ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Rep. Michele Bachmann confirmed to ABC News today that she’s considering a run for president in 2012 –- albeit with a non-traditional sense of her own timeline for making a decision.
Asked on ABC’s “Top Line” today about whether –- as ABC’s John Parkinson first reported this week –- she’s thinking about running for president, Bachmann immediately pointed to her upcoming travel to Iowa, and said she wants to be “part of the conversation” over the next year, as the GOP presidential nomination fight takes shape.
“I am going to Iowa — there's your answer. I am going to Iowa,” said Bachmann, R-Minn., the founder of the congressional Tea Party Caucus on Capitol Hill.
Bachmann told us that her travel to Iowa, for a speech to an anti-tax group in Des Moines, is designed to bring a focus on issues, instead of potential candidates’ personalities, in the run-up to 2012.
“Frankly I think that will be boring quickly to spend two years looking at the identity” of the candidates, she said. “I think we are far better off if over the next year we can make the case why Obama should not have a second term and why we need a courageous constitutional conservative as our nominee and what their agenda will be moving forward. That's what I want to talk about in Iowa.”
While most candidates are expected to jump into the race early this year, Bachmann said she thinks she can wait another year to make a final announcement – even if that means announcing her candidacy just weeks before the Iowa caucuses.
“I think that the next year should be focused on setting the table for this national narrative. I think about, 12 months from now, when we're about a year out or so from the presidential [general election] — at that point, I think our nominee will just naturally bubble up to the surface,” Bachmann said.
“If we're talking about the issues people care about, then I think it will be up to the nominees to listen to the grassroots. How very different, then rather from the top down the people told, who their candidate is, instead have the grassroots from the bottom up, talk about what's important to them, what issues they want to see in their nominee. Then the nominees will have to vie for the people's backing. I think that's positive.”
“I am just encouraging all of us to have the focus be on the conversation, as opposed to on individual people, on personal ambition, it really needs to be about who has the best message for taking the country forward. That will be positive, that will be exciting. And then I think that the individual nominees will have an entire year to make their case to the American people.”
Asked about House Speaker John Boehner’s saying in an interview this week that he couldn’t name a budget cut “off the top of my head,” Bachmann said she and her staff have identified some $450 billion in cuts.
“That's a great question and all of us should have an answer to this. My staff and I sat down, we've looked at the federal budget, and just our first swipe across the budget, so to speak, we've come up with about $450 billion worth of cuts,” she said.
“They aren't painless, they do require sacrifice, but it’s from every level; from Commerce to Agriculture to Defense, you name the area of the budget, we've gone in to look at it. Because I don't like the idea of just across the board cuts, because if there are people getting oxygen masks to stay alive, I don't want to cut that budget.”
“But on the other hand, if there is money set aside for trips for bureaucrats to go and have a retreat somewhere, that's something that we can cut. So we're trying to be picking and choosing with priorities.”
Bachmann also rejected the suggestion that the repeal of President Obama’s health care law will not succeed.
“We don't know that to be true that it’s not going to go anywhere. We need to do what we said we were going to do during the campaign… Now remember there are Democrats like, for instance, Joe Manchin in West Virginia, who campaigned on repealing Obamacare. It’s a long shot, but it’s possible that the Senate could also vote on the repeal.”
Watch the full interview with Rep. Michele Bachmann HERE.
We also checked in with Politico’s Jonathan Martin about Bachmann’s potential as a presidential candidate, plus buzz that former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is mulling another run.
Watch the segment with Jonathan Martin HERE.