ABC News' Russell Goldman (@GoldmanRussell) reports:
With tongue planted firmly in a well-rouged cheek, Michele Bachmann told a meeting of Republican activists Friday that she would rise to the difficult challenge of cutting federal spending for liberal sacred cows.
“Cutting spending for Planned Parenthood will be very hard. Cutting spending for NPR, very hard. Cutting spending for bullet trains to nowhere will be very hard… and this is going to be the hardest — cutting spending for the Cowboy Poetry Festival,” Rep. Bachmann, R- Minn., told the Republican Leadership Conference today in New Orleans.
Capping what has been a very good week for the three-term Minnesota congresswoman, Bachmann hit on many of the same conservative themes and applause lines that made her the breakout star of the GOP pack during a televised debate on Monday.
On Friday she worked to hone those same themes, seemingly practicing material for upcoming stump speeches, and made a point to to appeal to each wing of the Republican party.
Bachmann said she alone can unite the sometimes disparate factions of the GOP, embracing the ideologies of fiscal conservatives, the religious right, libertarians, neocons and the Tea Party movement.
“We need to engage the strategy of the three-legged stool. We need peace-through-strength Republicans and I’m one of those; We need fiscal conservatives and I’m one of those; And we most certainly need to add social conservatives, and I am one of those,” she said.
Since Monday’s debate in New Hampshire, at which she formally announced she would seek the presidency, Bachmann has seen a jump in the polls, announced she is writing a memoir, and appeared on several television news programs.
On Friday she again appeared on the same stage as many of those same contenders and in a bright white dress distinguished herself immediately from the drab dark suits worn by her all male competition.
Speaking before a sympathetic audience that applauded frequently, responded to her questions and rose in an ovation following her remarks, Bachmann used the stage to assail President Obama, attack his health care plan and call for dramatic cuts in federal spending.
She assailed the EPA, as an agency that has concocted concerns over global warming to push for cap-and-trade and tell you what “car you’re supposed to drive and what light bulb you’re supposed to use.”
To address each leg of that “three-legged stool” she attacked President Obama’s decision to attack Libya and reaffirmed her staunch anti-abortion position.
In a comment on Libya, Bachmann telegraphed a message to the religious right, subtly quoting a bible passage while condemning Obama’s leadership.
“As president, we will lead from the front. We will be the head not the tail,” she said, quoting the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy.