Bachmann's Weirdly Insular, Cold Campaign Behavior Continues Even in Her Hometown
Michele Bachmann was born in Waterloo, Iowa, but in her appearance there Sunday night, she didn't better her recent erratic campaign behavior. Politico reports that in her match-up with Rick Perry at the Black Hawk County Republican Party's LIncoln Day dinner, where both GOP candidates were speaking:
She camped out in her bus, parked on the street in front of a nearby Ramada Hotel, until it was time to take the stage. Even after a local official’s introduction, Bachmann was nowhere to be found. It was not until a second staffer assured her that the lighting had been changed and a second introduction piped over the loudspeakers that she entered the former dance hall here. By the time she made her big entrance to bright lights and blaring music, the crowd seemed puzzled.
Bachmann’s stump speech drew mostly polite applause until she closed by giving a large apple pie to “the oldest mother in the room” – a local centenarian.
Then she stayed on stage, signing T-shirts from above, which her staff then distributed to a steady but not overwhelming crowd.
Finally, she swept through what was by then an empty ballroom behind a phalanx of six aides who shielded her from reporters and the handful of Iowans who remained.
This follows an incident over the weekend wherein members of her staff shoved around CNN reporter Don Lemon as he was trying to ask her questions. So while papers continually report about her "rockstar campaigning," she's also creating an insular, secretive environment around herself—and that isn't sitting well with constituents. Politico:
“I was really a big fan of hers up until how I saw her come into this event,” Judd Saul, a local Tea Party activist, told the Texas Tribune. “Her coming in, not eating dinner with us, showing up with a grand entrance with a big song playing … it’s not what it’s about here.”
Bachmann continued to assert her authenticity at carefully staged press availability after the event, in which she took the unusual step of calling on pre-selected reporters, whose names she read from an index card in her hand. (Perhaps the last presidential campaign event at which questioners were selected in advance was candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 trip to Europe and the Middle East.)
Pre-selected reporters, eh? Echoes of W. Meanwhile, The Hill reports that the Tea Party–whose values Bachmann tends to mirror—may be losing some of its steam, based on CNN and New York Times polls of independent voters. Many people are reporting on Obama's "record low" ratings today, but political scientists cited by The Hill "note Obama’s public approval also dipped but observe public opinion of the Tea Party has fallen faster" based on the ugly debt ceiling stalemate.
Franklin said surveys show most independent voters want political leaders of different parties to bridge their differences to solve the nation’s problems. They did not see that happen during the debt-limit debate, when leaders hashed out an unpopular last-minute compromise to avoid a national default.
“What we saw in all the polling, and it’s very consistent, is people favored some sort of compromise and did not know why the deadlock was there,” said Franklin. “The Tea Party, in some eyes, was blamed for the deadlock.”