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. mario

    I love this gal!

    November 4, 2010 at 12:44 am |
  2. Adam

    asked a question....deflect deflect deflect deflect and make crazy eyes....

    November 4, 2010 at 12:44 am |
  3. Marc

    Social Security and Medicare "eligibility levels?" Are all of these newly-elected "protest vote" candidates going to be this stupid? If so, they appear to be the geniuses amon the knuckle-dragers who elected them. Next up, a paper-hanger who wrote a book about his mediocre life – he thinks he'll call it "My Struggles."

    November 4, 2010 at 12:43 am |
  4. Aqeel

    She is just unbelievable! Just shows the calibre of people who always focus on others vs. herself and her solution to solve the debt crisis. Focusing on Obama's trip cost with a cooked up dollar figure and deflecting her job duties on the first day of being reelected just show what they really ran against- a no solutions scare tactics approach.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:40 am |
  5. cinnamon

    Hi I hear about obama turn off to us. And why? Then give us to good reason about budget? Or charge of us american? Mmm..maybe he must very odds some sense common 4/ no reason. It can be very disappointment and I puzzle so..I'm out of step. Cuz. No equal 50 % 50. ???? Cuz where our is support of $ Money/ School/ Rapport fed/ foods/ senior /deaf/ cancer/ then what expect he want to ? Do.? Well..God is power and witness what obama done to u.s. Amen. Adios~

    November 4, 2010 at 12:35 am |
  6. nell

    Some of the folks who voted in this election did not vote because of jobs and the economy. If they did and could fully understand what they were voting for, why did Ohio vote for the very person who voted to send their jobs overseas? Why did the 65 and older vote for people who are going to cut their social security and medicaid? Seems to me, there is another underlying issue which is buried deeply inside the souls of some American people and that's alright. Just as long as you know that we know.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:35 am |
  7. Nick

    She got her information from a publication in India, which was sourcing some local Indian official. The official probably meant 200 million rupees, which would be about 200k per day, and second, this person in India has no way of knowing the cost of Obama's trip.

    Once again this is some utter nonsense to rile people up. Some sideshow subject being talked about, in error, at republican dinner tables across the country. Instead of having truthful and honest discourse, we get the inane.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:31 am |
  8. Brian

    A Presidential trip to India is an over the top expense?!?! What about $1.4 trillion in appropriations for a pair of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Now those are completely unnecessary expenses.

    Like so many of her Tea Party and far right peers, Ms. Bachmann has a pretty loud bark, yet no bite. Sher easily screams about the Obama administration, when speaking about government spending. Yet pork projects have been proven to be just as big with Republicans as Democrats. As for Medicare, the people who elected all these new Republican Senators and Congressmen would never even conceive of giving up their benefits. SO where does the cut come from? Military? Not likely with her constituents. So I propose that Ms. Bachmann shut up, completely, until she can come on AC360 with a detailed, comprehensive plan that outlines what she would do, that the Obama administration did not.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  9. nell

    I cannot believe the poor and destitute in this country do not want healthcare. Who is going to care for all the sick, elderly and children when they are pushed off the insurance rolls, cuts in social security and medicaid?. I am by no means wealthy, but I do not mind paying more out of my paycheck for this social program. I honestly do not believe some of the American people voted for people who are going to make cuts to their livelyhood. When these people finally realize what has happened to them, who are they going to call, the government?

    November 4, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  10. David Wood

    Let's look at the costs for trips for the last 10 Presidents, adjust for inflation and see who spent how much. CNN seems to have the time, the motivation for uncovering "scandal" and the penchant to air these kook ideas.

    Anderson, is this really where you want to spend your time reporting? Really? Or you can stick with the real, tough issues and dig deep. I'd much rather watch that.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  11. Harry

    Yes we know Michele, reform everything so it is skewed to the rich - we know, we know.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  12. Jon

    This, after she spends the last TWO YEARS touring all over the US on a shameless self promotion tour at the expense of MN taxpayers.


    November 4, 2010 at 12:16 am |
  13. jonathan

    ladies and gentleman may i introduce the new republican house thx for voting for them

    November 4, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  14. Blaine Anderson

    I love Bachmann's Red Herring fallacious response! Additionally, it's ridiculous how she constantly dances around the question and never has a solid, logical answer or solution. The only thing she stands strong on is irrelevant social issues, such as being homophobic and anti-homosexual equality. The latter is definitely not the top priority of our country as she would contest! She is very dangerous to our country.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  15. ArtInChicago

    This woman needs to quit. You are not going to nickle and dime the President of the United States. He has had more death threats than all the other presidents combined. If she and others like her toned down the rhetoric, perhaps the President wouldn't need so much Secret Service protecting him.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:09 am |
  16. Latif

    Sadly, the Republican Senators are already aiming for the Seniors and Medicare and Social Security cuts, why don't they cut their own retirement plan and their own benefits! Let me see how one of the Senators can live a month on a Social Security check!!! Bunch of hypocrites, they looking at others, let us see how they can ripoff the Seniors and the disabled..Very Sad...May God Give them what they deserve..

    November 4, 2010 at 12:05 am |
  17. DickNH

    Bachmann has NEVER answered ONE question seriously....she absolutely refuses to give specifics....why ?? Because she has no ANSWERS to ANYTHING. Sooner or later, it's gonna bite her!! When will she be held accountable ?

    November 4, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  18. Jose

    Ms. Bachman also suggested the President from now on performs all international relations through video conference!

    November 4, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  19. Wendy Brown

    The Republicans benefitted by being able to weasel out of giving specific ideas on how they will suddenly fix everything and by millions of dollars given by corporate interests, the benevolence of a Supreme Court decision and the belief of entitlement that only someone like them can correctly rule the country. How anyone can make sense of the tea party is beyond me! They want politicians who rule by the Constitution, yet they want to abolish the parts they don't like. They want fiscal conservatives to control the pursestrings, yet they want their Medicare, Social Security and tax cuts. They want to cut the deficit, yet push those tax cuts for the wealthy through even though it adds over 700 billion dollars to the deficit. They want to abolish the Department of Education and pass that on to the states who are now having a difficult time paying their policemen, fireman and teachers. They want to cut spending although none are courageous enough to say what they will cut. They say jobs is the issue, yet they don't want the government to invest in infrastructure which will create jobs and help re-build this country. They want to live like the founders did, well guess what, this is 2010, get over it! They want, they want, all demands and ridiculous statements but no real ideas. And embarrassingly, this is the voice of America that is being projected all over the world. I think one way to end all immigration to this country would be to spread the word that the tea party has taken over the country. Who would want to come here, I know a lot of Americans would be trying to get out!

    November 3, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  20. jon

    A cheap interview with Michelle Backmann Anderson. Your whole tone was angry, arrogant, and 'gotcha' in tone. Michelle Backmann is not going to identify where the cuts will come from on TV with you. It's not her decision alone. There will of course be meetings and discussions held. Come on, you know that Anderson, so while asking once is acceptable, you then you started to press and actually come off sounding mean, biased, judgemental. I don't ever hear you grill democrats in quite the same way. Are you angry that the tea party is a force? They're Americans too you know. Americans who you in the media have been dismissive of, arrogant towards, and generally looking down your very long east and west coast noses at. It only reflects poorly on you Anderson and CNN. Americans are fed up with your partisan journalism.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  21. Wood

    What is wrong w/people in her district in Minnesota that they put us through this time and time again?

    November 3, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  22. quincy nashville

    What do these interviews accomplish? These dingbats have had too much coaching. anyone can memorize talking points.Just answer the questions! These dips are an embarrassment to intelligent women of America.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  23. Joshua Ludd

    Yet not a single word about any previous presidential trip by any president ever.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  24. Ken

    This lady seems totally unaware. I am happy she is not in my state.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
  25. Joanne

    Ms. Bachmann reflects the "Hell No" attitude of today's Republicans. Who on earth is she? Is she a leader? Hell No. Does she reflect the value of all of us? Hell no. Is she polite in her discourse? Hell no. Does she look like a Palin-clone? Hell yes. Enough already.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
  26. Maria

    I agree we have to cut all the extra spending. And this notion that the Bush tax cuts will cost us billions is insane and infuriates me! How can the government count on money that isn't theirs! They collect a set amount of money from working Americans and they need to learn to budget using that amount!
    If I were to follow the dems and White House theory I could run up millions on my credit cards because not only do I need these things that I purchased but I deserve a huge raise every year and that is the money I will use to pay my bills not what I earn now!

    November 3, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
  27. jon

    A cheap interview with Michelle Backmann Anderson. Your whole tone was angry, arrogant, and 'gotcha' in tone. Michelle Backmann is not going to identify where the cuts will come from on TV with you. It's not her decision alone. There will be meetings and discussions held. You know that Anderson, so while asking once is acceptable, you then you started to press and sound mean. I don't ever hear you grill democrats in quite the same way. Are you angry that the tea party is a force? They're americans too you know....americans who you in the media have been dismissive of, arrogant towards, looking down your very long east and west coast noses at. It only reflects poorly on you Anderson. The FACT is, Americans did NOT want obamas idea of "change"(obama wants deconstruction of the present system,or,don't be afraid to say it, socialism), and they clearly said so. This was not about optics or messaging issues, it was all about policies. Health care is of course wonderful in theory, but it WONT bend the cost curve down, and americans know it. The politicians knew it as they were voting on it! Americans smell the whiff of hypocritical dems like barney frank who was the largest recipient of money from fanny and freddy after pushing their agenda for them so that every american who could not own a home had the chance to own one and ruin the economy. That is all democrat bs that they blamed bush for, when it fact it was a creation of the dems...and by the way, 2nd largest recipient of money from fanny and freddy? obama.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  28. Ben

    Does Bachmann have a comment on how many jobs she predicts to be lost due to the massive "spending cuts" she wants to have? Or how about actually naming a specific program that is on the chopping block? Social security, Medicare, how about cutting senators and congressmens budgets and salaries? Maybe requiring they pay their own travel expenses to and from Washington and
    then claim that against thier taxes? How about making them pay for their own health care? I think these could be viable options, but I guarantee that none of these will come up in any discussions.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
  29. Juan Salinas

    She wont cut anything that's why she wont answer. they just going to use gays and terrorism as smoke screens rather then do what needs to be done. That is the real republican agenda " discriminate against anyone who isn't like yourself".

    November 3, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
  30. jimirob

    Clearly Obama-ites are still in denial. Those arrogant responses to specific questions of cost aren't going to cut it anymore. Nor are shallow cheap shot (but insubstantial) Republican comments.
    The vigilante's are dragging the Fed & European Central Bank around by their over educated peckers – and any Party that thinks this election gave them a mandate ti di any more or less than heed the tea partier's demand for fiscal responsibility is in line for a shock in 2 years.
    Do not adjust your set: We are now in control.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
  31. Lance

    CNN: why do you give airtime to Bachmann? Do you read your own article? it sounds as if she is crazy (asked about SSN, she criticized the trip as an example of the "massive overspending"). Yes, you do need to give airtime to "reasonable" people who oppose the President, but Bachmann?. I can't help but thinking that you just want her on the show to creat controversial to give cable networks things to talk about.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
  32. Lpais

    Too bad this country elects dimwits like Bachmann who do not verify their facts. There is an age old saying that people should make sure their brains are engaged before putting their mouth in gear.She should practice this method before going on CNN next time.Learn to verify facts so Anderson Cooper does not make a fool of you in the future on National TV.God save this country from people like this.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
  33. Gil

    Mrs. Bachmann is a true patriot... I'd like to see Republicians cut cost by reducing the Govenment work-force by 30% and reducing the Government work week from 5 days a week to 3. They should also cut all federal agency budgets by 10% a year for the next 5 yrs. They also need to do away with government employee unions and no longer offer pension benefits to non-military government employees. I am sure the american people can come up with ways to help the politicans balance our national budget.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  34. Robert

    Perhap all those in office should take a cut inpay and if the government shut down they should not get paid. As far as doing video conference, I wonder how many trip or freq. flyer miles are racked up by those in office.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  35. ashlee

    This big mouth couldn't wait to trash my President again. Did she trash GW while he was spending money like a dunkin sailor?

    November 3, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  36. mike

    Obama has done an admirable job of taking action and implementing positive policy changes for the US following the financial meltdown that he was left to deal with. I am one of the "people" and I want intelligent fair minded leadership not a sales pitch from someone who doesn't understand the product. I encourage Michele Bachman to push her view point but she has very little credibility, imho.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  37. emma

    the republicans don,t have an agenda. in two years let's throw them out because they won'tbe able to deliver..............they can't fix it in two years either so voters remember that.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  38. Jim Henderson

    I have a great idea for Rep. Bachmann. Have all of the House and Senate members stay in their home states and do everything by video conferencing. Just think how much money that would save in travel, meals, lodging not to mention the extra staff that would not be needed, and yes there would not be as many lobbyist in D.C.

    Start the cutting in congress first. Lead by example.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
  39. Pam

    Anderson -

    I can't believe you let Michelle Bachmann off the hook - she never answered your question about where she would get 7 billion in cuts - wouldn't good journalism dictate that you press her for an answer to your question? - she clearly has no answers - all she and the rest of her kind ever do is speak in generalities, never get specific and peddle fear and sling mud at the other side. You need to have the courage to go after people like her who always get off too easy. In additon, it seems to me that her unsubstantiated accusation that Obama is spending 200 million a day on a trip is fodder for a lawsuit - how are people able to flat out lie and get away with it? And people believe it! It's your responsibility as a journalist not to let her get away with that. You just can't soft-pedal your interviews.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
  40. Cindy

    Kuckaloo talk

    November 3, 2010 at 11:37 pm |

    I truly fill that Brachman's statement about the cost of a Presidential trip wsa just an example of what we are in store for now that the republicans have the upper hand, more Bush-0-nomic...shame on us "BLACK AMERICA!" We let the President down...don't cry when it get's bad...... and it will. How was it to get better after eight years of B U L L....PRESIDENT OBAMA CAN'T DO IT ALONE HE NEEDS US, AMERICA. We however don't need the Republicans!!!!!!!

    November 3, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  42. Narada Gangadhara

    What she says is correct but understood it wrong. It's not $200 million but 200 million Indian Rupees. That has to be divided $ 1= 40.54 indian rupees. So do your maths.
    She got this news leak from Indian News paper or may be the results of outsourcing White house telephone service to India.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
  43. chris, dayton OH

    Why does the media continue to pay attention to the loonies? The media helped create the 'Obama is a muslim,' 'Obama was born in Kenya' and all the other lunatic conspiracy theories.

    Turn the camera off of them. They just want attention. Trolls.

    Anderson, you're better than this.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
  44. James

    Want a specific spending cut? Bring the troops home FROM EUROPE!! Why are we still there 65 years after WW 2 ended?

    James Erickson

    November 3, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
  45. LEE

    Why should Bachmann have to be pinned down on what she would cut on your show? She doesn't have to negotiate with the media and we all know that AC is trying to bushwack her into saying something outrageous so the clip can be played endlessly while the liberals roll their eyes. Puhleeze.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
  46. Ed

    It sure didn't take you long to go on the attack! Try to get back to good journalism and stop asking such leading questions. Cutting taxes will raise revenue!

    November 3, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
  47. David F

    The more Bachmann talks, the more she will show that she is a lot of hot air, and little substance other than name calling and extreme ideas. She should not be the voice of the republican party.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
  48. vicky blackwell

    Was President Obama suppose to come out looking happy, because of people he has worked so closely with have lost their jobs? How would you feel if your coworkers lost their jobs?.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
  49. Patricia Marin

    Facts, truth, honor, integrity, dignity, respect, most any good quality you could imagine – just doesn't seem to matter these days. Michelle Bachmann is just a symptom/icon of the sad state of the American psyche today. Any intelligent, sane being would have some shame about things she says and thinks – nothing stops her lies and mean spiritedness – same for Sarah Palin. Mean, mean, mean girls – on the junior high level. This is a very sad time for America.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
  50. David Myers

    Instead of far left and far right politics, we need moderates from BOTH parties doing what's right for Americans. We do NOT need more people borrowing from vital programs to pay off their promises to big business. If the candidates don't understand that they are to represent the people, they should get out of politics completely. America is in trouble until that truth is recognized.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:26 pm |
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