With her poll numbers plunging to the point that pundits are now questioning her relevance in the GOP race, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann tonight defended her chances and questioned rival Rick Perry’s support after his rocky debate performance last week.
“Sure, we can turn things around,” Bachmann told Bill O’Reilly from Iowa in an appearance on FOX News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.” “I won the Iowa straw poll. We had a wonderful response with that. Then, of course, Gov. Perry came into the race and there was an assumption that he was going to walk away with the nomination, but now there’s a re-look at that. People are looking after the debate and they’re saying that they think now they need to look for their champion and I am the constitutional conservative in this race and I’m running to be the people’s champion and their voice in the White House.
“People are looking at the candidates on stage in the debates and they’re taking the full measure of the candidates,” she added. “In the midst of all that, I think people are giving this second look and they’re seeing who we are, what we stand for, what we’re about to do to turn this economy around. And people are saying now that they don’t want to settle because every four years people are told that we need to go with the moderate in the race because that’s the only one that will win and now we’re seeing that that’s not true, that we can really have a true constitutional conservative for our nominee.”
However, a new CNN/ORC International Poll — conducted between Friday and Sunday and released today — found Perry leading the way with 28 percent and Bachmann buried towards the back of the pack at 4 percent. On top of that, Bachmann’s support had fallen a whopping 6 percent since the previous CNN poll on Sept. 12.
At the past two debates in Florida, Bachmann blasted Perry for issuing an executive order — later overturned by the Texas legislature — to mandate an HPV vaccine for young girls in an effort to combat a virus that can lead to cervical cancer.
“We have to go through this vetting process so that the voters can take a good look at us and who they want to be their voice in the White House in 2012. This is the key election and people need to know who will repeal Obamacare, who will repeal Dodd-Frank…” she said tonight before hitting out at Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for their stances on the president’s health care reforms.
“There is such a difference in this race because the two governors have said they would issue an executive order,” she said. “I’ve been in the midst of this fight with Obamacare from the beginning and the one thing I know, Bill, is the only way you can get rid of it is by a full-scale repeal. I am absolutely committed to that full-scale repeal. That is why this is the signature issue for 2012. Who will get rid of it? I will.”
The Minnesota congresswoman, emphasizing her success at the Iowa straw poll in August, said she is focusing on getting off to a strong start in the Hawkeye state caucuses this winter and then going from there.
“We’re looking at how this is going to play out and Iowa is where we’re putting our time,” she said.
But she reportedly only attracted around 50 people to an event in Cedar Rapids today, a far cry from some of the larger crowds who flocked to see her in this summer’s build-up to the Ames straw poll.
Overall Bachmann tonight told O’Reilly that she did not feel like she was being treated differently because she is the only woman in the GOP race.
“I don’t feel in any way that I’m discriminated against,” she said. “I’m just grateful to be able to be in the race. I think it’s wonderful.”