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. linda putnam

    If Bachman had the capacity to be as critical of her own party's issues as she is of the Dems, then maybe she's have some real credibility. As it is, she is incapable of seeing the 'mote' in her own eye and has become just another whiner.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:57 am |
  2. eliaja

    God help us why on earth would people elect morons like her. When the leader of the free world needs to travel abroad who is she or any other to say what is needed. "Now the tea party is the authority on what the president needs to travel abroad." God help U.S. now!

    November 4, 2010 at 7:56 am |
  3. andy603

    Nice job Ms. Bachmann at really driving bi-partisanship. This is exactly what voters DON'T want. You are absolutely clueless and this interview will be one for the archives should you ever try to run for a more influential office post. I feel sorry for your consituents in MN.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:56 am |
  4. Bill

    Sounds like another shrill Palin wannabe who knows all the answers and none of the questions. Is it any wonder that nothing get done in Washington with people like this in positions of political power?

    November 4, 2010 at 7:55 am |
  5. Rebecca Bryson

    Lavish, unnecessary trips with an entourage only separate the president from the squeezed middle class. We are trying to survive while he parties as Rome burns. 2012.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:54 am |
  6. Nord

    Don't believe Bachmann about the trip. She used to be my state senator, and I can tell you, the woman is completely unacquainted with truth or honesty.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:54 am |
  7. Samuel Cacciola

    Why does she start with the social security why not star where the real money is , tax breaks for oil companies and tax breaks for the rich.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:53 am |
  8. ralph

    typical republican!! all about shouting with no real substance!

    November 4, 2010 at 7:53 am |
  9. kelvin123

    The Republicans and Tea Partiers want to cut Social Security and Medicare, but its Healtcare reform thats trying to kill grandma. Really? Americans really are stupid for voting for candidates like this. And now they're talking about getting rid of OSHA, the department of energy, labor, transportation and education? And if they are successful in cutting or killing these programs, who stands to gain? Certainly not us. Did anyone who voted for these candidates do their own research or did they rely on Foxnews, Beck, Hannity and Palin to give them their information?

    November 4, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  10. dabu

    Its nice to see that the Republican party has decided to work together with everyone else to make our country better.

    This sounds like the thousands of phone calls that I got during the election campaign tellling me how lousy the opponent is, without telling me why I should vote for the supported candidate.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  11. Jean Valjean

    Why Michele Bachman would be talking to CNN, or any of the media outlets in the tank with the Democrats, shows just how naive or stupid she really is. She will never get a fair shake from CNN, so why invite trouble? What a dope.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  12. Dave Yaeck

    Anderson, this was a GREAT report. I'm sorry but this just goes to show the fact that this new regime that is going to go into DC has no clue on what they are going to do. I'm sorry but I'm not buying what these people are selling. I'm just going to continue to pray and hope that God guides their paths.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  13. Tiffany

    who cares what she thinks...Obama is the president not her.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:50 am |
  14. Tom

    Excuse me but is this the same Michele Bachman who in July 2007 joined several others from congress on a 2 week "fact finding tour" of Ireland, Germany, Kuwait. Pakistan and Iraq (where btw they never left the Green Zone). Didn't seem to mind how she spent the taxpayers money then. Now she is complaining about the President going to the world's largest democracy for a summit meeting with the Prime Minister of India for 3 days.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:49 am |
  15. Melanie

    Let's talk about taking off the tax cuts on the wealthy first before we talk about doing something with Social Security.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:49 am |
  16. Debbie

    I guess you weren't listening Anderson, because Bachmann DID answer your question. I too think that 2,000 people is excessive. I think Bachmann has the right idea on cutting wasteful government spending. I think she has the right idea about cutting some social security waste. I think people that are on disability for depression their whole lives or for certain things where they are able to work is the biggest waste of social security. There is so much fraud and waste in that department it is sickening. THAT is what needs to be cut. I think Bachmann answered your question quite well.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:49 am |
  17. Jorge

    Nice Liberal headline; did anyone press Obama for specific changes?

    November 4, 2010 at 7:47 am |
  18. bobby

    What she is saying is, that in order to better serve retired people we need to cut their throat to help them breathe, yes?
    Makes sense...makes sense...just don't start crying, like Boehner, because you had a tough life.

    Yes, Mr. Obama (president) needs to stop taking these long vacation spending trips. They cost tooo much...we need to save up for the next planned Wall Street bailout. Calcutta is soo beautiful this time of year. I wonder what Michelle will be wearing.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:46 am |
  19. Peter Zheutlin

    Bachmann will talk endlessly in circles without ever saying anything.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  20. brian Davis

    Hey Congresswoman Bachmann, why don't you give back the $100,000s you took in farm subsidiesvfrom the taxpayers? What a pathetic hypocrite!

    November 4, 2010 at 7:43 am |
  21. Richard Martinez

    Ok, I'm not a replublican,nor am I a democrat, and I'm especially not a tea bagger. I am however an American who is confused as BLANK about our past and current political landscape this past 12 years. So now that all the Rich white people have managed to gain control again with private interest funding,are we going to be any better off? I think we're all a little foolish to think so, I actually think this is going to be much worse. I think tensions will rise in our inner cities, I think the dispairity between the haves and have nots will grow greater, I think that we will all go back 40 years in our thinking and in our values. I think we're screwed with or without Obama I think we're screwed.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:42 am |
  22. Josette

    Why Why Why... This is the sort of idiotic rambling you elected to be in the house majority.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:42 am |
  23. KC Mathew

    I would say,that we cut our relations to all other countries,this way no visits and no conference video calls unless they use skype to skype for free.
    Mrs.Bachmann welcome to the isolation policy for the USA

    November 4, 2010 at 7:42 am |
  24. PaulC

    Did Ms. Bachmann comment on any of Bush Jr. or the members of his staff and cabinet's trips?
    What about Bush Jr. flight from Texas to Washington to sign the Terri Schiavo bill and then fly back, just to name one? How much did that cost? Very selective in her criticism.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:40 am |
  25. Rishi

    Excellent line of questioning Anderson. Thanks for keeping them honest!

    November 4, 2010 at 7:39 am |
  26. Elliott

    Bachmann is a perfect example of what has become the GOP. No solutions, no ideas. Just shoot your mouth off to get voters more angry than they are now. Believe me, if the GOP captures the WH in 2012, they will do what they did before and the American people will suffer.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:38 am |
  27. Ezra P

    As usual, the party that calls all others "Socialist" or "Liberal" uses the same management principles as Stalin and Castro. Namely, the Grand Old Pirates have mastered the art of the Revolution but have nothing to bring to the table when it comes to leading or managing. They opened the coffers in early 2001, before any attack and plundered the surplus and now want to talk about fiscal responsibility?

    November 4, 2010 at 7:38 am |
  28. wendell

    Rep. Michele Bachmann is all bluff and bluster, pure partisan politics at its worst. She is just panning to the crowd, not doing her real job, instead playing to the mob. No constructive criticism, just trying to make the president look bad, at the cost of embarrassing our country.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:37 am |
  29. Mike in KC

    She won't identify any spending cuts of her own? Surprised? She's from the party of "NO" ideas remember.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:35 am |
  30. Frank C.

    Oh boy.....here we go. Stupid comments by uninformed people. I can't wait to see what Mama Grizzly and her band of followers come with next. Most of these new "representatives" have had no experience in government but have all the answers already. I truly hope I'm wrong and things will improve, but my gut tells me otherwise.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:34 am |
  31. Pual

    "Michele Bachmann" she is the last person I want to vote for any position...... People of Minnesota, please watch this.... she dont have any idea what she is talking abt.....

    November 4, 2010 at 7:32 am |
  32. WoodinVirginia

    She is but one of 456 Congressional people expressing her opinion. She doesn't like the trip to India. What about other Presidents trips to countries other presidents have visited hundreds of countries before Obama. We employ the POTUS to engage in these meetings overseas. Just as the President has visited Russia, the entire European Union member states and the Middle East.
    Tell the Congressperson from Minnesota she needs EXPAND her horizons too. Its cost money for SECURITY details by the Secret Service. Other Presidents may have shielded the Cost from you. Just as they shielded much of their Presidency Moves & Bodies coming back from the War Dead to Dover Delaware. Tell the Secret Service there cost is too high..see what response you get.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:29 am |
  33. vince

    Here we go. She is the second newly elected person that can not name a single thing they would cut, but is quick to criticize. Throw the new bums out!

    November 4, 2010 at 7:29 am |
  34. harry

    It is pathetic they we end up electing representatives that are unintelligent and misinformed. God help us..
    We really really need news media to expose these people. Wish such interviews were done BEFORE the election!!

    November 4, 2010 at 7:28 am |
  35. David Descoteaux

    Ms Bachmann is the ultimate female Republican blowhard – touts spending cuts but is clueless as to where and what; this woman doesn't deserve a seat in Congress – she deserves a seat in the outhouse. And India is such a nice country to visit at this time of the year !

    November 4, 2010 at 7:25 am |
  36. Patty Chaney

    I have wondered, WHY this India AND Indonesia trip to his "homeland" have been ignored by the media. The FOREIGN press has been reporting the details for days!

    How many MILLIONS is this costing us? Do they have NO guilt while Americans are jobless and homeless?

    "President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are scheduled to land in Mumbai on November 6"

    Booked all 570 rooms at the Taj Mahal in Mumbai, India, plus the Restaurants!
    Plus 80-90 rooms "each" at the Grand Hyatt and Oberoi Hotel
    Because it is a beach front hotel.....our NAVY will be off the coast for security.

    Air Force One.....2 jumbo jets....Military jets!

    There will be 30 to 40 secret service agents, who will arrive before him.

    They NEED 125 rooms..WHY are they booking almost 700 rooms?

    The President’s convoy has 45 cars, including the Lincoln Continental in which the President travels.”

    The President will be accompanied by his chefs, not because he would not like to savour Indian cuisine, but to ensure his food is not spiked."

    The "Economic Times" and "India Times" reported this 10 days ago!

    November 4, 2010 at 7:24 am |
  37. Madak

    The previous administration didn't make trips to places like India, because the previous president didn't know how to find India on a map.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:23 am |
  38. Rona

    Instead of slamming the President, all representatives (Republican and Democrat) need to work together in getting what the American people placed them in that position for. It wasn't a problem for previous presidents to make trips, so why it is for this one. Quit slamming and get to work on a solution for the crisis we are in.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:22 am |
  39. C. Rose

    It starts already. The thoughtless, merciless sniping that will lead to yet another convulsive shift in the political landscape in two years. Ms. Bachmann clearly failed to, or refused to hear what the voters want from their elected representatives. No, it's not more of the same bickering and obstructionism. The people are desperate for creative solutions to our nation's most pressing issues. The president is going to India, and it's not cheap to protect him while abroad. Get over it. Now, back to the real issues. How will you, Ms. Bachmann, work with the president to achieve the things that Americans want? Simple question.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:22 am |
  40. JHamilton

    This is just absurd, they act as if someone should know what they are talking about before they start talking about something!?!?
    All truth is fluid, and when you are dangerously insane you need not be bothered with things such as facts, knowledge, or coherent thought.

    Stay classy Minnesota!

    November 4, 2010 at 7:21 am |
  41. gregr

    she wont have specifics cause this is what they(repubs) love to do.....cry and whine to get people rowled up about a bunch of nothing, then when its time to deliver.........nothin. its works over and over again cause US voters are soooooo gullible....its sad.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:20 am |
  42. GeorgeVT

    did you people in Minnesota simply re-elect this lady for the entertainment value? she obviously has no clue

    November 4, 2010 at 7:20 am |
  43. Robb

    Isn't this typical. When asked about the cuts that will be made, it's the old deflection trick. Answer the damned question. Or perhaps you can't because you have no idea how to make good on your promises. Two-thirds of the budget are entitlements and defense. There's only about 10% that can even be considered for cuts. And you're griping about a trip on Airforce One as if that will make a difference in the deficit?

    November 4, 2010 at 7:18 am |
  44. Lawrence

    This is such a non-story that a Democrat bias is still pursuing. Clearly, if you are a fiscal conservative, your position is that there are going to be cuts to EVERYTHING. This type of questioning however is simply being done to try and paint politicians into a corner where they can be attacked by opponents. In reality, anyone who cares about the quality of life of our kids and grandkids should a) know that there will be cuts to medicare and social security, and b) be strongly supportive of these cuts.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:13 am |
  45. Scott Trent

    For Obama to spend $2 BILLION of taxpayer money on his 10 getaway is a slap in the face to the millions of unemployed Americans. And to the working taxpayers who sees one third of their pay confiscated by force every two weeks. This trip will cost $200 Million a day. Why does Obama need to take 3,000 people with him on his getaway?

    November 4, 2010 at 7:12 am |
  46. David

    She's Republican. The "party of no" doesn't do specifics – they just block progress and would rather let things spin into a catastrophic state than take any sort of initiative.

    Then they'll ridicule any attempts Democrats make to fix a problem without actually offering any viable alternatives. Is anyone REALLY shocked that the GOP doesn't have a game plan?

    November 4, 2010 at 7:09 am |
  47. June

    Mr. Cooper,

    I wish you would address that question to the general public – what three cuts would you make to the federal budget? That's probably the easiest question to ask anyone.

    1. Stop the $350 BILLION taxpayers are forced to pay for the upkeep of illegal aliens.
    2. Stop the billions in government fraud and waste
    3. Stop pouring money into countries who hate us and will not use it to help their people.

    I've got many more when you need them.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:07 am |
  48. Beverly

    This looks like another one that couldn't wait to get elected just to bash the current administration. She has no idea about anything. There seems to be plenty of her type.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:05 am |
  49. Brian

    Let the game of gotcha by the liberal press begin. Any cut proposed will be tied to some evil intent by Republicans who don't care about little {insert name here} and just are mean. We are broke, there is little that won't be cut!

    November 4, 2010 at 7:01 am |
  50. John

    I guess it's "we have to wait until the bill is passed before we find out what is in it".

    November 4, 2010 at 6:59 am |
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