(GRUNDY CENTER, Iowa) — To hear GOP contender Michele Bachmann tell it: “An electric light switch has been turned.”
Iowa voters who have ignored or abandoned her since her August win in the Iowa Straw Poll are, she says, once again looking to her as the only “consistent conservative” in the running here.
Disheartened by Mitt Romney, disenchanted by Newt Gingrich, disappointed by Ron Paul and dissatisfied with Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, Bachmann is hoping she’ll be the last person standing, when traditionally conservative Iowans vote in the first-in-the-nation caucuses on Jan 3.
“I think after the debate we saw in Sioux City, Iowa, it’s like an electric light switch has been turned on,” Bachmann said in Grundy Center. “Our crowds have been phenomenal. Our support keeps sliding up. There are no surprises with me. I’m not a politician. I’m a real person.”
Riding the publicity of a strong televised debate performance last week, Bachmann boarded a bus Monday for the fourth day of a whirlwind tour of Iowa in which she plans to visit all 99 of the state’s counties. Nearly half-way through her bus tour, Bachmann has been drawing consistent crowds even in small rural towns.
Along the way, she has made a point of targeting front-runner Newt Gingrich, who according to a CNN poll released Monday is experiencing the same slide that she and other candidates experienced after previous bounces in the polls.
The CNN poll puts Gingrich and Romney in a dead heat, with 28 percent each, and Ron Paul a distant third. But in a recent tele-conference poll of Tea Party conservatives, Gingrich won with Bachmann right behind him, which turned him into a Bachmann target.
“I think he’s slipping, because it’s very clear that his record is coming out now and people are seeing that he’s not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination. He’s a progressive, and people don’t want that in our nominee,” she said of Gingrich.
She accused Gingrich of supporting Republican candidates unopposed to late-term abortion, and of pocketing more than $1 million from Freddie Mac, the insurance giant at the center of the housing crisis.
“I think Iowans are learning some very significant facts, troubling facts. They’ve learned Newt Gingrich has been willing to support and campaign for those candidates who support the barbaric practice of ‘partial birth abortion. … ’ We also learned Newt Gingrich has been one of the most active insiders of the Washington, D.C., establishment for over 30 years– and he took over $1.6 million to advance a fraud and failure called Freddie Mac. He’s still yet to be forthcoming about that money and I’m calling on him to return that money.”
With Paul quietly rising in the polls in Iowa, and whispers that he could even win, Bachmann also attacked him, turning a comment on the death of North Korean leader Kim Jung-il into a assault on Paul’s avowed Iran positions.
“Together with the Chinese the North Koreans are actively working to help the Iranians to obtain missile technology to obtain a nuclear weapon. This cannot be. It is why Ron Paul would be a dangerous president of the U.S., he would have our nation ignore clear unmistakable warning signs of another brutal dictator who would want to wipe Israel and the us off the face of the map.”
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Shelbie Harris, Idaho State Journal
Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Sarah Anderson, Deseret News