More telling than whom Rep. Michele Bachmann decided to attack in tonight’s debate is who among her competitors decided to attack her — none of them.
Bachmann gave a solid performance, but in the most heated debate of the season thus far with candidates actively assailing one another, it was clear that no one thought Bachmann was threat enough to target.
Bachmann, who seemed to score considerably less screen time than her competition, used her time before the cameras to hit many of her favorite talking points.
Her chief target was President Obama, but close seconds were Herman Cain, for his 9-9-9 tax policy and negotiating a hypothetical prisoner release for a U.S. hostage, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, on securing the Southern border.
“If we give Congress a 9 percent sales tax, who knows how long before a liberal president drives it up to 90 percent,” Bachmann said of Cain’s plan.
Bachmann accused Cain of creating a hidden value-added tax, a contention he denied.
She said every American “should pay something” when it comes to taxes, “even if it’s only $1.” Under the current tax structure, while every American who buys gas or is paid a wage pays some taxes, only about half the country pays income tax.
Bachmann assailed the president on his healthcare plan and used the a question about immigration to insert a sly jab, implying that Obama’s aunt and uncle were living illegally in the United States with the president’s support.
On Saturday, Bachmann signed a pledge vowing to build a double fence along the U.S.-Mexico. At the debate she attacked Perry for refusing to build such a barrier and, she said, not aggressively going after illegal immigrants.
Bachmann also said she supported legislation to “deal with” the children of illegal immigrants, who she called “anchor babies,” dodging a question on repealing the 14th Amendment.
She called Cain “naïve” for suggesting in an earlier interview that he would swap suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay for a hypothetical U.S. hostage.