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. Jeff, Boston, MA

    Bachmann is a political "Lady of the Night". She would sell her mother for campaign contributions, and she must have promises from the Republican leadership for otherwise unattainable political position of power to be the rabid raccoon with the ever foaming mouth which is always in front of a camera somewhere. Do we have an Elba that we can send her to???

    November 4, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  2. Parris Larrain

    Over the top spending is not the issue with the president going to India. The issue is that India is cold-bloodedly murdering Kashmirians and has been doing so for genenerations. The Pandits have to be pulled out of occupation of Kashmir, or the USA should sanctionize India. What is it that India has that we need? Nothing! Otherwise, if not addressed, the trip was wasted.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  3. jae

    michelle, u r so rite. THAT GUY should be riding coach, huh. how dare he use the Airforce One. what does he think he is the president?

    November 4, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  4. Megan

    All I hear from this woman is constant complaining, but never a well thought out solution to any of our problems. She is all talking points and no substance, like most Republicans these days. I want to hear their specific plans! But I never do.

    At least Obama came into office and got things done! Repubs may not like what he has done but he is efficient!

    November 4, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  5. Rodney

    “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.” Yeah right, and what numbers are you referring to? You can still tell the taxpayers how much it's costing them without giving us the security plan. A more transparent government, my derriere! Keep spending it up Obama! This trip is said to cost 200 million a day. An entourage of 3000 people, along with 40 planes for transportation is really over the top and ridiculous!

    November 4, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  6. Judith Nixon

    I would like to know just how much money she spent in her re-election bid???? Was it over-the-top???? Could it have been better spent on balancing the budget, providing health care etc. but alas I forget that's not what republicans do!!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  7. rob bachtold

    looks like Bachmann put Anderson in his place. If you cant trust what the press is reporting then how can you trust a person like Anderson...!

    She is absolutly correct...you cant trust the press or Anderson to tell the truth unless it can be slanted for his opinion.

    boo hoo for the Dems.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  8. Susanne

    Where were these people when Bush was flying back to Texas, which seemed like every other week? Air Force One was like his own personal taxi.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  9. Bob Apodaca

    So, does Michele Bachmann propose to give up her Congressman travel, pay, pension, government medical, large paid staffs and all the benefits that come with being a congressman. I look forward to her staying in Minnesota and communicating with Washington by Video conference.

    I want her to practice what she preaches and be the example.

    Bob Apodaca

    November 4, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  10. Michael

    Yes, by all means cut benefits for those who need them in order to maintain a modicum of decency in the final years of their lives; after all, people who depend on Social Security are not worth any consideration compared to the REAL Americans: the few ultra-rich for whom we must absolutely spend $700000000000 (count the zeros) so they can keep tax cuts even though they have gotten much richer while the rest of us suffer through a recession.
    Bachmann's message is the same as all other TPers and the GOP in general: sacrifice anything and everyone for increased profit to benefit the mega-wealthy. Nothing else matters. Bachmann is a traitor and in any self-respecting democracy would be charged with serving the interest of a tiny minority while misrepresenting herself as a civil servant.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  11. Tam

    Presidents travel. That's part of their job. How about listing all of Bush's travels and vacations? How about something constructive coming from this airhead. Let's watch her and the other teabaggers intently - for their specifics, for their whoppers, for everything.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  12. Billy

    Obama should follow GW's example. He saved the taxpayers millions by rarely leaving his Crawford Ranch. Well except for that time he took a joy ride in a fighter jet out to the aircraft carrier to declare "major fighting has ended."

    Welcome to the next 2 years – the GOP criticizes every idea Obama presents, and continue to do nothing. Pretty much like the last 2 years...

    November 4, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  13. Gary

    “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.

    WHAT? Social Security is not a means tested program like food stamps. Warren Buffet could draw a social security benefit if he wanted to. If you pay in you are eligible to receive. How can someone in Congress not know this. Is she suggesting making Social Security a means tested public welfare program so you only get to receive the benefits you paid in if your income is below a certain poverty level?

    If she had said we need to look at the limit on income subject to the social security tax I could have understood her comments but "eligibility limits"?

    November 4, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  14. nagarjuna yerra

    If anybody ask any specific Question to any republican candidates, they have no answer. All they give twisted answers or some unrelated issues to the question. They won majority out of creating fear among voters. Nobody has any magic solution to the current situation.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  15. Len Turkel

    LET THE REPUBLICAN GAMES BEGIN! So much for proper decorum. Couldn't she have called him personally to discuss her concerns? No, better to continue advancing her own personal agenda by putting her misinformation front and center. So sick of this political climate!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  16. Ronald Douglas

    I wonder how many trips her Republican buddies
    and she went on and was paid by her state or
    the government and she never said anything.
    I tell you in just a matter of time she will
    be trying to do some traveling for free just
    watch my word. They are all crooked once they
    try to blast someone , they will be blasting her
    Republican buddies and she won't say a word.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  17. jim

    Unemployment extensions coming up. Do you think they will get passed? Ha Ha. I have an idea – why don't we just kill all the unemployed? That will lower the jobless rate. After all, the american government is pretty much doing that to the middle class anyway.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  18. Cheri

    What a surprise...all talk and no meat. It's so easy for the Republicans say this and that need to be done, but show us what you're planning on doing rather than just talk about it!

    What we're going to see after the Republicans take over the House in January is that "we want to do this and that, but we're getting blocked by the Democrats in the Senate" Hmmm...it will sound like a record.

    I would REALLY love to see politicians on both sides of the aisle actually work toward true reform and getting the budget balanced and spending under control instead of wrangling for leadership. Go in knowing that while you may be a one term congressional representative, you will actually accomplish something! Make the hard choices! I dare you!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  19. Jesse C. Slicer

    "not only just in the last 2 years, really in the last four."

    Really? How about the spending in the 6 years before that? Any comments there, Representative?

    November 4, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  20. Kevin W

    Who is organizing the trip to India? MC Hammer?

    November 4, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  21. Ignacio

    It looks like Bachman put Cooper a/k/a Obama's apologist in his place. The media is reeling as their agenda has hit a brick wall. The right has indeed shared their ideas for spending cuts and the left ignores them. Thats okay though. We spoke loud in 2010 we will speak louder in 2012. Do you hear us yet?

    November 4, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  22. Ray

    If you don't want your President to visit foreign countries then better elect some yokul with no knowledge of world outside of U.S. and then kiss your future goodbye and live happily ever after.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  23. Jim Taylor

    She criticizes Obama's "over the top spending" but refuses to outline what cuts she recommends in her own sphere of influence. Negativity without suggestions or solutions – so typical of the adversarial realtionship between Republicans and Democrats.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  24. EMMA

    Now, she just won a seat and wants one of the top jobs of a committee? Of course it should go the Rebublican with Senority and experience!!!!! Dude folk are worried can the Dems and Repubs get a long but really need to be asking can the Repubs and the RepubsTP(Tea Party)get a long? LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  25. Jamie Bsales

    Here's an example of CNN.com editors' bias in favor of Obama and the Democrats: A key point in this story is her criticism of the cost of Obama's trip to India–yet the author conveniently leaves it out (it's $200 million per day!). That's either sloppy journalism, or parsing the facts to not make an administration you favor look bad. Just report, and we'll decide!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  26. Dave

    Well now, here is a surprise... someone like her overstating facts?!? They have been doing that for decades. Instead of taking Social security or medicade away from people who really need it, how about removing the income cap for contributing? That way everyone, no matter how much they make would pay in for their full income? oh wait,then people like her would pay more, thats right. As far as the trip, presidents do it all the time, even all the republican presidents have done so, so wake up lady. Her soap boxing does not put her in a good light, just makes her look like a fool.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  27. Abbie

    Oh hey, I have some good suggestions for spending cuts that Ms. Bachmann might like to hear. Let Congress get their pensions cut like so many other citizens did, right? Then let them fend for themselves in acquiring health insurance, OK? Because THAT'S some spending that's over the top.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  28. ericpo

    Michelle is shall we say someone who has a hard time with facts. That being said, it should scare every American that someone this unstable would get anywhere near any source of true House power. As a Conservative, I feel we need stable leadership who can look objectively at the issues and get work done. Not sit and wait for 2012. Personally, if that happens I am voting Democratic as pox on their house.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  29. Kobie

    Its called "Smoke and Mirrors" Anderson. You want to talk about policy and the Republican plan to cut spending and she redirects the conversation to President Obama's trip to India (as if this is something new for Presidents of the US). This can't last forever! At some point, a Republican lawmakers are going to have to stand up and put some details behind the campaign rhetoric. Blaming Obama can't be the answer for everything. It's really unfortunate that so many Americans are blinded by their hatred for the President (for whatever reason). THE REPUBLICANS HAVE NO IDEAS, JUST TALKING POINTS WITH NO SUBSTANCE. I can tell you all day that I hope to be the CEO of my company one day, but without a plan, I'm blowing hot air. These folks are telling you want you want to hear because they know its great politically and Americans are thirsty for change. They're also banking on Americans being ignorant, which has worked unfortunately! Hold them accountable to their words just as you've done the President. No more talking points or division. WHAT IS YOUR PLAN!?!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  30. Karen Delaney

    She's condemned President Obama for the cost of this India trip without knowing any facts related to the actual cost. She is willing to take "media's word for it" . Weren't the republican's just screaming about dems passing the healthcare reform bill without reading it? People actually voted for her to lead when she can't give one straight answer – she's playing a game and saying all of the right things that conservatives want to hear without having any substance. Obama made the mistake of telling the people what they didn't want to hear – which was the reality. We are in for a rocky ride for awhile.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  31. jeff

    The good senator must have her head in the sand. When pressed for answers about one topic she quickly reverts to political rhetoric. India has become a major industrial supplier and player in the technology marketplace. Fully supported by companies throughout the US, India has become a part of the global economy that cannot be ignored. Good relations with India is also a way of eliminating the growth of terrorist activity in that part of the world. Stay tuned for more of this same dribble from all those newly elected officials. We are clearly not going anywhere.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  32. Jim

    Michelle Bachman is scary stupid, but what's even more frightening is she actually believes the disinformation she spews and so do the sheep from Minnesota that follow her.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  33. TISH

    First of all lady...in order to negotiate and work with one another we need to be in the presence of one another. Human interaction is an important aspect of creating relationships. Video conferencing is such a ridiculous idea, this is not the era of I-robot. Different cultures need to feel your spirit and see how your body language reacts to certain statements that one makes. You republicans are a joke. Let's see this big wave of change you all are claiming is going to fall on us like the Mothership. Do you recall that YOUR George Bush said that the best thing about his presidency was Airforce one? Wake up Young Lady and smell the POLI(many) TICS(blood suckers).

    November 4, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  34. Lynn N.

    Typical of the entire GOP campaign. Never have any answers, but certainly can find something to smear the Democrats about.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  35. Anne

    Someone like Michele Bachmann is scary. The reason is not so much in her fervent beliefs and convictions about the way the country should be run, as I share in some of her convictions, but it is the fact that her policies are often driven by her faith. Does she now know that there are people in this country who are not Christian?

    November 4, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  36. Miri Chorev

    During this election cycle i wrote to all my friends who are leaning to vote republicans and asked them to direct me to any document statement or plan that will suggest how they will deal with the over spending and how they will go about balancing the budjet. Ithe responses were either very very general ("There is plenty to cut from") or were attacks on the current spending. I did not get an answer to this question to this day.
    If the republicans will follow ms. Buchman and will spend the time on petty things, nothing will be achieved and they will go home at 2012.

    Its up to them to use the 2nd chance wisely. People like michelle Buchman are not helpful to the republicans and the country.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  37. Matthew

    Each trip that Mr. Obama took to campaign for the democrats cost the taxpayer about 300.000.oo to 500,000.oo NOW, to celebrate his losses, he wants to go to India at the small cost of about 350,000,000.oo. Obama is out of control and needs to stay home and DO HIS JOB – not go running around the world on a vacation binge. Sorry, Another vacation binge... he's had, what twenty of them in the last two years?

    November 4, 2010 at 8:41 am |
  38. Dave

    Over 200 milion is not an inflated nunmber. 800 rooms booked at the Taj Mahal hotel is being reported from India. Moving an Aircraft Crrier battle group closer to the President is not a lie, it is happening.

    This trip is a small glimpse of his ego, the elitist mentality, and the drunk spending this administration has been on.

    It is criminal

    November 4, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  39. Abbie

    More of the same Republican foolishness: take pot shots at Democrats without knowing the facts. Talk in vague generalities ("cut spending") but offer no substantial solutions. Ms. Bachmann should yet again be reminded that it was largely thanks to her "fiscally conservative" Republican party that the economy is in such a mess. Two wars and so-called tax cuts – how does one pay for war by reducing taxes? Oh right, borrow from China...and mortgage our children's futures. The Republicans got eight years to really mess things up and the Democrats are supposed to undo it all in two years.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  40. David

    Another gasbag politician... big mouth... no specifics...

    Jon Lennon said it best...

    "Everybody's talkin'... no one says a word..."

    November 4, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  41. hannah

    The Republicans have no intention of getting the recession under control, getting jobs for the people. There main emphasis is to get rid of any government regulation on business, get rid of health care and blast the president and make it as miserable as possible so that they can take power again and when and if they do, good-by America. It will be two years of gridlock and nothing will get done. It is sad when working people pin their hopes on these people who are only doing the corporate bidding.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  42. MollyBee

    OK..all you Minnesotans. There goes your Social Security and Medicare. She clearly stated before she was elected she wants to privatize and phase it out in addition to unemployment compensation. As a person who was raised in MN...it's hard for me to believe you voted for that.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  43. Robert

    The American people have not seen anything like the circus that is coming. These republicans answer NOTHING when they are asked specifically. We went through 8 years of Bush drainning the country of money and we only heard a peep when the republican primaries started. They OK'd everything their Idiot President requested.

    I saw Bachman on election night and what she spoke when asked a question, was her prepared statement and she would not budge.

    I am now really worried about our country, as I truly realized that our President DOES NOT HAVE IT HIM TO FIGHT for the American people and we all know that the republicans will not.

    The Circus is coming.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  44. SeanGAR

    I agree that the president should be super careful when spending money he doesn't need to spend, like foreign travel, when so many people are unemployed, but I didn't see restraint on W's part, did you? How much do you think Cheney's trips to Iraq or Afghanistan cost? Can Buchannan point out where she complained about the cost of those trips? How about the trillion spent in Iraq looking for the elusive WMDs? Where was she when W decided to piss away that money? OH that's right, nowhere.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  45. max bartow

    Just like a lib, take a trip on tax payers nickel while americans are out of work and don't know where their next meal will come from.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  46. Mike

    Gee. Hard to believe just another "we have not plan and no specifics" republican. When are you folks going to wake up ? They did not have a plan for 8 years under lil georgie bush and they have no plan now. Sorry to say but...you will see!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  47. theresa

    It would be great if these critics (no it all's) would give a solution to some problems instead of stating what the President needs to do. If they know so much they should have ran for President...

    November 4, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  48. Matt in MN

    Thank you to all of the conservative geniuses in MN for giving this woman the win. Of course she's against taxing the rich, because she comes from one of the richest families in MN.

    She can spend millions of dollars in commercials throwing mud at Obama and Clark, yet we never hear any concrete SOLUTIONS. Oh, but that doesn't matter, she's got god on her side. The tea party elves have the perfect leader now...

    November 4, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  49. RMorris

    Since when does a represenative have the right to set the Presidents agenda ? Her critisism over the India trip is way out of line. Have some respect for the office of the presidency. All this makes the United States look like a bunch of angry middle school girls.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  50. Dave

    The fastest way to fix Social Security and Medicare is to eliminate the expensive retirement and healthcare programs which Congress currently enjoys and let them look forward to Social Security and Medicare like everyone else.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:32 am |
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