Major Garrett critical of 2012 Bachmann bid because ‘she can’t keep anybody on her staff’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann generated a lot of buzz from her performance in last Monday’s Republican debate. She swayed several of her staunchest critics and convinced them that she is indeed a serious candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination.

However, National Journal congressional correspondent Major Garrett isn’t completely buying into the hype. On the syndicated “Chris Matthews Show” set to air this weekend, Garrett identified one glaring problem with a Bachmann candidacy – the high turnover rate of her congressional staff.

“As you know Chris, you win nomination battles state-by-state through a long national strategy,” Garrett said. “Michele Bachmann’s biggest problem – all the strengths you identified, I agree with, but she can’t keep anybody on her staff.”

According to Garrett, building a solid organization is essential, something that he is uncertain the Minnesota congresswoman would be able to do, despite her ability to raise money and attract media attention.

“People leave her,” Garrett said. “They work for her for a little bit of time and they quit. She’s had five or six chiefs of staff – at least four at her time in Congress. That’s a problem. Building an organization is not something you do overnight and you can create buzz for yourself, you can raise money with a solid debate performance. Look, she raised $14 million in the last cycle having never been on a presidential podium stage before.”

In the last few weeks, Bachmann has added some big names to her staff, including former Haley Barbour pollster and Tarrance Group President and CEO Ed Goeas and Ed Rollins, the campaign manager for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential bid. Garrett had a mixed opinion on the hires.

“Ed Goeas is a very good pollster,” Garrett said. “Ed Rollins is a mixed bag when it comes to running a national campaign. He’s fun to be around.”