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. Raja

    This is the reason why we have problems, people keep voting in idiots who do not know what they are talking about. How do people like this even get elected?

    November 3, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
  2. DDanny1

    This is pretty funny for a Republican who received a good deal of the $300 MILLION Wall Street and the Big Banks gave to defeat the Democrats to have the guts to breathe a word about ill spent money. You would think she would want to lay low and hope the people who voted Repub on Tuesday don't realize the people who not only caused the economic crash, made money on the economic crash and made MORE MONEY on the economic bailout are the single biggest reason the Republicans won back the house. I'm sure at least some of them will understand that the Republicans they voted back in office will be carrying a lot more water for the people who made used the less intelligent Americans forget that the last 365 days of BUSH'S term saw a little over ONE MILLION MORE job losses than the first 365 days of Obamas term. LOL.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
  3. Adam Wilson

    It's funny how Anderson Cooper wants to make only republicans and tea partiers look as though they are lying. The Presidents OWN AGENDA says he's taking 800-3000 people to India and will use 40 AIRPLANES! 40!?! Why does our president need that large an 'entourage'? Come on Anderson-try to find lies that are lies, and quit picking on people that want US citizens to know the TRUTH.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
  4. Khalid

    You did not mention the amount she claimed they were spending per day in India. She claims $200 million per day which is idiotic. For 2000 people that would translate to $100,000 per person per day. She has her facts wrong was is she not questioned for such irresponsible statements??

    November 3, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  5. rob

    Would be nice if this article actually mentioned what the trip will cost. $200 million per day for the president and his 3,000 person entourage. Minor details.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  6. lionel

    Anderson how to we bring Americans together fox has so much hate for the leadership of this country, you never hear the gop saying we will work for the people just the other day an older white male got angry and call Obama a lair I thought he wanted to attack me wild man

    November 3, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  7. lionel

    Someone needs to asked the GOP what's their definition of an American is and which group it represents,clearly the GOP will get nothing done same old same.......

    November 3, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  8. Craig L. Gay

    Wonder how much Nixon's trip to China cost in todays dollars...and FDR's trip to Yalta and a host of other Presidents trips overseas....You know 4 years of excess spending includes the 43rd President I believe. When will the Republicans give it a break, when will the media give it a break. Let's work together not against each other. Common America...let's get it together...TOGETHER!!!!

    November 3, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  9. Jilli

    None of the republicans and/or tea partiers have been able to specifically identify any spending they would cut. None of them.

    It's just another scam to perpetuate their "fiscally conservative" fraud. Check history folks, republicans are responsible for the majority of the debt and deficit this country is facing.

    A leopard can't change it's spots, and a republican is never truly fiscally conservative. They talk a good game, but it's all just a scam.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  10. Josh

    Anderson says Obama dosent get it.. He is the one who doesnt get it. Anderson was the one who was acting like a Obama when he was interviewing Bachman. Just Because she is a conservative female.. Mandate is done. why people like Anderson and MSNBC anchors act like they are smarter than ordinary american people

    November 3, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
  11. Norman A Solow

    This is exactly why the GOP/Tea Party are the party of no. This country has for all intents has lost its stature in the world never mind the United States. Social Security and Medicare actually work and are successful. The voters who gave this phony victory to the GOP/Tea Party will regret this election for many years to come. The President and the Democrats really were blindsided but not taking decisive action against the lies and distorted so called news by the candidates and Fox News. This country has in fact started down a road of very dark days. We the Progressives are now and fore the forseable future now living in a truly Un United States of America. Mark November 02, 2010 as the being of what I call Regressive Politics.

    You are basically living in what went on in Germany pre WWII.

    We will win this battle in 2012 if we all stick together and support our President starting today.


    November 3, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
  12. karen

    Bachmann is a lunatic...would she let someone take her social security from her or her parents.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  13. E.D. Greene

    Anderson Cooper did NOT give a very reliable and news worthy report on the cost of President Obama's overseas trip...and attacking Bachman was very unfair. The reality is you did not report news...you just presented biased and manipulative information full of unsubstantiated speculation. Bachman is not a reporter....that is YOUR JOB...you should get to the bottom with the facts and report them. True and honest journalism is almost non existent in our country. The reason the White House will not report the facts is because it would outrage Americans! It is ridiculous that the President needs an entourage of 3000 people. Our country is in crisis...what kind of message does this send to Americans...the White House should be leading by example. President Obama and Washington DC are extremely out of touch with mainstream America. David Gergen and John King are the only reasonable reporters who speaks with any logic on CNN.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  14. Deborah

    I think it is very important for CNN, at this time, to be discerning in what it covers. I hope that you are not so desperate that you consider this story "news."

    November 3, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  15. jayjay

    Michelle Bachmann must think everyone is as gullible as she is. She keeps saying the President or dems, whichever, should quit spending. As Anderson said, did she complain when Pres. Bush went on trips? Of course not. She's just another ignorant Republican woman who shows her ignorance when she opens her mouth. She won't say what should be cut because she probably doesn't know. She never did answer the question about three things she would cut. She implied that seniors should be given what we're eligible to receive. Apparently, she doesn't know that that's what we receive now! We worked hard for that money and had it deducted from our paychecks for years so we'd have a supplement when the time came. I'll bet if she were old enough to receive social security she would be whistling a different tune. She never said what she would do about Medicare. I'm here to tell you that Medicare is wonderful, and these young representatives and Senators need to realize that for some seniors, Social Security and Medicare is all they have to live on. What does she want us to do, eat cat food and lose our homes or just kill us when we get old?
    All day I have heard the pundits saying that President Obama doesn't get it. I have no problem understanding what he says. He says it quite plainly. What irritates me about the media, is that after he says something, you guys come on and try to tell me what I heard. Sorry, I know what I heard and half the time it isn't what you are telling me I heard. Unfortunately, most people listen to what you say instead of what he said. I'm almost glad that the Republicans won the House. Now they will have to do something or get their butts kicked out in 2012. The stuff Pres. Obama had to deal with when he got in office was an emergency that he had not counted on. I'm smart enough to know that. I think he's done well under the circumstances.
    Unfortunately, people want instant gratification these days and a lot of people are still hurting and it isn't getting done quickly enough. Give the man time and remember that he had no help from the Republicans the past two years.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  16. Nathaniel Russell

    This type of interview, questions, and analysis of her position should have been conducted prior to the election. She, and others, have been allowed to spew these general positions without any challenges to the specifics of what they propose by opponents or the media.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  17. Scott A

    Did Bachmann go after Palin when she used campaign contributions for her family's free air fare and trips? Bachmann's a hypocrite. Republicans don't care about money being wasted unless its money that can go right into THEIR pockets. Say goodbye to Social Security – say goodbye to medicare – say goodbye to everything that makes America a country of opportunity (again, unless you're rich – then you'll have it made).

    November 3, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
  18. Scott Crooks

    Anderson and some other members of the MSNBC cast continue to ask questions of Michelle Bachmann regarding "where cuts will be made" based upon some theoretical 700 billion dollar short fall in tax revenue if the Bush tax cuts are extended. This question displays the fundamental problem that we have with regard to the economy and that is that the liberal / socialist leaning folks that are currently running the government do not have a good understanding of economics.

    The flaw in this question is that they are ASSUMING that increasing taxes on the wealthy will not have any effect on the sales or profitability of their corporations. The question ASSUMES the tax increases on the wealthy will not have an effect on the employment rate and it fails to recognize that it is the wealthy who employ people. The question ASSUMES that employment is somehow a right of the employee and not the employer.

    All of these are false assumptions and so the question is just ridiculous. Even JFK understood that by reducing taxes across the board, including on the wealthy and businesses will result in a net INCREASE in tax revenue.

    Note to Anderson: Please take a class in economics.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  19. Ernest Gorena

    Anderson, do you really not know, or are you just probing her? With this win and the extension of tax cuts; the light at the end of the tunnel has now been relit. Small business and corporate america will now start hiring the unemployed once again. The tax base that will be created by doing this simple extension of tax cuts, is the only way we can even start talking about really reducing our deficit.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  20. trent

    Anderson, you need to pull a Kanye West and take the mic away from all these politician that don't answer the simple question. I don't want to here everyone skip around the specific questions. They should either answer the question or their mic should be muted. Simple question, what are 3 things you will cut immediately to help offset the cost.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  21. Neb, from california

    What does smaller goventment mean exactly?Wouldn't to start laying of more goverment workers in hopes of creating a smaller government at this time be deleterious to the unemployment problem we can't seem to solve?

    All things being equal, I do believe the whole country; democrats, republicans, independants, and tea partiers would agree that smaller government and lower taxes would be a great thing to have, the problem is how do we reconcile our current economic situation with those ideals.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
  22. Mercfan

    So what else is new? This has been going on for the last 2 years. GOP members want to cut spending but won't say where to make them. They are afraid of crossing the voters that just gave them the House majority because they know in 2 years, the could be the ones being ousted. It's time to put up and shut up. If there were term limits they wouldn't be concerned about getting re-elected and just do the job they were elected to do and wouldn't be influenced by the lobbyists. By the way, to my Tea Party friends, the only way to REALLY change things in Washington, kick out the lobbyists. We had 6 years of GOP control and 2 Years of Democrat control and guess what, they both spent as much as the other. The only difference is what they spend it on and how it's financed. GOP borrow and spend – Democrats tax and spend. Both are mortgaging our future. You want to stop spending, you need to get rid of the lobbyist influence. That's their only purpose for being in DC, is to convince politician's how to spend our money.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  23. Fred Rupert

    Michelle Bachmann is a pain. She knows damn well, or she should know, that part of a president's job is to meet world leaders. That involves travel. If John McCain were president today and taking the same trip, does anybody think she would say one word? Of course not. This is exact kind of political malarkey that turns the electorate off.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  24. Bernadette Kohl

    If Congress wants to reign in goverment spending and entitlement programs, they should start with congressional and other goverment guaranteed pensions. A working stiff needs to work and pay into social security for a minimum of 10 years to receivesa paltry check each month. Congressmen are eligible for enormous lifetime guaranteed pensions and benefits after a limited term in office. The longer they serve the higher the benefit. They work for their own benefit, not ours. We need term limits to get them off feeding from the trough.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  25. Richie Rich

    Well republicons can never tell you exactly where to cut since there are the biggest spender of them all. Two unfunded redundant wars, unnecessary spending on defense weapons that we do not need and blind support for false allies in the middle east. Thats wehre all our money is going.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  26. bob

    Dear Anderson,

    Republicans complain about the spending and debt. Yet they didn't complain about spending under the Bush administration while between the tax cuts and cost of war, the National Debt doubled! In fact, the National debt has always increased the most under Republican administrations. The conservative party doesn't seem to have a grasp on the fact that giving out tax cuts when the government is in the red is not a fiscally conservative policy!

    Interestingly, conservatives don't seem to realize that the amounts being spent by Obama were to get our country away from the brink of Depression!

    To me conservative talk about spending is absolute hypocrisy! Republicans seem to have a strange and illogical view that taxes don't need to be collected even when the National debt exceeds 12 trillion dollars. Clearly, if the government fails then it will fail to provide services to the people which is a fairly unacceptable outcome isn't it?

    To me the only time tax cuts can be justified is when the National Debt is zero, and there is a surplus in the coffers! Otherwise, tax cuts require the government to borrow money and this is how we got into this mess!

    Thank you,


    November 3, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  27. Jim

    If you are going to cut Social Security, you better refund me the money I have been putting in for the last 27 years. Then, by all means, go ahead. Otherwise, try cutting your salary and military spending. Those are the most bloated numbers in any budget.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  28. Larry

    I am one of those social security recipients who thinks that social security should be cut. It's just ridiculous that nobody has the guts to say it. What really doesn't make sense is that my taxes should go up while half the people in the country pay essentially no taxes at all – or get refunds of their non-taxes. That's insane.

    Meanwhile, we get excuses and dodges about a trip to India with thousands of people going on multiple big jet aircraft. Don't tell me that this is standard procedure and that I don't need to know what it costs. I thought it was your job to find out. You give the president a big pass while beating up on Ms Bachmann. The truth is, they probably both need to answer the questions honestly. But you choose not to press the issue with the White House. That's biased reporting.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  29. Bob

    Sadly, now the Republicans have to show some leadership and try to fulfill their promises. Here we see reality come in, what cuts? The lady who has a desire to be the leader of the House wants to cut something, but is not sure what. She also wants to relax the qualification to receive benefits> WHile I guess it is theoretically possible to do both at the same time, political realities say otherwise.
    Will we have two years of stalemate? After all, the Republicans when they were a minority said No to even their own bills. so why be different now.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  30. lezlie

    I watched this segment, I have to say Ms. Bachmann is not that smart. It is amazing that people have not picked up on her lack of skill.
    It is obvious she shoots from the hip, lacks fact based data, an embarrassment to intelligent women.,

    November 3, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  31. Karen m.

    Since when has secret service been considered an entourage? Can we focus on the issues at hand and answer the question straightforth. Are you looking to cut Social Security and Medicare?
    Changing eligibility levels one point or two? Stop with the smoke and mirrors the election is over!

    November 3, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  32. B.Worrell

    I found it amusing to watch Bachmann attempt to weasel her way out of answering AC question on three specific areas she would cut in order to control spending. If I were standing in her shoes, I would feel humiliated. Here she is on national t.v. spreading unfounded propaganda about Obama's trip to India by stating the trip would cost tax payers $200 million but when pressed to impress viewers with her knowledge base in reference to areas where spending should be cut, she demonstrates to the world that she is simply in politics to air negative views and spread lies to the people.

    I would say she is extremely transparent, wouldn't you?

    November 3, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  33. Lenny Pincus

    Nothing this woman says has any basis in reality.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  34. richard in ATL

    Once again Bachmann misses the point of an interview, QandA.The issues facing this nation are a lot bigger than presidential trips and percieved entourage sizes. Would someone please tell the incoming freshman representatives to choose wisely, their role models in the house.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  35. DavidE

    Way to Go Anderson:

    Highlighting the fact that the republicans have absolutely no answer to the problems this country faces.

    You couldn't have picked a better buffoon than Michelle, either. You can just see the deep space between her ears.

    The revealing thing is that you already knew this, but that information never made into mainstream media reporting now did it?

    Could this be because you are a Republican yourself?

    You have no credibility.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  36. Art Gaston

    Dear Anderson,

    Why not keep a chart that details what each elected official would cut? Show the chart on keeping them honest. Politicians will be making ready for those cut questions now that it seems to be a resounding demand.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  37. Chris

    No matter how much it costs, we need to stop spending.

    This is analagous to our own personal finance. You don't go take a vacation when you are broke. When you are broke and out of work, the first thing you do is STOP spending mone, find a job and pay your bills. Once all bills are paid, then save money followed by investing.

    We aren't following the practical common sense advice we all know is right. Stay home Obama! We could use that money to loan to small businesses and put people back to work.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  38. Ronnie Coutinho

    Hello Mr. Anderson Cooper
    Just heard your interview with Michelle Bachmann! She wasnt hassled by your questioning -and she won yesterday!!!Congratulations Ms. Bachmann!
    Reminds me of your interview some time ago with Ms. Renee Ellmers. She wasnt hassled by you at that time. She won yesterday! Can you interview her again? She will win again!
    – You jsut dont get it!!!- and wont!

    November 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  39. Dave C.

    The problem is that facts are boring and opinion is more exciting. About 90% of "facts" are opinion and it seems to me that most people ignore the ten percent.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  40. John

    Bachmann's solution to the President's travel to India.... "Use web conferencing". -Absolute Genius!

    November 3, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  41. Mr. Davidson

    This is what Americans are already over infuriated over ,to begin with,the complete and unadulterated arrogance and extravagant spending on every level.We don't need to go to India right now,Bill Gates is moving his operations there along with many other corporations and Lord knows,Indias folks are over here in droves,we are the cow and it isn't all holy,believe me.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  42. Bryce

    Perhaps, and especially considering the original source, the stated cost of President's visit to India is in Rupees, currently about 45 to the US dollar, making it about $4.4 million per day – also, are they paying rack rates for the rooms?

    November 3, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  43. Lee Bartholomew

    Bachman controls this extremely tiny spot in MN. So much is her ego that some lady well outside of Michelle's district complained about not being able to vote for her. Not about to have some lady of the extremely small minority tell the massive majority on the stuff America wanted passed. And you can't cut taxes and spending at the same time. Kill spending or raise taxes. Not both. Thats the only way to get the surplus back. But the right never intended to get rid of the deficit to begin with. Especially since years ago Cheney said the Deficit doesn't matter. Not that some people have that long of memory. I have more problems with short term memory. But long term memory. No problems there. They are way way overplaying their hand here.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  44. Tom Yuzer

    Instead of the analysts finding ways to support their 'party line', why doesn't someone take a look at who won and who lost in this election. Wasn't it more of a reflection of the unhappiness with the job that everyone in Congress has been doing? How many incumbents lost - in both parties?

    November 3, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  45. Gaspar

    Ask her about bush last trip to southamerica Brazil-colombia-mexico trip in 2007 they stay in the cancun coast 5 star front beach hotel like..find that..

    November 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  46. Greg Geiger

    Bachmann is a pretty-faced puppet that avoids saying anything that would put in her a tough position with her idols...so she spews the unsubstantiated facts that she is supplied and this has allowed her to ascend the ranks within her group. Pathetic.

    Mr. Cooper; continue to press these humans to provide us with the answers that we may not always agree with, but deserve. When did political success simply become the ability to dodge questions as opposed to making a positive impact for the most people?

    November 3, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  47. Joe C

    I think there is an easy way to start cutting. Instead of asking for three things to cut, cut all programs 10% without exception. Also, all of the 501 non-profit organizations have become a haven for elites hiding money. These 501's should be taxed

    November 3, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
  48. Sam

    She never answered the sharp question of where to cut the budget?
    The typical republican agenda of putting smoke screens...
    By the way, I sure like the $200 million per day on the security entourage for the president...Just let keep the rumors and fear reign to advance the republican agenda...

    November 3, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  49. Tina, NY

    Anderson did a great job of interview Ms. Bachman. I would have gotten frustrated with her. She did not answer anything and she rambled. I hope thats not whats in store for us the two years.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  50. Ted Hurt

    WOW!! Great job on the interview with Rep. Bachmann!! Awesome questioning!!! I don't normally comment on your journalism skills but, I had to let you know how awesome your interview skills where in that interview!! Keep up the great work!!

    November 3, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
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