Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., trying to regain political momentum for her presidential campaign, summoned reporters to a press conference after President Obama's speech Thursday night to hear her reaction. About 15 journalists attended.
The congresswoman said she missed most of the president's speech because of a flight delay but that didn't temper her lack of enthusiasm for it. She called Obama's jobs plan a "temporary gimmick" and appeared particularly irked by the president's description of congressional negotiations as "a political circus."
"It was an unfortunate use of terms," said Bachmann. She accused Obama of having "called 535 members back to hear what I believe was nothing more than a political speech."
Bachmann presented her own nine-point plan for economic recovery, which included a call to "massively cut spending and the size of government" and a promise to "spur new investment in America, inspire innovation."
The congresswoman's press conference underscored her penchant for marching to her own drum: After the State of the Union address, she gave a speech that competed with her party's official rebuttal. This time, her intervention flew in the face of a decision by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, not to have an official Republican response.
It also came one day after a debate in which Bachmann was eclipsed by front-running GOP presidential rivals Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.
Bachmann told reporters at the Capitol Hill press conference that she would not be able to answer any campaign-related questions. "I'm here as a member of Congress," she said.