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. Richard Cagle

    The interview with Bachman was more of a partisan hatchet job than honest journalism. You are better than that. Your questions were absurd. Come on! All presidents must travel, but with 2000 people? All areas of the budget must be cut, you know that but were simply trying to set a bear trap with which to play sound bites for future anti-conservative republican adds. Your tone, approach and left leaning agenda are obvious. No wonder more people watch FOX.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  2. Diego del Valle

    No other president in my lifetime, and I am 80 years old, has the arrogance and sense of entitlement this man has. He is going to make it difficult for blacks to be worthy of that office

    November 3, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  3. aatami

    Bachman and the rest of her right wing cronies are about to have to put their money where their mouths are. They've been complaining and moaning about big spending but have stated nothing in terms of what they plan to do to reign in "big government." The reason? They have no plan, they talk about cutting the budget but won't actually state what they want to cut other than taxes for the rich. That's gonna help!? The worst part is that the common american bought their BS hook, line, and sinker. Now we are all going to suffer these fools and their folly. Gotta love america.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  4. Gary Rogers

    i found your interview with Michele Bachman terribly one sided, I am not a constituant of hers but was watching your show and felt that all you wanted was to trap her. Disgusting.

    Also, read the papers and you will see that this trip by obama is excessive. Do your job and investigate this and stop badgering her to trip her up.

    You are losing my support in your one way journalism

    November 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  5. Brian

    "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.”

    What is reality? Evidently voters in this country don't know.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  6. Mark G

    This women is a right-wing email.
    Nothing more.
    She spouts undefined, unverified and typically WRONG information and the people she is pandering too are to myopic to question the source.
    Until Americans stop letting the politicians spoon feed them unquestioned information and stop and ask for proof and provenance, nothing in this country will get any better.

    The Indonesia trip is a security bear for several reasons she refuses to acknowledge or likely learn about;
    Many of these countries, because of their constitutions, will not allow any foreign nation to provide military protection for their visiting dignitaries within their sovereign borders. WE DON'T EITHER... We bill the visiting nation for the costs which is what they are doing to us.
    Additionally, this trip is necessary in order to try and balance trade between the Far East and the US that currently favors the Far east about 20 to 1 over the US.
    Her attack on this trip is ludicrous and strictly a partisan screed that has no merit and no factual basis.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  7. Phil - South Dakota

    She doesn't have a clue. It's like, well, there should be light tomorrow followed by dark. Maybe some clouds and maybe not. What's a shame is the salary we pay her. Maybe we need to institute pay-for-performance. Before the election we heard all of these good things and the lesson this party learned. The election is over and now the agenda seems to have changed and the economy and jobs are on the back burner. The only thing burned is us...again by a party that criticizes with no plan! What a shame!!!

    November 3, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  8. dennish

    Whatever the cost-it is too much! They are taking 2000 people with over 500 rooms and 40 aircraft-OUTRAGEOUS!!!

    November 3, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  9. David

    I have a question for Rep. Bachmann and all of the others that are complaining about this trip and its cost, what cuts are YOU making in Congress?

    I think that ALL Congresspeople need to take a five year pay freeze. They need to hold staff levels at current levels or cut by at least 10%. They need to pay full price for their meals in the capital.

    And, let them all fly coach!!! Let's ground the government fleet for ALL Congresspeople unless they are in the top 6 in line for the Presidency (VP, Speaker of the House, etc). Their security is important.

    I have to say to Rep. Bachmann and all of the others, PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!! I am tired of their whining with no real sacrifice.

    Follow Lee Iacaccoa's example, work for a $1/year. Show some guts and leadership!

    November 3, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  10. Bill

    These Republicans that want to posture on the right side of spending without saying where they would reduce it make me sick. It's just manipulation of the ignorant, the scared, and the angry.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  11. keeth in cali

    No surprises here. "Must cut spending!" But always fails to say exactly where. The GOP will fool you saying they will cut spending, but really they'll tackle only about 8% of the budget. They won't tackle our real problems.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  12. David

    How come the media is not questioning the cost of this trip?

    November 3, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  13. Jonny Keener

    I'm tire of hearing about cutting social security and Medicare. I had no choice but have paid into it for 45 years. I've paid in the max. amount for 34 years. That money is mine. I did not put it in the General Fund. I hope this time, the people that paid into Social Security don't lay down and allow the Government to steal our money.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  14. Tiffany

    Seriously...why does she get ANY airtime? She's a looney fringe Republican and gives all other Republicans a bad name. Why not interview people who don't think that the swine flu is spread by Democratic presidents and that the census will be used to put conservatives in concentration camps?

    Why are the dumbest people the stars of the Republican party? Where is Abe Lincoln and Charles Sumner when we need them? What happened to the REAL Republican party?

    It's so sad. If you're intelligent in today's political world, the dummies call you "elitist." Somehow, screaming lies loud enough and enough times makes it so...and real intelligent decision-making is completely ignored.

    Anyone else find this utterly detestable?

    November 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  15. Devin

    The bottom line is Obama didn't play the political game right. All I heard from republicans was spending this, fear that (fear won them the Bush years why not), only 3 times had I heard that the money given to the banks had been paid back. The president can do the right thing all day, it means nothing until he takes credit for it. Now any improvements from here till 2012 can be claimed by republicans as well making them stronger rivals in the 2012 election. The ones that don't care seem to claim everything that works was their idea and, while the ones who do care never want credit for anything and end up serving one term.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
  16. Thomas in Vancouver

    Typical Bachmann - complains about phantom issues and then offer no solutions to the real problems facing the country. Please remember that this woman stated emphatically that "Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn't even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas."

    November 3, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  17. M.J. Plattner

    How does that Bachmann chick explain that millliions of people have been pumping their own money into the Social Security System-and it's shamefully broke only because the greedy politicians have the audacity to use it in the general fund- She needs to go back to school to maybe learn something this time around. I'd be ashamed to say I voted for someone so lacking in common knowledge. My sons have been pouring thousands into the system and won't see a penny-while greedy people like her can serve 1 term, put no money in and get huge pensions. Unfortunately too many polititians now think they are better than enyone else!

    November 3, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  18. Patrick

    Are we supposed to be surprised that Bachmann has no answers? Has she ever had a solution to any problem other than to place blame on the democrats? Now, American voters have sent more like her to Washington. If Americans think Washington is screwed up now, just wait to see what the next two years bring. The only thing voters have accomplished is to throw gasoline on the fire.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
  19. Martin in Kelowna, BC

    What is it with Republicans and their ongoing bashing of Democrats, while refusing to list any of their own ideas on how to cut spending?

    Sure, the Obama trip may be over the top, but until you can come up with your own solutions, quit bashing the other guys.

    Personally, I'm AMAZED that the American sheeple have fallen for the same old tired tactics of just blaming the other party while not coming up with any solutions if their own.

    Different clowns, same circus, pretty much ends up with the same result.

    Americans have been tricked all over again into voting for something that has no substance and no solutions.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
  20. deb fein

    Truly, how are Americans able to vote for Ms Bachmann and not feel like they committed a great disservice against our country?

    November 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  21. George Guadiane Austerlitz, NY

    From the article: "Bachmann said those entitlement programs need to be given a closer look.
    She was talking about Medicare and Social Security... Why is it that NO ONE, not even Democrats talk about cutting financial support to PROFITABLE BUSINESSES??? Dick Cheney met in secret with Big Oil and gave them BILLIONS A YEAR in tax exemptions and breaks. PROFITABLE Big Pharma gets BILLIONS in subsidies for "research." Big Agri, the list is long and the costs are much MUCH MUCH larger than any of the conventional "welfare" programs...
    Did I mention that THOSE entitlements got to PROFITABLE companies that don't need the money or services to prosper??? And the welfare that always gets complained about? Costs BILLIONS less and help people who cannot help themselves, sometimes through simple desperation. Republicans are "REALLY" going to be good for Middle, Working Poor and the REALLY Poor – "Right!"

    November 3, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
  22. Janet B

    I don't know what the cost is, but the security he needs is different than any other president in our country's history. Guess she does not care, though.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  23. DrPete

    It absolutely blows my mind that this woman got re-elected.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  24. Trey

    These idiots better not get too cocky because they need to remember: America didn't want conservatism. They were simply the alternative. They can and probably will be booted as fast as they came.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  25. Dave

    Bachmann is a representative from a two bit district in Minnesota. Why don't we just not fund anything for that district and see if she gets elected the next time. That should save millions of dollars.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  26. tim

    Michelle. Bachman is a national embarrasment, a throwback as a humam, and stands fo nothing short of corporate control if medical care, eroding human rights, and futhuring the Shrub years. More and more I wish i was not born in this stupid country. Worse she is my congress person...bleach!

    November 3, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
  27. jeff

    I like how CNN already has started to try to tear all the newly elected people down. Just shows how bias CNN is. They don't go after the DEMS like that.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  28. Jason

    Looks like there isn't going to be much cooperation between the parties still.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  29. Angela

    I love Michele and think that she and Sarah should both run in 2012.
    Maybe then the cobwebs and male B.S. will be swept away. Go Girls! 🙂

    November 3, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
  30. katie

    And that's the GOP right wing in a nutshell: all mouth and no brains. It will be interesting to see if they actually go to DC to work or if they plan to spend the next two years still crabbing about what they think should be done. The GOP has ideas but no plans. Indeed, some of the newly elected have already declared their lack of intent to get anything done. As if that is something to be proud of! Now that they've set the pendulum in motion, it will most likely just swing back the other way.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  31. Pamela

    Good luck on getting anything done over the next two years...Also these same people who were elected will not be elected next term. Unfortunatey for the Obama camp not everyone showed up due to the President not actually being on the vallot. I believe that the dems will be back in control in 2012.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
  32. steven polite jr.

    This is completely blown out of proportion when George Bush traveled abroad was there anyone keeping up with how much each trip was?No! The republicans are responsible for 9/11 housing bust and the economical meltdown. They forget the pain they have caused America. Obama came in on bad terms and is trying to turns things around. And then the republicans again want to point fingers and create more problems in america! They talk so much and don't compromise. What 's new?

    November 3, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  33. Jon

    Unbelievable that Obama can blame the Dems loss on the economy, then turn around and plan a $200 million a day trip.

    Unless he decides not to come back - then it will be worth it.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  34. Joe in MN

    YOU'RE NEVER IN MINNESOTA! STOP YOUR OWN TRAVEL EXPENSES..he's the president and head of our international relationships...

    November 3, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
  35. stan harry

    the president has his own money tell him to use it for this trip and is this trip really going to help the american people with jobs and this economy of ours. or better yet will it help india's economy and give them jobs..?

    November 3, 2010 at 9:30 pm |
  36. Kevin Cantu

    Finally someone who knows that Social Security is not even worth it. Now if only the rest of the Republicans can agree with her and Paul Ryan on this topic. Social Security needs to go away along with Medicare. Let the Baby Boomers find another way and besides they have pensions and retirement accounts so as this Gen X sees it...they don't need this two entitlements. I know I don't need it and want my money back that I have paid into Social Security...along with Medicare. Let the thirty something's opt out of it if they want too. Quit tying our hands to Social Security and Medicare.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  37. dwighthuth

    Why Bachmann identify specifically the cuts that she is attacking? What are the specific cuts involved? Why is Bachmann attacking in generalized fashion without identifying the cuts that she is using to shellack President Obama with?

    America is sick an tired of generalization's. America want's specific's. American's are not as dumb as the rich and wealthy expect us to be so that their pomp and circumstance will be illuminated like the bust of a buzzrd in the throws of the night.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  38. cel

    Representative Bachmann, like many others, talks a good game, but when someone tries to pin her down on specifics, she won't give any answers. She hasn't a clue about what it takes to run an efficient government, but she wants to cut spending.

    Lesson 1-The cost of freedom is paid in lives and blood
    Lesson 2- The cost of living in a free country is paid in TAXES. And it doesn't come cheap.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
  39. rudy

    There is something very, very odd about that lady. Her politics don't concern me, but the way she smiles at inappropriate times and can't seem to answer a simple question is just weird. It's as if the synapses just aren't firing in order.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
  40. Cathy

    If it was a Republican president she would keep her mouth shut and have nothing to say on the matter, this from a woman who sure likes to spend other peoples money.
    Cathy from Minneasota

    November 3, 2010 at 9:22 pm |

    WOW! A Republican (Michell Bachmann)who actually admits that there was overspending for the last 4 (not just 2) years! I'm still waiting for ANY politician in Washington to admit to overspending for the last 10 years!

    November 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
  42. Bill

    Michele Bachmann never traveled at taxpayer expense? Never promoted herself at taxpayer expense? Come on.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
  43. RE McKay

    What do you expect ... she is just another Republican. America ... Learn to Hate!

    November 3, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
  44. Rani MCBride

    Is this Woman for real? Where has she been. Boy how stupid can American's be to vote these kind of idiot's into office. Yes Ms. Bachmann there has been President's with this type of entourage, minus the increased security to shield the President from the crazies you and your tea party group has stirred up!

    November 3, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  45. Andre

    welcome to silly season...

    November 3, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  46. Dennis

    And the lies just keep on coming.............

    November 3, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
  47. Neecy

    The President should be embarassed to spend the money he did for business travel!! If the Banks or Auto CEO took a trip with that kind of extravagnce the people would be outraged. And for those who think our company is not a failing company...wake up! Your CEO just took a junket and sent you a fat bill, with nothing to show for it. Ho wmany Americans could have used that money to save their homes, pay for their medical bills or repaired their failing school? And before you say Bush did it...nobody cares! Obama is in the White House and HE promised change not Bush.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
  48. Ashley

    Bachmann just spent VAST amounts of money on her campaign for re-election...and that's okay? At least our President, also the chief diplomat of the country is using the taxpayers money to improve our international relations...Bachmann spent money on her own personal gain.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  49. Annie Kate

    Congress needs to look at other spending and not just Medicare and Social Security. Those people already on those programs, whether it is because of age or disability, are dependent on the small amount of help those programs dole out now. To cut it would only make a bad economy worse if it affects current recipients. The GOP needs to remember that its not just the wealthy and business that voted for them but the average voter too and it is time the GOP keeps them in mind in all their actions.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:04 pm |
  50. Mark David, Toronto

    I wish there were lies and exaggerations dems could spew and get away with.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
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