Bachmann at American Legion convention
Nurse Jean Ross with Bachmann puppet
MINNEAPOLIS -- Congresswoman Michele Bachmann impressed thousands of veterans at the American Legion national convention Thursday, saying she'd follow the lead of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan when it comes to national defense.
In an appearance at the Minneapolis Convention Center, the Republican presidential candidate defended her vote against raising the debt ceiling. Bachmann warned that the most recent budget deal on Capitol Hill set the stage for future cuts to the military and veterans programs.
"As President of the United States I want to assure you completely and wholly that our armed services will never again be political pawns in political deal making in Washington D.C.!" Bachmann told the Legionnaires.
She also asserted that the U.S. treasury bonds held by China pose a threat to American security.
"The United States is now sending money to build up the Chinese military. That's why I believe the (chairman of the) Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, wisely said the American debt is the greatest threat to America's national security."
Back on the Trail
Bachmann's staff said she would not have time to visit the Minnesota State Fair while in the Twin Cities. Some political observers suggested it was wise for Bachmann to avoid the 2011 fair under any circumstances because of election laws.
Presidential contenders are barred from campaigning for reelection to their Congressional seats at the same time, and a stop at the fair would be perceived by some critics as courting voters in her home district.
As Bachmann returned to the campaign trail, her supporters were hard at work in the hotly contested state of South Carolina. A pro-Bachmann Super PAC known as Keep Conservatives United began running an attack ad in South Carolina against her main rival there, Texas Governor Rick Perry.
The ad accused the three-term governor of being a big spender, and issuing short-term bonds to make ends meet.
"And he's supposed to be the Tea Party Guy?" the narrator asks as the viewers see a photo of Perry in a cowboy hat. "There is an honest conservative, and she's not Rick Perry."
Bachmann caught some heat herself Thursday from the Minnesota Nurses Association. Members of the nurses union staged a mock news conference outside her Congressional field office in Woodbury hosted by a large Michele Bachmann puppet.
"How can America create more living wage jobs?" asked one of several faux reporters, who were all registered nurses engaged in political street theater.
The puppet, voiced by another nurse, answered, "As a champion of the free market, I support drilling for oil in Alaska and the Florida everglades!"
The point of this all that shtick on a stick was to pressure Bachmann to go along with a half-percent tax on some of Wall Street's riskier investments, such as the mortgage-backed derivatives at the heart of the housing crisis that led to the recession.
"This would be a modest Wall Street transaction tax on stock market gamblers, which will pay for the devastation we see on main street America every day," explained Jean Ross, a Bloomington nurse who is co-president of National Nurses United.
Rep. Bachmann's office staff accepted some information from the nurses, and said they'd pass it along to her.
Would Bachmann find the huge puppet amusing? Ross doubted it.
"I don't think Michele Bachmann has ever laughed at anything we've said about her. However, those words, some of them, were exact words that came out of her mouth."
The nurses commissioned the puppet from Minneapolis artist Anne Sawyer-Aitch, who said she fashioned it out of muslin cloth, paper mache and bubble wrap.
"I really wanted to capture the essence of her expression, that trademark tight smile," Sawyer-Aitch told KARE.
As for her own political leanings?
"I think my art speaks for itself!" she laughed.
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)