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. chris

    Really, why is this news? Bachman is insane. She's an admitted birther, and took to the airwaves to tell the people of Minnesota not to partake in the census because it was a "invasion of privacy" and a "centuries old conspiracy"

    November 4, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  2. Robert Collins

    Nothing new. Not one GOPer has given one specific cut they would make.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  3. John

    Right wing nut jobs are at it again. They want to dismantle Medicare and Social security.....

    November 4, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  4. Ed

    Ok, so when Bush has a huge trip to Africa was this woman complaining about it being oppulent spending?
    Also, here is one way to make social security solvent, don't take money from it to start a war in Iraq. Social Security is doing alright, until somoene budgets away the profits from it.
    What do you mean by eligibility levels are too high? Does that mean for certain benifits that are based on income (ie the poverty line) or something else. Because if it is the poverty line, you should go the other way. I say that because the rubric that creates the poverty line turned 50 this year (happy birthday..?).

    November 4, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  5. Philip Moore

    If Bachman and other politicians think cutting our Medicare and Social Security is such a good idea why don't they start by STOPPING it for the fat cats in our nation?

    Muliti-millionaires and billionaires don't NEED Medicare or Social Security. If they make that much money and haven't found a way to cover their retirement costs yet, maybe they need to find a way to do so!

    Does anyone REALLY think that Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates needs to receive Medicare? It's way past time that the media presses this issue.


    November 4, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  6. Jeff Edgmon

    So they don't want to increase the debt ceiling, which would essentially cause the US to default on their loans. Yet, they still want to keep tax cuts for the most wealthiest of American's, who're going to create all of these jobs, when they get their tax cuts extended. And Bachman says that she wants to increase the eligibility date, that people who have worked their entire lives can qualify for benefits with, as one way of paying for it. LOL..

    I am not good at Math, a D student, sometimes even an F student in Math, but even I can tell you that don't add up.. LOL..

    November 4, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  7. Andrew H

    Having backpacked around India for a month, I really cannot imagine how a budget for a trip to India could be expensive, other than security. What Bachmann failed to note was where her contention lies within in the India travel budget. The senators and representatives who want to cut medicare and social security are terrible Christians, a faith which I'm sure they identify with as Republican representatives, for wanting to take away programs that highly benefit the poor.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  8. Angus McDugan

    What a misleading headline! But it work as it fooled people like me to check it out.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  9. Michele Verduchi

    I cannot BELIEVE Ms. Blachman has the nerve to suggest that the president of the United States should not take any and all trips he deems necessary. Don't feel too confident sweety, now that your side has to deliver SOMETHING, we'll see.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  10. jason boyko

    i'm not sure why he's so focused a single number. 200 million dollars, 50 million, 20 million, hell even 1 million is a lot of money just for a trip.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  11. Peter

    “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.”

    Ah yeah ... and when Republicans controlled Congress and the presidency spending levels went down ... I don't think so.

    This lady isn't even qualified to be an office receptionist. When voters are finally smart enough to actually listen to what 'would be' politicians like her and Sarah Palin are saying (although with Palin you can't even do that now), they each may actually have to learn something new to say, "... and would you like fries with that" for a job at a drive-thru.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  12. Cindy

    This Minnesotan considers Michelle Bachmann an embarrassment to our state. She has no solutions for anything, but criticism and blame for everyone.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:26 am |
  13. GaryB

    Another Tea Partier who can offer no specifics, and has no problem making up "facts" that have no basis in reality. The rest of us just call that lying.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  14. Eric

    Typical Republican response. Offer no new ideas and head off on a tangent about trivial topics.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:23 am |
  15. Frank C.

    I came across the article about her new PAC.... We should send her PACking (sic). How many sides of of their mouths can they talk from? Really?

    November 4, 2010 at 8:23 am |
  16. John in Dallas

    OMG wake up America this is what you wanted in office? All the GOP knows how to do is attack without substance and you the white trash idiots of this country fall in line. She attacks Obama for making a Presidental trip involving foreign relations and she can't even identify any budget cuts????WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!! No wonder everyone outside our shores thinks we are a bunch or redneck idiots.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  17. schlueter

    where will Obama start cutting . . . we all know he will not cut his personal controlled spending . . . he is too ignorant to start with himself . . . what a poor example of leadership . . . someone else needs to make the first cut so he can than blame them . . . at least if it is on the teleprompter.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  18. T. K. Lakshminarasimhan

    I just heard this conversation on the CNN.com and I feel that the Rep. Michele Bachmann is not aware of how the international diplomacy works. I know how lavishly GWB would have spent in India, when he visited during his term. Also, these visits from the head of states from different countries are reciprocal and I am 100% sure that India will be spending much more than that for the Obama's visit, forget about the inconvenience caused to the public there.
    I strongly feel that ignorance is not an excuse. Know all the facts and talk. I feel that we have yet another Sarah Palin here...

    November 4, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  19. TFINN

    When we are too fat, we go on a diet. The government is too fat (cut cut cut cut cut).

    November 4, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  20. james darnley

    the people get the goverment they deserve because they are ignorant of the issue;s and only vote with thier emotions.this is what you get when you vote republican.haters with no answers who can only attack to divert fron thier own stupidity.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  21. Norm

    Social security is an "entitlement" program???
    They've been taking it right out of my paycheck for the last 40 years. Where does this crazy lady come from?
    More buzz words from the GOP.
    Cut spending...what spending....let's talk about something else.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  22. joyce

    i am sure there are lots of other presidents that have taken expensive trips too! why don't we ever think about the presidents of the past?

    November 4, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  23. bill stapp

    Mr. Cooper wanted Rep Bachmann to give an example of how to cut spending. So she did and Mr. Cooper did not like her example.

    I guess he thinks that government spending is at acceptable levels. And he seemed more interested in trying to trap her into saying that presidents should not travel overseas.

    The real story is about the president's trip to India. How big is his entourage. How many planes is he taking? What are estimated costs for that many people.

    Maybe he could do some research by reading the Times of India online. It might give him better information that he obviously does not get from CNN.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  24. Diana

    Give it a break...try working together instead of tearing the country apart...we need to be united as in the United States...we are our own worse enemies....come on guys work together and just imagine the places we could go....trying showing a little respect for the President whether he is Democrat or Republican...I maybe old fashioned but I was brought up to show respect for our leaders who ever they were.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  25. MikeBell

    Anderson, you either missed the point or tried to detract from it.
    The objective is not to cut funding of Social Security or Medicare. It is to reform them to cut fraud, assure appropriate eligibility, and cut the cost of administrating them. To claim a cut in funding is political spin.
    As for the trip to India you trivialized the an estimated cost rather than the Merit of the entourage size and return on investment of the trip. The perception is that the trip has become frivolous by including so many tag-alongs, thereby bloating the cost.
    So, Anderson. Please return to reporting rather than doing political spin.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  26. Dana

    She avoided the question with another lie about how much Obama's trip cost. If she cares so much about the budget whey don't she cut her benefits as a senator. better yet whey can't she answer the original question Anderson asked her? She can't because just like other Republicans they don't intend to do anything because they haven't done anything in 2 years. I don't understand why the American people reward the Republican Party with a victory for doing aboslutely nothing for 2 yrs during the worst economic recession since the great depression. We wonder why were not the country we used to be.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  27. Andy Flynn

    It's a sad day in our republic when the news reporter comes off as more educated and knowledgeable on the issues than the elected official. The Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2004 were supposed to free up capital and spur job growth. Well, that didn't happen then and why should the taxpayers believe it will happen now? The election's over, we need specifics and a willingness to work with the President and not just talking points. Sure will be interesting to see how satisfied we'll be with our elected officials in two years time.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:16 am |
  28. Denis Quinlan

    Anderson, What a LOADED question. NO member of Congress is going to answer that without some political cover, e.g., part of proposed legislation. I'll believe in your fairness and objectivity when you put the same question to Nancy Pelosi. That will be a cold day in hell.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:16 am |
  29. Marie MD

    Thanks for this interview Anderson. After listening and now reading what this woman says and the way she thinks I want to first thank the idiot in MN that knowingly voted for this #2 botoxed idiot.
    I woud also like to thank the independents (who voted republikan) and democrats who didn't bother to vote at all.
    Seniors listen up. You think your SS check doesn't go far every month? Wait till these rethugs get their greedy hands on your hard earned money (SS IS NOT AN ENTITLEMENT)like they claim. We pay for it from the moment we get that first paycheck.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:16 am |
  30. Dan

    This will not due, Michelle! No more finger pointing – The campaign is over. It is time for you to walk your big talk. This is not Fox News, there are news orgs out there that will press you on your bogus answers, they want proof of your bogus claims so you better learn to answer the question.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:14 am |
  31. Scott

    This is what drives me crazy as a Republican. The party has lost its intellect. They put attractive women on the ticket, who shout and posture, but have no concrete ideas.

    She's b*tching about the cost of a trip to India? Really? But has absolutely NO concrete thoughts about where to cut spending. Maybe all the money we've spent on "wars" that have advanced US interests in no way, shape, or form? Why don't all the politicians, on both sides, STFU until they have real ideas-THEN they can rattle all they want about the problems of the other party. Until then, they're just a bunch of worthless talking heads.

    We missed our opportunity to get rid of all the deadwood on Tuesday...in 2 years if there isn't real bi-partisan progress we should vote out anybody with >4 years political experience.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  32. chrys

    stop paying attention to these people-

    maybe they have not done the exchange from dollars to rupees!

    We never heard complaints from them on Bush's trip

    November 4, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  33. Paul

    Looks like this is a representative sample of the idiocy people have put in to office. India is a major and growing economic powerhouse and for her to criticize a routine presidential trip on the basis of cost is "over the top" big time.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  34. Tony

    As usual, we have identified the enemy and it R us. We just have to slash spending, somewhere, somehow. Hope grows dimmer by the hour.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  35. Kevin in Atlanta

    Why is she still campaigning?

    November 4, 2010 at 8:09 am |
  36. Chris

    Personally, I don't think the 200 million/day is all that unrealistic, considering it cost the Canadian government a billion $ to host the g20 summit for a week. That was just on security.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:09 am |
  37. John

    Bachman, like so many of her hysterical, right-wing whackjobs, never had a very cozy relationship with the facts, nor any original ideas. Get ready for two years of nonsense like this, everyone.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:08 am |
  38. nancy guess

    When I first heard yesterday that the President's trip to India was going to cost 200 million dollars PER DAY, I thought someone thought it was April Fool's day. However, after you reported last night that the white house said it was an exaggeration and they couldn't say how much it WAS costing because of national security, I began to think maybe the price is close to the quoted figure. I believe the public needs to know the truth about this issue. In this day and age, this kind of expense borders on obscene. Put your investigator hat and get the truth. Thanks.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:07 am |
  39. Sam

    what credentials does Ms Bachman have other than making ridiculous statements on TV that are million miles away from the truth!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:06 am |
  40. Pat

    Typical Right-wing-nut BS: complain about what's being done, but offer no specifics for doing it better.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:05 am |
  41. conniec

    He IS the President of the United States!! I suggest REPUBLICAN (that is more of the issue here), Bachmann do her history homework. Overseas trips are not unusual while in the presidency; it is necessary to a certain degree. Why must we have two more years of mud slinging and roadblocks – let President Obama continue to do his job without the attacks that seem to be with us every week. Enough already ~~

    November 4, 2010 at 8:05 am |
  42. Stephen

    Ah, well that explains everything. The Republicans are going to cut a bazillion bucks from the deficit by forcing the President to travel economy class. And why not have him sell lemonade on the White House lawn? I'm sure we could make a couple hundred doing that.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:04 am |
  43. Rob

    Let's put the President up for his cuts. He has approved the massive spending over the last two years. Ask Him where he would cut. Excessive trips and hotels to start.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:03 am |
  44. jusford

    That's it. I went and voted against her and she still somehow won. 3 straight times this nut-bag got in. I'm moving to a different district as soon as I can. She continues to demonstrate that she only has her own self interests. All talk and no action or suggestion.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:02 am |
  45. Duncan

    This is no surprise. The republicans wont name where to cut spending because they don't know. Most of the programs will yield little savings by upset many people and they will be in danger of losing the house in 2012.

    The only way to make a difference is to go after the top 3 which make up most of the government spending.. but they will never cut the military budget..

    So what we will end up with is minor bills to cut small fractions of costs. Yes they add up, but they will not make a dent in the overall spending.

    Bottom line is they have nothing unless they make those really tough choices which will make them unpopular to some people.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  46. John

    Typical teapartier...doesnt no anything about the policies they so badly wanted to change and only repeat what they hear from their own party and continue to be ignorant of all they are ready to change....pity us

    November 4, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  47. Bill Zimmerman

    It would appear that she is already part of the GOP leadership. No answers but plenty of rhetoric. This is representative of the Tea Party mentality ?

    My faith has been restored in CNN. Thank you for continuing to press the point, even if it was to no avail.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:58 am |
  48. Tommy Badolini

    I think the rumor came from an Indian guy from India. Michele took that and ran to the reporter without really doing some investigation. May be she heard the whole trip would cost that much. Or the fact got lost in translation by Bachman. After all it's been a long time she showed up on CNN. Lol.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:58 am |
  49. Rose

    Anderson, what is it you're not getting? You are clearly in the minority. The people have spoken. The government needs to CUT spending, not raise taxes! Rep. Bachmann knows that you don't just pick three areas and make cuts. You have to look at ALL government spending and find ways to make cuts such as changing eligibility, etc. Anderson, you look like a little spoiled child in this interview. Grow up!

    November 4, 2010 at 7:58 am |
  50. carlyt

    When will the mainstream media stop giving these right wing extremists the spotlight? I am sure ratings are available in other ways.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:58 am |
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