Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party State Of The Union Response Will Criticize ‘Explosion Of Government Spending’

Jan 25, 2011 4:59pm

ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., will criticize an "explosion of government spending" under President Barack Obama in her planned Tea Party response to the State of the Union address.

“After the $700 billion bailout, the trillion-dollar stimulus, and the massive budget bill with over 9,000 earmarks that the President signed, many of you implored Washington to please stop spending money we don’t have," Bachmann plans to say, according to excerpts of her remarks. “But, instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt at President Obama’s direction — unlike anything we have seen in the history of our country.”

Bachmann, who is giving what is being billed as the Tea Party rebuttal to tonight’s State of the Union address, will deliver her speech live from the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

She will call on President Obama to rethink his support for a cap-and-trade energy policy, commit to signing a balanced budget amendment and "turn back some of the 132 regulations put in place in the last two years that each have an impact of $100-million or more on our economy.”

"Last week we voted to repeal ObamaCare," Bachmann will say, "and each day going forward, we must work hard to dismantle the massive government expansion that has happened over the past two years.”

She will speak just minutes after Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., another rising star in the Republican Party, offers the GOP’s official response to the president’s speech. Republican leaders on Capitol Hill this week sought to downplay her alternative commentary.

"Paul Ryan's giving the official Republican response," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told reporters on Monday. "And Michele Bachmann — just as the other 534 members of the House and Senate — are going to have opinions as to the State of the Union.”

Cantor added, “This is a process that happens every year, and I look forward to all comments.”

Bachmann, who established the Tea Party Caucus in the House, emphasized that her response, which will be streamed live on the Tea Party Express Web site was “not meant to be in competition” with Ryan’s comments.

“He’ll do a wonderful job,” Bachmann said of Ryan on Monday, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, plans to use the official rebuttal to call for cutting spending as well as the national debt and promoting job creation.

“Americans are skeptical of both political parties, and that skepticism is justified — especially when it comes to spending," Ryan will say, according to an excerpt of his prepared remarks. "Our forthcoming budget is our obligation to you — to show you how we intend to do things differently."

But Bachmann’s decision to publicly offer her own Tea Party-flavored take on the president’s speech underscores the divisions within the Republican Party as well as Bachmann’s own political ambitions. She has recently been signaling her interest in the 2012 presidential race.

Bachmann visited Iowa last week to deliver a speech to the group, Iowans for Tax Relief, and held private meetings with prominent Hawkeye State political figures, including the state’s new Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.

Tea Party Express and Bachmann have a close relationship — the group hailed her as a “hero” during the 2010 midterm elections.

“The Tea Party movement is not a wing of the Republican Party, but is an issues-oriented movement focused on fiscal conservative issues,” Tea Party Express chairman Amy Kremer said. “This is a response to communicate and engage with the activists in the movement.”

None of the major television networks have plans to broadcast Bachmann’s response, but the cable news channel, CNN, will do so.

“The Tea Party has become a major force in American politics and within the Republican Party,” CNN political director Sam Feist, said in a statement. “Hearing the Tea Party’s perspective on the State of the Union is something we believe CNN’s viewers will be interested in hearing and we are happy to include this perspective as one of many in tonight’s coverage.”

CNN is co-hosting a 2012 Republican primary debate with the Tea Party Express in Tampa, Florida this fall. ABCNews.com plans to stream Bachmann’s comments live online tonight.

“The reaction that we have had to this tea party response to the SOTU is a testament to the power of the movement,” Kremer added.  “If we were not making a difference or having an impact, no one would be paying attention to the Tea Party response.

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