Looking to rally her tea party base, Michele Bachmann ramped up her rhetoric on Tuesday evening with a series of comments slamming the Occupy Wall Street movement and government benefits for the children of illegal immigrants.
As polls show Bachmann falling further behind in the race for the Republican nomination, she took part in a telephone discussion sponsored by theteaparty.net and aimed at the tea party voters who have made up the core of her political base.
Bachmann said on the call that she has learned of “evidence that Occupy Wall Street is being backed up by the former leaders of ACORN.” She was referring to the liberal-leaning advocacy group that was shut down in 2009 following a sting operation by conservative activist James O’Keefe, which caught employees apparently offering advice to clients on hiding prostitution and avoiding taxes. Former ACORN officials have denied that they are financially backing OWS.
“When you have bad guys like ACORN backing up Occupy Wall Street really, it’s a problem on so many levels,” Bachmann said.
When asked how she would handle illegal immigration, Bachmann used the opportunity to announce her support for legislation that would prevent children born in the United States to illegal immigrants -- sometimes called "anchor babies" -- to receive welfare benefits from the federal government. She told the callers in the telephone town hall that she is the only candidate to take that position.
Bachmann called President Obama a “deadbeat president” for his recent use of an executive order to change the terms of the college student loan program. She promised to shut down several federal departments and “dismantle the Great Society” launched by President Johnson in the 1960s. And she hinted that she might consider opening an investigation of Obama.
“I think there’s a lot of investigation that has to go on,” she told a caller from Arizona who asked if she would investigate the president.
When asked by conservative radio host Rusty Humphries what she would say to tea party members who don’t want the 2012 campaign to focus on social issues, Bachmann responded that “culture is everything in a society,” and she said ultimately the culture issue is about 1st Amendment rights.
“We all have freedom of conscience to worship God in any way we want, and also to be able to talk about God in the public square and the public schools, for instance,” she said, adding, “We’re seeing their voices silenced in public square. That’s wrong.”
She ended the call with these comments: “Of all of the candidates that are there, I am the true tea party candidate who’s been tried and tested.”