Bachmann Says She Opposes Ethanol Subsidies at Iowa Forum

Michele Bachmann said she opposes federal subsidies for ethanol. Speaking at a presidential forum Tuesday in Pella, Iowa, she took some of the nuance out of previous statements in which she has tread a careful line between supporting farmers and opposing government handouts.

“I want to pull the regulation burden back and then I don’t think we’ll need the level of subsidies we’ve had in the past,” Bachmann said in response to a question on energy and wind credits.

“Does that include ethanol?” the moderator asked.

“That includes all energy,” Bachmann said. “I want to see a [level] federal playing field. We’ve seen what a disaster it is when the federal government picks winners and losers,” she said, referencing Solyndra, the bankrupt manufacturer of solar panels championed by the Obama administration.

“I fully believe all these [energy] industries have the capacity to stand on their own,” she said.

Bachmann routinely says she wants to “legalize American energy production and American natural resources” and supports drilling for oil on federal lands.

Her position on ethanol subsidies has been far more nuanced, trying on one hand to support the industry — corn farmers vital to Iowa’s economy — and oppose subsidies, as federal handouts are anathema to her Tea Party supporters.

“When it comes to ethanol, I think that it’s a part of our solution, but there’s concerns about that because of the subsidies,” Bachmann told Fox Business earlier this year. “I think it’s just something that we have to look at going forward.”

Fellow contenders Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman have come out in opposition to ethanol subsidies. Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney both support them.