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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. Dave

    I am a person that always advocates change but not just for the sole purpose of change. That is what I think we have gotten ourselves into this election. Who did we elect? What do they stand for.. Oh yea I know...... Smaller Government... Cutting spending.. Yada Yada. What the heck are they gonna cut? The percentage points of eligabilty for SS? That is not where we need to go.. The cost of living goes up every year. But we want to take the eligability down to 1989 levels? Again this is an example of the Government being out of touch!

    November 4, 2010 at 6:56 am |
  2. Steve

    Come on. The goal of the media is to get someone to say something stupid. If one is prudent they will wait to review all the fat to cut. And believe me, they will not have trouble finding it!

    November 4, 2010 at 6:56 am |
  3. Jeff

    Another clueless politician elected that wants to f'over the people.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:55 am |
  4. Shecky

    Hmm...If Michele Bachmann is so quick to embrace unsubstantiated information regarding the issue of Obama's trip to India, I wonder what other unsubstantiated information is guiding her principles. Thank you, Anderson, for following up on this claim after the interview. For a brief moment I started to believed the main stream media still had some credibility.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:54 am |
  5. Joan

    Here we go again. One day after the election and they (GOP) start their negative rhetoric. Again nothing will be done. As far as Social Security is concerned they need to look at who is collecting social security. If you haven't paid into SS then you don't receive a pension. My mother did not pay into it and received a couple hundred dollars ....why. She was only one person addup the thousands receiving. Better utilization by the healthcare systems could cut costs in Medicare however they would cut reimbursements for doctors and healthcare systems which of course would be less money for them. Need to have a government healthcare program. No one's health could be left up to those seeking profit.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  6. Julian E

    Typical Tea Party candidates. Guess what mam? yesterday's sweet victory means you and your loud mouth party members are now roped in with OBAMA and share the responsibilities to fix the national problems. Tick-Tock, tick-tock, the clock is ticking on your watch. Stop chasing the wind that OBAMA breaths on a daily basis. He is entitled as the president of this great nation to enjoy the comfy priviledges you are whining about. No more excuses. Republicans are now in control of the House of Representatives.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:51 am |
  7. Randy Mickelson

    You know this is a problem with many of our politician's. Michelle is my repres. in our area. Why can she not answer the question. If its a tuff decision then be it. But to campaign on issues and then not get to the point or tell her feeling on what does need to be done then you are not doing your job. Many of our true politican's just say words but not the fact. I hope in next year Washington does work together and that they do us facts and not what someone else said with out knowing the details.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:49 am |
  8. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Here's the insanity that the W voters were duped to unleash upon America again. Pass the popcorn and get ready for the government to be shutdown again.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:46 am |
  9. Vuong Pham

    Bachmann gets OWNED.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:45 am |
  10. John O'Connor

    Anderson relentlessly asked her if she was going to cut Medicare and Social Security. He really just cornered her so that he could produce a soundbite demonstrating how she and her colleagues were going to cut Medicare and Social Security. It was not a conversation so Bachman just stayed on message like she did yesterday with Chris Matthews. It's not interviewing someone Anderson when your questions are simply leading someone to the soundbite and headline you want.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:45 am |
  11. joyce

    Funny how Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota spouts off about budget cuts, but does't know what to cut! Typical political talk!

    November 4, 2010 at 6:41 am |
  12. Chad

    Really? Republicans won't be specific?

    This is NEWS?

    They have been doing this for years, and reporters have utterly failed to call them on it. You guys should have been screaming in their face "What are going to cut? What are you going to cut? What the heck are you going to cut? No, that ain't enough and doesn't amount to a hill of beans! What significant cuts are you going to make? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO CUT?", etc, until everyone's ears bled.

    Our media completely failed on this one.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:40 am |
  13. John B

    Hypocritical to the MAX!! She travels quite a bit and do not use Video conferencing! Whether is $200M or $20K.....it's still taxpayers dollars.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:34 am |
  14. tina

    start respecting the president he has more power than u lady. am sure if they dig deep enough they will find that u rich people have a lot of stuff in your closets.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:30 am |
  15. Chris

    They won, and they still refuse to give any specifics. The Republican "plan" is just a list of talking points – a lot of vague, abstract ideas with no substance.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:29 am |
  16. tina

    you've been taking from poor to give to the rich for years and now that president obama wants to change things and make it equal its a problem.you and your crew are some evil no heart having people. leave the president alone if he cant get no respect then no one can.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:27 am |
  17. Mary

    Okay, now Michele it is time to start cutting payrolls. Let's start with your salary. I had to take a pay freeze at my job how about you start the less government spending by reducing your salary yourself. You are hired to make the tough decisions....start with you.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:23 am |
  18. caseyindc

    you already won the election, honey. time for more specifics and less spin.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:10 am |
  19. KellyinCA

    Michelle Bachman clearly has little clue about the steps needed to take to bring the U.S.'s financial position around. Thinking that a single presidential trip to India is worth mention as an example of government waste, then her response about Social Security eligibility illustrates that she, like the politicians she and her ilk supplanted, lacks the vision and the political will to make the truly necessary cuts to government spending. The Tea Party movement has now handed the Senate and the President the mandate to answer their call, and bring forth the kind of cuts few Americans want but all Americans need – massive cuts to the civil service and defense that will throw hundreds of thousands out of work and quite possibly destroy any possibility of a government-supported economic recovery, and take the Republicans and their support base with it.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:09 am |
  20. MIke

    To answer the ever repeated question "how's that hope and change working out for ya?" Well, it was going fine until people like this showed up. Now, I'm not so sure.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:04 am |
  21. Joeann

    Hmmmm....she wants to look at the specifics before jamming something down our throat. Well, there's a thought! Sen. Bachmann, do what you have to do to be sure the facts are straight. We support you!

    November 4, 2010 at 6:02 am |
  22. Boris Yurev

    It is naive to think that the Republicans will gallop in like the cavalry to fix the immediate and long term economic woes facing this nation. The problems are deep rooted and simply put the nation is not ready for serious measures. We are just delaying the inevitable.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:01 am |
  23. Mike T. Vaughn

    And so it begins putting the same ones back in power who caused the mess and had no clue how to fix it and still have no clue. No wonder America is the laughing stock

    November 4, 2010 at 5:59 am |
  24. George Naugle

    So what is wrong with entertaining the idea of cutting spending? Just how well did the democrats do with paying down the deficit while they were in total power the past two years? There are some easy things to do and some hard things where spending is concerned. Fixing social security would be hard, but it must be done. I propose that the powers that be consider eliminating the cap on social security taxable wages and lower the top monthly stipend or increase the income level required to reach it.

    I would also support cutting spending by repealing both the new healthcare entitlement and the prescription benefit, eliminating 50% of all federal bureaucracy jobs, eliminating worthless departments like Homeland Security and Education completely, and bringing all of our troops home to the USA where they could effectively close our southern border. Put me down as one of those radical tea partiers who thinks enough wild assed spending is enough.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:59 am |
  25. Tim Landes

    AC,

    Good interview, my question is why can't she give a straight answer. I felt like the scene in Billy Madison where Billy starts talking about the little puppy that lost its way. A lot of talking in a circle and I feel dumber for listening to her.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:57 am |
  26. Rob

    So the new wave of Tea-Party candidates are going to "fix" America via Fox talking points. First order of business is to give Obama a glock and have him provide his own security. He's a tribesman right? He knows how to watch his back........God bless America.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:56 am |
  27. Hart

    So, the media starts already with it's one sided reporting. WOW! Took less than a day. Sad.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:56 am |
  28. Steve

    Anderson, why ask members of Congress on the spot. They cannot provide you with specifics because they do not know who will contribute to their future campaign or whether the cut will impact their interests. My solution for the budget would be to get 12 people in a room, hand them the FY2011 budget and say "go at it and bring it into balance".

    November 4, 2010 at 5:51 am |
  29. jay radic

    Don't worry Mr. Anderson. You'll find out what the cuts are after the bill is signed into law.After all, that's how Obama care passed. Hmmmm Mr. Anderson ?????

    November 4, 2010 at 5:51 am |
  30. ronald mcloughlin

    This is such a tiresome argument, especially since even an 8th grader should know that government spending is paid for by taxes. But there's a 3rd factor WHEN the economy is down as it is now–job creation through the public or private sector. Are the parties trying to tell us that we don't have economists who can solve this problem? And if it is unsolvable, isn't it deceptive to argue that it is as the republicans are arguing? This has been a very dirty, dirty election.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:50 am |
  31. ron

    I just saw michelle bachmann criticize obama for over the top spending but you never hear republicans talk about the over spending for the bush administration,this war that cost us dearly and lied about weapons of mass destruction,its like all the republicans want to do is stand in the way of progress and be the party of no instead of thinking about the american people and not themselves

    November 4, 2010 at 5:48 am |
  32. Sten Odenwald

    This is typical Republican BS. We are facing trillions of dollars of debt that require massive new revenue streams to fund, and we allow Republicans to offer nickel and dime solutions. Their permanent 'tax cuts' will increase the debt by trillions of dollars, yet they are allowed to take pot shots at presidential trips on the Nations Business. This logic is what happens when people vote their anger, and not their Common Sense. You get another 4-6 years if feel-good slogans and platitudes while Rome Burns.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:46 am |
  33. Ali

    Bravo Anderson!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 5:43 am |
  34. Daniel

    This is same rhetoric that Republicans talk about. They can criticize everything under the sun but when put on the spot to "offer" a solution they shut up. This is not what the people want. We want a plan! We know about the problem, tell us what your solutions is WITH details. Is that so hard to ask?

    November 4, 2010 at 5:31 am |
  35. Eugene Se'Bree

    The first problem with this is that this woman has absolutely no clue. It is clear that you don't have to have a real platform or any substantive idea's in order to be elected. This woman continues to avoid the answering questions and she is doing this because she has no answers! This is what our electoral process has been reduced to. This election has done nothing more than to show that a campaign based in fear and ignorance can still get you elected to a job that use to be reserved for those with the best intentions, best education and best moral and ethical values. It is ironic that just like this woman, every other republican when questioned about real changes and cuts that they would make to correct a problem that they caused, they all have the same response; nothing! The republican party is indeed the party of NO, they not only vote no on every policy put forth, they have NO real policies or ideas to put forth! Yesterday was a sad day in America, but hey, we are used to sad days!

    November 4, 2010 at 5:31 am |
  36. Steven P

    Has the federal government EVER sunsetted an entitlement? Ever?

    November 4, 2010 at 5:29 am |
  37. David A.

    If the Republicans and Tea Party are serious about reducing the deficit they need to be honest with the American people. Cutting or eliminating the Department of Education and agriculture subsidies are not the answer. We need to seriously look at making changes which will cut costs in the Department of Defense, Social Security, and Medicare. We should look at ending the Military Industrial Complex - no need for us to be paying and subsidizing private companies to develop weapons we don't need. We should seriously consider getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan - we must not increase our debt by nation building Iraq and Afghanistan. We should seriously look at raising the retirement age for people who are currently 40 years of age and younger to 65 years of age for them to begin receiving Social Security benefits of any kind. Medicare age is fine, so long as health insurance and healthcare costs are contained through more reform - if not, the age should also be increased to 66 or 67 years of age so that more savings can be found.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:29 am |
  38. Doug Urness

    As a middle class male I am terrified of the direction of the country. If I spend $25.oo more a day than I make, sooner or later, I'm done. 200 million a day???????????? Please remember our roots and what made us great.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:26 am |
  39. fred

    What.....No ideas? Yesterday I actually heard a repub say that one of the cuts should be axing the health care bill and move that money to medicare. These are the so called "fiscal experts"

    November 4, 2010 at 5:21 am |
  40. Jason Griffith

    It's more like Bush said "I screwed you all, but thanks for putting the blame on the black man." Politics is the biggest gangs out there! Obama has expressed to the republicans to help but their job is to make him look stupid so they can brainwash the American people so they can keep on power and money!

    November 4, 2010 at 5:21 am |
  41. Steve Mas

    Thank GOD! There's someone like Anderson Cooper out there to fact-check these nut jobs. How she can sit there and smile through that cacaphony of lies is astounding. Sorry, Mrs. Bachmann, the 'blame President Obama' tactics may have fooled the country to give your the House, but it will do little to serve you now. Now it is finally Republicans who are on the hook for policy, instead of just 'no.'

    November 4, 2010 at 5:17 am |
  42. Doug

    This woman has no plan.. Ohh.. she does, she's going to get paid over 200g's per year doing her new job.. who would pay her that in Minnesota ??

    November 4, 2010 at 5:07 am |
  43. william clydes

    "do you believe what you read in the press"(with a smile)...lol..nice save with the "am not reporting on the 200M",,if its not on A.C 360 it cant be the truth....lmao..no wonder mainstream media is going down the drain.!!

    November 4, 2010 at 4:54 am |
  44. Nick

    "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".

    SO typical of her and the Republicans; make up numbers, attack, don't provide ANY evidence.

    November 4, 2010 at 4:32 am |
  45. Mark

    As an independent I hold no animosity towards her or her party or for that matter the Republicans...but you rode in on the choo-choo of cutting spending; and now its time to own up and tell your constituents *exactly* what you plan to cut.

    Does anyone else feel she just dodged it with slogans because she doesn't really know?

    November 4, 2010 at 4:32 am |
  46. Chris

    She obviously has no ideas of what she wants to cut. That is the problem with these tea party candidates. They have no clue how they will achieve their agenda which quite often contradicts itself.

    It won't take long for Americans to start seeing the mistakes they made at the polls.

    November 4, 2010 at 4:21 am |
  47. Brian

    This is who we elect. They can make up stories, figures, facts...just keep repeating the same non-specific tag lines over and over and over, no matter what question has been asked of them. This is why gov't doesn't work. The answer to all questions is the other guy did it and world peace!

    November 4, 2010 at 4:20 am |
  48. Jeremy Romero

    These Tea Party members are sadly misleading the public when the reality is they are just as incompetent as the people they accuse. Mrs.Bachmann was clearly unable to get off the subject that President Obamas trip cost 200$, which by the way has no validity. What she should be looking at is how and why George W. Bush got us into this mess, I mean our public deficit went through though roof under Republican leadership! What is she talking about??

    November 4, 2010 at 4:06 am |
  49. Robert

    Who made it insolvent, Michelle? GW Bush. I know you didn't take Economics 101 in school (or Math or Science or History or Common Sense) but most people can figure out that if you have a budget that lets the government break-even and then you give away a trillion dollars to billionaires and spend a trillion dollars on a fake war that your government is going to create an insurmountable deficit. All that on YOUR watch before Obama took office.

    November 4, 2010 at 4:02 am |
  50. Steve

    Hi, I hear this argument constantly, "okay if you aren't for increasing taxes then what specifically will you cut". That isn't the question. The question is, "okay where should we invest our money, in the government or in the private sector?" Cut government spending, put the money in the hands of consumers, let the free market loose, and the government's coffers will expand. It's been done before. Big government destryos the hand that feeds it. If we don't fuel the economic engine then NO ONE will have any money, no social security, no medicare, no defense and so on.

    November 4, 2010 at 3:56 am |
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