion to the united states. Then she will not actually allow any cuts when She begins to think about it. Pick your cut Bachman. Roads, so we have worse traffic? The expense of shipping soldiers and materielle from Iraq that brings the war cost to over 1 trillion. Note: Bush did not put the wars in the budget, so they did not show up in the deficit. Obama put the wars in the budget so we would see what we were really spending and get pissed off based on reality.

    Cut... Social security... Education... National defense... Intelligence budget... Health care... Medicare... What Bachman? What will you cut without a massive segment of the entire country rioting?

    Watch Michelle Bachman complain about auto bailouts (where we actually bought stock in the companies... A national investment... And earned a profit. Not exactly a bailout) and then complain that unemployment is too high. (Not investing in the auto industry would have dropped 2 million more jobs out, and the crash would have scared another 4 million jobs out of the economy like the terror of Lehman Brother's collapse.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  17. Bill Zilles

    I agree with Rep. Michele Bachmann,the government (state and federal) like American families must tighten their belts.

    We are out of control with government spending, areas to cut spending should start with Dept Energy – gone, Gov staffing, consolidate and eliminate 30%, Homeland Security consolidate ane eliminate

    Obamacare total dismantle and start over with the pork – there are good ideas and features but let each pass on there own merits

    November 4, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  18. Ernie

    After reading this article, I'm starting to see infighting in the Republican Party already. If this starts, the Republicans will lose all credibility on what they worked so hard to get back. The voters will start to see this and think did "We the People" make a mistake. Michele Bachmann should "Cool it" and wait till all the dust settles. This is what should be done. There are two years left in Obama's first term, now is the time to fix "Health Care" that is so screwed up and put pressure on the Obama to either "Repeal or Make Changes". Second: Get people back to work it the Republicans want to keep their "Majority" in the "House" and in 2012 get the "Majority" in the "Senate" back then get people back to work and bring all American Jobs back the America this is the "First order of Business". Third: Worry about Social Security in 2011-12. Fourth: "Stop all infighting" do the same as Harry Reid did go behind closed door and "Map out a plan" that will work. Fifth: Stop saying this is "What the People Want" the people have already spolen. "Michelle first work on getting things done then work on the "Leadership" you want.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  19. Billy, NYC

    Again, GOP folks do not have their facts checks before they blast them in the media. Their only interest in the next two years is to make sure that Obama is the one-term president. What about the WE THE PEOPLE? GOP is full of BS and GREED.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  20. MichaelK

    Ahh, the realities of governing begin to set in. No compromise is what they want. Here's hoping that is exactly what they get.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  21. Brian

    These fake fiscally never Conservative GOP clowns rubberstamped the Bush Wars and Spending– Stuff tons of earmarks in their Bills then whine about Democratic excess????? Is this a joke????? How about 10% across the board Spending cuts - How about a line Item Veto!!!! How about do as we do - instead of do as we say, not as they always do !!!!! Hypocrites - Black Pots calling the Kettle Black!!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  22. Benf

    Can we stop covering these idiots. Do you realize... All they do is sit there and figure out anything possible that is bad to say about Obama. Then you broadcast it to millions of people. Then it becomes reality, even if there is no basis in reality. Do you understand that you are rewarding politicians with the sharpest tongue – not the sharpest brains or the best ideas? Media you are responsible for the extremism. You are responsible for scaring the confidence further out of the economy, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! You are responsible for broadcasting terrorist acts so frequently and intensely that you give viewers post traumatic stress disorder. Do you not realize, you are doing the work for the terrosits. STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  23. Ruben

    Bachman was a joke. If you are going to come on a national news program atleast try to answer the reporters question, rather than rambling. She looked like a fool.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  24. Ellen Bergerson

    If Pres. Obama didn't work on foreign relations, he would be critized for that. I can hardly wait to see what cuts the Republicans and Tea Party are going to make after all their promises. Their backs are now against the wall to fix things – there are no answers for anyone and Americans are too impatient for the economy to improve. Even in his inaugural address, Obama asked people to be patient and to help him – he isn't a miracle worker. Are we to stupid to govern ourselves?

    November 4, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  25. ralph fulvio

    We spend alot of money on Congressional Salaries..Maybe she should start by cutting spending there.

    How much money do these people deserve while they do nothing for the American populace?

    November 4, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  26. Mike

    Yeah! You tell him Michele! Make the president take Airtran, coach style, like the rest of us! /sarcasm

    November 4, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  27. John

    So what cuts does Anderson support? Oh yeah....he supports only spending.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  28. William of Iowa

    And so, with pointless criticism, campaign 2012 begins.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  29. Rich

    It amazes me the general population would believe any spending for Presidential travel somehow even compares to the tax dollars being laundered by the government to defence contractors through two different wars, tax dollars being used for bailouts to banks who got us into this mess with bad loans, and "The Fed" who has the legal ability to create money, loan it to the government, and then raise inflation to pay for it all. A trip to India isn't even a drop in the bucket.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  30. Craig

    Great, let the Republican hyperbole begin. There will be alot of talk but not much substance.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  31. welches, oregon

    well there you go – day One and the GOP are spreading lies and distorting facts and cannot give any specifics on what they'll do to help, except that the rich need to keep their money.
    Meet your new boss same as the old boss.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  32. Joe

    How brave and visionary to knock a trip on Air Force One to India as over the top. Pathetic. When will some politician step up to the plate and face the real spending problems...social security, medicare, and defense spending...which together account for 60% of the federal budget.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  33. John

    We never get specifics from the republicans, do we?

    November 4, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  34. Dewey E Phillips

    November 4th, 2010 9:00 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Anderson Cooper is a barnyard commentator! Instead of trying to play "gotcha" he should do his homework and ask significant content questions. I refuse to watch him in any context.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:02 am |
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