Rep. Michele Bachmann, faltering in the polls, worked to differentiate herself from her fellow GOP presidential candidates at the 2011 Values Voter Summit, in Washington, D.C. on Friday evening.
The summit seems an ideal place for the Minnesota representative, who has made her Christian faith a cornerstone of her politics, to make her case to potential GOP voters. She has some ground to make up; a poll released today shows that the congresswoman has the support of only 2 percent of support in a survey of New Hampshire voters. So she took the opportunity to take the fight to her fellow candidates at this conservative forum.
Bachman presented herself as an uncompromising conservative and emphasized the points in her opponent’s records that call into question their own values. “You won’t find YouTube clips of me speaking in support of Roe v. Wade,” she said, in a clear shot at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. “You won’t find me backing crony capitalists, paying off big political donors with big political favors,” she later said, an apparent allusion to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Bachmann also attacked Perry for signing an executive order as governor of Texas that would have mandated HPV vaccinations for girls in that state, after he had received campaign donations from Merck, which produces the vaccine.
The congresswoman also stressed some of her signature issues, like her plans to shut down the Department of Education and Environmental Protection Agency as president, as well as her commitment to lowering gas prices. And she emphasized her social conservative credentials, most notably in touting the “Heartbeat Informed Consent Act,” introduced this week, which would require abortion providers to make fetal heartbeats visible and audible to pregnant women seeking abortions.
Perhaps the most notable way that the congresswoman’s campaign also differentiated itself was by attempting to predict the future. At just after 7:00 PM, the campaign sent out an E-mail saying that Bachmann spoke to a “standing room only” crowd. The congresswoman did not speak until well after 7:30, to a crowd that filled up less than three-quarters of the ballroom seats.