CRESTON, Iowa: It was Texans Ron Paul and Rick Perry who found themselves in Michele Bachmann’s sites on Wednesday, each an adversary but for different reasons, as the Iowa caucuses rapidly approach.
Relegated to the bottom of the GOP pack, Bachmann, who completes a bus tour of all 99 Iowa counties on Thursday, is targeting Paul for his frontrunner status and Perry because he is competing for the same social conservative voters. Rep. Ron Paul, now the frontrunner in Iowa, has become the subject of attack from nearly every candidate, and Bachmann, who serves with him in the House, was no exception.
On Wednesday, she maintained a line of assault first honed in the last Iowa debate two weeks ago, hammering him on his approach to dealing with a nuclear Iran.
“Ron Paul would be a dangerous president. He would have us ignore all of the warning signs of another brutal dictator who wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. I won’t. He would wait until one of our cities is wiped off of the map until he reacted. I won’t wait,” she told reporters.
When asked if she, like Newt Gingrich, would be unwilling to vote for Ron Paul if he were to become the GOP nominee, Bachmann dodged the question, essentially calling it irrelevant because Paul “won’t win the nomination. I will.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry began targeting Bachmann in a television ad this week, lumping her with Paul, Santorum and Gingrich as Capitol Hill insiders.
In turn, Bachmann went on the attack, assailing Perry for being a “crony capitalist,” who simultaneously collects a Texas state pension as well as his governor’s salary.
“Just because he’s held office outside of Washington, D.C., does not mean he is not a political insider. It’s what you do in your office that matters,” she said outside the same coffeehouse Perry visited the day before. “There aren’t very many politicians who have spent more time paying off political donors than Gov. Rick Perry has.”
Bachmann, who routinely compares this race to 1980 and herself to Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, also suggested that former Sen. Rick Santorum received a coveted endorsement from Iowa conservative Bob Van Der Plaats because he possibly paid for it. “I want to go to the White House because I want to overturn the money changers’ tables that are set up in Washington, DC. I can’t be bought because I’m not for sale and I wouldn’t sell out for 30 pieces of silver,” she said.
On Thursday, Bachmann wraps her 99-county tour of Iowa. According to the latest CNN Iowa poll, she is in second-to-last place, in front of only former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who has not campaigned here.