Coming off her victory in the Ames Straw Poll Saturday, Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann took a victory lap on morning political talk shows Sunday where she faced a barrage of tough questions about her record.
“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace pushed Bachmann to defend her opposition, reiterated at Thursday night’s GOP primary debate, to the recent debt ceiling deal.
“Even Reagan’s top economic adviser, Marty Feldstein, said that [not supporting the debt deal] is too hardlined: It’d be walking away from a huge conservative victory,” Wallace pressed.
“The deal sounds so rosy at the beginning,” Bachmann responded. “Usually, the cuts are so elusive. They’re off into future years. And, of course, one Congress can’t bind the next Congress. A Congress lasts for two years, so we can’t bind what future Congresses do. We can beat our chests and be really proud and say, ‘Oh, we’re going to cut trillions of dollars,’ but we can’t bind what future Congresses will do.”
Several hosts pushed Bachmann to fight back against the charge that she is an ideological extremist.
On ABC’s “This Week,” guest host Jake Tapper asked Bachmann how she can appeal to the more moderate wing of the Republican Party. (RELATED: Bachmann edges out Ron Paul for victory in Iowa Straw Poll)
“One of the reasons you did so well in the straw poll is because your message resonated so well with tea party Republicans, with Christian conservatives. I’m wondering, how do expand beyond the Republican base?” Tapper asked. “Why would a moderate Republican vote for you?”
“Everywhere I’ve gone, all across Iowa, there isn’t an event that I do that I don’t have people come up to me and say: ‘Michele, I’m a Democrat and I’m voting for you. I’m an independent and I’m voting for you,’” Bachmann replied. “They’ll tell me ‘I voted for Barack Obama but I’m not voting for him again. I like you. I like what you say.’”
Bachmann said she thinks people like her message because “I’m talking about what people really care about it and that’s turning the economy around, and job creation.”
On CNN’s “State of the Union”, Bachmann replied similarly to the same line of questioning from host Candy Crowley.
On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” guest host Norah O’Donnell pressed Bachmann on her 2006 statement that she is “submissive” to her husband Marcus. After playing the now-infamous sound bite, in which Bachmann says the only reason she got an advanced degree in tax law was because her husband told her to and she is “submissive” to what he says, O’Donnell asked her: “What do you mean ‘wives should be submissive to their husbands?’”
“Well, there was a debate earlier this week and that question was asked during the debate,” Bachmann replied. “And, for my husband and I, submission means respect, mutual respect. I respect my husband, he respects me. We’ve been married 33 years. We have a great marriage. We built a business together, we have five children together and we’ve raised 23 foster children together in our home. Respecting each other, listening to each other, is what that means.”
“Would you use a different word today other than submissive?” O’Donnell followed-up.
“You know, I guess it depends on what word people are used to,” Bachmann answered. “But, respect is really what it means.”
Not satisfied, O’Donnell pushed further: “Do you think submissive means subservient?”
“Not to us,” Bachmann replied. “To us, it means respect. We respect each other, we listen to each other, we love each other and that’s what it means.”
On the news that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race Sunday, Bachmann said on “This Week” that she “wish[es] him well.”
“I have great respect for the governor,” Bachmann said, even though she and Pawlenty took plenty of swipes at each other during Thursday’s debate. “We’ve known each other for a long, long time and he brought a really important voice into this race. I’m grateful that he was in, and he was really a very good competitor.”
Asked by Norah O’Donnell on “Face the Nation” if she will seek Pawlenty’s endorsement, Bachmann provided a non-answer.
“I look forward to talking to him,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll be calling him very soon.”
With her victory in the Ames Straw Poll, Bachmann solidified her position in the top-tier of candidates vying for the Republican nomination, along with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and possibly Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who officially entered the race Saturday.
Asked by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on his Fox News Channel show Saturday night whether she considers herself a frontrunner, Bachmann said she would leave that speculation to the pundits.
After noting how she was considered a long-shot when she first entered the race, “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace asked, “Do you now think you can win this race?”
“Of course I do, I know I can,” Bachmann said. “because [what] I’ve seen from people all across the country is that they really do want to take the country back. They want a new direction. They want someone they can believe in. In think they see in me a champion, their values and their voice, and they want someone they can trust in the White House.”