HENNIKER, N.H. — Before a crowd of just over 100 Monday morning, congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann took shots at Barack Obama, Rick Perry, the government’s management of Social Security funds, the U.S. Department of Education and the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters.
The protesters attacking Wall Street should be complaining to President Obama, she told the town hall meeting at the beginning of a brief swing through New Hampshire. “Obama came out in support of the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street,” Bachmann told the crowd, noting that she opposed it.
“They should go in front of the White House,” she added. “That’s where they should be protesting.”
Asked if the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters were the Democrats’ incarnation of the tea party, she shot back that they are “not similar to the tea party at all” — describing what she sees as a tea party built on freedom and a left-wing protest movement based on fear.
To near-unanimous applause, Bachmann also advocated abolishing the federal government’s involvement in education policy. “I believe that we should end the Department of Education at the federal level,” she explained. “I would turn out the lights and lock the doors … I would keep that money at the state level where it belongs.”
In a speech full of bold policy statements, one other stood out: A proposal to segregate Social Security funds from the U.S. Treasury.
“Washington is spending two currencies. It’s spending dollars, but it’s also spending open-ended promises — promises the government knows it can’t fulfill … It needs tough love. As the mother of 28 kids, I ‘get’ tough love.”
Asked about retirement entitlement fund IOUs managed by the Treasury Department, Bachmann quipped, “When you open up the Treasury, all that comes out is moths and feathers. There’s nothing in there.
“Let me tell you what the IOUs are: It’s all ‘you.’”
Bachmann, while not preemptively attacking her fellow candidates, had strong language for Texas Gov. Rick Perry in response to a question about his requirement that young girls be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV) before entering the sixth grade.
It was not a states’ rights issue, she insisted, but “an abuse of executive power.”
“Health care decisions like that need to be made by a child’s parents,” Bachmann said, her voice suddenly lower. “Those are not appropriate decisions to be made by a doctor, a governor, or a president.”
The pro-life Bachmann also tied Perry’s HPV policy to President Obama’s decision to make the “morning-after” birth control pill available more widely and without cost under his health care reform law, concluding, “That’s no longer America.”
Bachmann also fielded her share of less serious questions. A Harvard student who made the trip from Cambridge, Mass. asked her about her favorite class in college — “Political Science 101” — and her favorite books.
“Anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald,” she answered. “I also love books by David McCullough … Of course the biography of John Adams that he did.”
“My favorite economist is Ludwig von Mises,” she added. “I love the Austrian school of economics.”
Bachmann will participate in Tuesday night’s GOP debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover. The debate, hosted by Bloomberg News and the Washington Post, will cover economic issues.
David is The Daily Caller’s executive editor. Follow him on Twitter