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September 21st, 2011
 

Bachmann’s New Strategy and The Tale of Two Micheles

Her national poll numbers plummet to 5%, her former campaign manager openly criticizes her to anyone who listens, and the momentum from her Iowa Straw Poll victory quickly disappears.  It has been a bad month for Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign.

Desperately trying to regain her status as one of the frontrunners in the GOP race, the Minnesota congresswoman is taking a new, and questionable, approach.  Instead of focusing on meeting with voters, Bachmann’s campaign is gearing its efforts toward free media coverage.

The Waterloo native wrapped up a three-stop tour of Iowa family owned businesses by visiting the Amend Packing Company in Des Moines on Tuesday. The event was a ready-made photo op.  Two dozen local and national reporters shivered in a cold meat locker for an hour and a half to cover the visit.

Surrounded by large slabs of hanging beef, Bachmann toured the facility and chatted with the company’s six employees.   As she carved ribeye steaks in the cutting room, photographers snapped away, TV cameras captured every chop and radio microphones inched closer to record the slicing sounds.  The Bachmann campaign wanted some free media publicity in a setting they could control.  This event seemed ready made for their goals, though the visuals might not have worked as well as planned.

The economy remains the number one issue for voters.  That benefits frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, who have stronger job creation and business backgrounds than Bachmann.  In response, the Minnesota congresswoman is trying to shore up her economic credentials.

“We’re meeting with businesses and looking at jobs and looking at what we can do to grow more jobs in Iowa,” Bachmann said.  ‘This is what my entire focus is, is to turn the economy around and grow jobs.”

She discussed the overreaching regulations that are strangling businesses like the Amend Packing Company, which was founded four years after the Civil War ended.

“It is more regulation than this business has ever had before,” Bachmann said.  “Now it’s gotten to the point where one employee out of a half dozen has to dedicated full-time to just dealing with rules and regulations.”  She later added that government has “made it almost impossible to be able to create a profit anymore”.

The factory tour photo ops make sense when you consider the words of Bachmann’s former campaign manager Ed Rollins.  He claims she does not have the resources to compete beyond Iowa.  That might explain why Bachmann’s omnipresent and expensive tour bus was scrapped in favor of a 15-passenger van for this visit.  Cutting back on expenses and luring a large throng of media are necessary for a campaign that is struggling financially.  However, Bachmann dismissed Rollins’ words.

“We do not agree,” she said.  “We have sufficient resources to do what we’re doing and that’s to be very competitive in this race.  We’re delighted to be able to be here. We had a wonderful experience in Iowa and I intend to be here.  Just this last week we were in Arizona, California, Florida, and South Carolina.  We’ve been all over the United States and we intend to compete and go forward.”

Bachmann’s stop in California included an ill-advised appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”.  Expecting a softball interview, Bachmann was unprepared for the questions she received from a comedian who has mocked her several times in the past.

Bachmann vs. Bachmann

There appear to be two Michele Bachmanns.  One is the calm, cool and focused candidate that emerged in the June debate in New Hampshire and rocketed to a Straw Poll victory with just over a month of planning.  The other is the frazzled, disorganized politician we saw via Skype video at the infamous “Bachmann Debacle”, when she no-showed a Polk County GOP fundraiser in May.

Last week, both Bachmanns emerged.  She found a solid line of attack and capably jabbed frontrunner Rick Perry with it during a Tea Party debate on CNN.  Following the debate, she gave inaccurate and irresponsible information about the Gardisil vaccine.  Michele Bachmann’s debate victory was quickly overshadowed by her penchant for erroneous statements.  Even Mike Huckabee and Rush Limbaugh lambasted Bachmann’s comments.

The Bachmann campaign is deviating from the strategy that led to their Ames Straw Poll victory.  Bachmann has not held a single traditional tour stop arranged by her Iowa campaign since August 13th triumph.  Instead of organizing events to attract likely caucus goers, she failed while trying to upstage Rick Perry at a GOP fundraiser, spoke briefly at a Tea Party rally, attended the Cy-Hawk tailgating festivities and embarked on this week’s factory tour.

Michele Bachmann won over conservative Iowans by taking her message around the state and meeting with voters in large group settings.   Instead of speaking to crowds numbering in the hundreds, she visits a meat locker that employs six people.

Instead of firing up crowds with Tea Party rhetoric, she fumbles on issues like same sex marriage during an interview with a comedian.  Instead of running away with the social conservative vote in Iowa, she has many caucus goers wondering what foolish thing she will say next.

 

Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com

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About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for TheIowaRepublican.com.




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