She's a gutsy, pro-life fiscal conservative who dared to vote against raising the debt ceiling.
She's a God-fearing, gun-loving advocate of tax cuts and domestic oil drilling – and one of Obamacare's worst nightmares.
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And Democrats have painted a target on her back.
Some Democrat leaders believe the party has a chance of winning a majority in the House this November – and they look forward to the prospect of bringing back the days of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"Nancy Pelosi thinks that she can pick my seat up," Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., told WND after she had been placed on Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red-to-Blue" list, a coveted roster of candidates they believe can unseat Republican lawmakers this election.
Because the race has made the Democrat list, the DCCC has opened up a portion of its war chest to her opponent.
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'Most important election of our lifetime'
Bachmann, a three-term congresswoman and chairwoman of the Tea Party Caucus, is fighting to keep her seat in what she said is the "the most important election of our lifetime" for a number of reasons.
"We can't get out of the drag-down welfare state if we continue with Obamacare," she warned. "This is an extremely important election for that reason, but it's also very important for the United States and our relationship with Israel."
Bachmann added, "We're about to lose our status as the economic superpower of the world, and we very well could lose our status as the military superpower of the world as well. Indicators are that China will assume that position. The world will be different if China is the economic and military superpower. I don't think that should happen, and that's why this is the most important election of our lifetime."
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The mother of five led the race for the GOP presidential nomination in August last year after she won the Iowa straw poll. But in January, she abandoned her campaign for president after placing last among six Republican presidential hopefuls in the Iowa caucuses.
Asked what she would like to see Republicans accomplish if they win a majority in both houses, Bachmann replied, "There's Taxmageddon and the fiscal cliff. The reality is that Jan. 1 all that comes into play, so there will have to be some immediate buttoning up to ensure taxes don't increase on the job creators and on millions of Americans.
"We also, at the same time, have to repeal Obamacare because there are 22 new taxes are coming into play, and that's going to hurt the economy. We need to make sure that with this sequestration we actually do cut spending, but we have to revisit that so we aren't harming our capacity for national defense. We have to actually sit down and get the job done to reorder our spending priorities. We're going to have to retroactively revert the tax increases that could go into play, like the new death tax and all the rest."
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'I stand on principle, not party'
Bachmann prides herself on her record of standing up to not only Pelosi and Democrats, but to her own party when it runs afoul of her principles.
"I stand on principle, not party," she said. "I work together with people. I can accomplish things and get them done. But it's also important when you see that your own party is going wrong to be able to stand up and take them on."
Lawmakers must first consider consequences of legislation, Bachmann said, rather than always voting the party line.
"I could see for myself that the $700 billion bailout was breathtaking in its scope and set a very dangerous precedent for the future," she explained. "Why in the world would taxpayers have to bail out private investment bankers? It made absolutely no sense. If these guys made bad bets, tough beans. They have to eat it! That's not our problem; that's their problem.
"That led to the auto bailout, which led to the closure of auto dealerships all across the United States. That put the president in charge of Government Motors, and they're cranking out electric cars that nobody wants to buy. And we're funding – to the tune of a quarter of a billion dollars – electric batteries that nobody wants to buy.
"What we've learned is that government is a terrible venture capitalist because it has nothing to risk. Nothing. It's our money. The government won't lose anything."
In one high-profile case of Bachmann's refusal to toe the party line, Democrats and some GOP lawmakers recently rebuked her and four other House Republicans – Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas – for their public denunciation of the Obama administration's acceptance of the Muslim Brotherhood and questioning the ties of some administration figures to the radical organization. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's close aide worked under a known terror sponsor.
WND senior staff reporter Aaron Klein has detailed Clinton Chief of Staff Huma Abedin's ties to the Saudi-financed Islamic think tank, the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, alongside Abdullah Omar Naseef – who is connected to al-Qaida.
Andrew McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York who is now with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, explained to WND why the reaction to the five House members has been so severe on both sides of the aisle.
"This is not just an Obama administration regard for the Muslim Brotherhood," he said. "This is a bipartisan, ruling-class in Washington perception of the Muslim Brotherhood. … What's happening is, the five Republican conservative members of the House who raised these questions are basically holding up the mirror to the disaster that's happening before our very eyes."
Washington corrupts in just '2 months'
Bachmann urges new GOP House members coming to Washington, D.C., to look inside their own hearts and evaluate their strength of character before ever setting foot in the halls of Congress.
"I think they need to know who they are before they come to Washington," she said. "They need to make sure that they aren't more interested in moving up the political ladder than they are pleasing the people back home. I think they would be shocked if they realized that it takes less than two months for the average person to cave."
Bachmann said lawmakers are constantly tempted by incentives to "vote in ways they would never in a million years vote on their own."
"They need to make a decision: Are they going to have a backbone?" she asked. "Are they going to be able to look at themselves in the mirror? Are they going to be able to go home and campaign after the election the same way that they campaigned before the election? That's a decision that has to be made in your heart before you get to Washington. And then you stand on it."
Bachmann also warned new lawmakers to evaluate their friendships.
"Your most important friends are the people who go into a voting booth and vote for you," she said. "That's what you need to remember. First, answer to your God and answer to your conscience. But you've got to remember that it's not about D.C. It's about the people at home."
Who is Jim Graves?
Bachmann's opponent, Jim Graves, is a hotel magnate who has argued for "separation of church and state" and described himself as a "business guy and free-market guy to the bone" and "a very strong capitalist." In an interview with the Daily Beast, he called himself "a centrist, a libertarian when it comes to social issues."
"Bachmann wants to blur those lines – she would [replace] our democracy with a theocracy," he said. "She epitomizes everything that's wrong with Congress and this country – a lack of civility, a lack of bipartisan or nonpartisan approach to problem solving."
In 2007, Graves donated $4,600 to Hillary Clinton's campaign. He has said "President Clinton did a great job in the 1990s," but he claims he would have "done some things differently" than Obama has. Graves said the Wall Street bailouts were necessary.
Just last month, Barney Frank, D-Mass., threw a major fundraising party in Graves' honor. Frank has been ranked as one of the most liberal lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives by the National Journal.
In 2003, Frank called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "fundamentally sound." He voted for the bailouts, stimulus funding, increasing the debt limit to $16.7 trillion, a Senate pay raise in 2009 during an economic recession, increasing funding for Cash for Clunkers, stricter sentencing for "hate" crimes, enforcing limits on global-warming pollution, a moratorium on offshore oil drilling and protecting race-based college admissions. Frank has a strong pro-abortion record and supports homosexual marriage. He opposes school voucher programs and opening the Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling. He has voted against tax cuts for small businesses, increasing the child tax credit and reducing taxes on capital gains and dividends. Frank has supported human embryonic stem cell research and has an "F" rating from the NRA.
On their radio show, Bradlee Dean and Jake McMillian asked Graves why he joined forces with Frank to raise money for his campaign. Graves claimed he did so because he wanted to discuss the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Bachmann has advocated repeal of Dodd-Frank and blasted it for tightening regulations on banks to the point that Americans are now unable to obtain credit. She also argued that its "400 new sets of rules" "failed to address the systemic problem that caused the Wall Street collapse" and that the legislation "creates a potentially intrusive Financial Services Consumer Protection Bureau that is not accountable to Congress."
On the show, Graves explained, "There's a bill called the Dodd-Frank bill. I knew it was going to be coming up. The point that I wanted to do with the Barney Frank thing is, Dodd-Frank is a very important bill. I have a lot of people who are in the Wall Street business, in the banking business, what have you. We wanted to talk about, OK, what's going on with Dodd-Frank? How are we providing transparency, and how are we deleveraging our financial institutions? … I don't want the greedy Wall Street people ever taking advantage of you and me ever again … I did bring in Frank, and he did talk about it at my hotel. And he gave me a real good endorsement, too. "
When Dean and McMillan pressed Graves on his support for abortion, he responded:
"I stand for the woman, that they don't have to make a difficult choice like that. I want to be there for women. … I'm going to try to help everybody I possibly can, and I'm going to worry about that plank in my eye. I'm not going to worry about the speck in my brother's eye, and I'm going to try to help people."
When Dean and McMillan argued that abortion takes a human being's life, Graves responded, "I totally respect your position, totally respect it 100 percent. I understand where you're coming from, OK? I also know there's a population out there that doesn't agree with your position."
Bachmann told WND, "We're polar opposites. He's for the bailout; I'm against it. He's for Obamacare; I'm against it. He's for the trillion-dollar stimulus; I'm against it. … He's doubled down in support of gay marriage. He's doubled down in his support of radical pro-abortion policies. He's for the taxpayer funding of abortion in Obamacare. We couldn't be more different on those issues."
Bachmann's appeal to WND readers
Bachmann issued a warning to Americans: "This is the time of year in an election when we have all these promises about how fiscally conservative these people are going to be. But they're really the great pretenders."
She urged voters to "remove their rose-colored glasses."
"Take a really good look, because we need people who are going to fight for us, not just vote right," she said. "It isn't easy. It's tough to take on the other party. It's tough to take on your own party. But that's what we need: People committed to principle and people who are going to fight for what we believe.
"I'm encouraging all of WND's readers to make sure that they're really paying close attention on this one: No pretenders this time. We've got to have real-deal constitutional conservatives.
"The country, quite literally, is standing on the edge of a cliff – and we've got to pull it back."
11-point blueprint for jobs and economic growth
During her run for president, Bachmann put forward an 11-point blueprint for creating jobs and spurring economic growth. She told WND she will stand by that plan while she represents her constituents in Congress:
1) Repatriation: Bringing back $1.2 trillion to the U.S., on which the government would "zero out the tax rate on that money until December 31, and then permanently keep it here in the U.S. if taxed at a rate of 5 percent."
2) Cut spending and government: Phase out quasi-governmental enterprises (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), eliminate duplicative government programs and costs, decrease government salaries and the number of government employees.
3) Repeal Obamacare: Bachmann called the federal health care takeover "the number one hindrance to job creation in the United States."
4) Cut taxes: "[R]educe the number of tax brackets, repeal taxes outlined in Obamacare, fix the Alternative Minimum Tax and eliminate the death tax. … [M]ake the corporate tax code simpler and fairer, and allow U.S. companies that generate earnings overseas to bring back those profits and invest them in American jobs and growth."
5) Repeal Dodd-Frank: "This law tightened regulations on banks, made it harder for Americans to obtain credit, and failed to address the systemic problem that caused the Wall Street collapse — leverage. This 849-page bill calls for 400 new sets of rules that will be written on 6000 Federal Register pages, all written by bureaucrats, many of whom have never worked in the financial services field. The law also creates a potentially intrusive Financial Services Consumer Protection Bureau that is not accountable to Congress and which has but a vague mandate to combat misconduct – so in the wrong hands, it could cause its own kind of misconduct."
6) Legalize American energy production and America's natural resources: "This could create 1.4 million jobs, bringing $800 billion of new revenue into the U.S. Treasury, and increasing domestic energy supplies by 50 percent. … This includes specific strategies like reviving the logging, timber, mining and metals industries, and bringing federal lands back into productive activity by repealing radical environmental laws that kill access to natural resources.
7) Repeal job-killing regulations: "America's job creators and small business owners have lost economic liberty under the weight of $1.8 billion annually in compliance costs with government regulations. Together we sent $2.2 trillion in taxes to the federal government this year. By comparison, job creators spend nearly as much annually to comply with bureaucratic mandates. Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and the string of mandates and rules from the Environmental Protection Agency — as well as other agencies — are creating such incredible uncertainty in the market. The House Republican leadership has identified 219 planned Obama administration regulations, each of which will cost the economy more than $100 million. This red tape rampage must stop."
8) Increase exports: "This president has been holding hostage trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea as he tries to negotiate favor for Big Labor. U.S. companies need to expand beyond our borders to the 95 percent of people who do not live here."
9) Unleash American investment: "By eliminating unnecessary taxes and regulation, and expanding trade, we will create an incentive for investment in America again. We must do whatever it takes to restore our ability to manufacture here in the U.S. We can do this by reforming the tax code, providing incentive for growth, and allowing the private sector to control the market with little government involvement."
10) Pave a pathway for innovation: Recent reports indicated that the United States has now slipped to 5th in the competitiveness rankings, and 47th in education. How do we expect to lead the world economically when we are not doing what is needed to inspire and foster innovation here at home? The future of the American economy lies with the innovation of this and future generations.
11) Enforce American immigration laws: The failure of the federal government to enforce its immigration laws costs federal, state and local governments billions of dollars annually. Our nation was founded on the rule of law, and we must ensure U.S. immigration laws are respected and enforced not only to preserve our national security, but to protect federal, state, and local budgets, and to curb the unfair strain on our country's job markets.