Michele Bachmann brings campaign to Bay Area

October 21, 2011 6:26:14 PM PDT
Tea party candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., brought her presidential campaign to the Bay Area on Thursday. In San Francisco, she took questions at the Commonwealth Club and ABC7's Dan Ashley was the moderator.

The Minnesota congresswoman sold out the event and as you'd expect she was critical of the president, she doesn't like the Occupy movement, she thinks a building a fence along the entire Mexican border would be a good investment, and she was pretty well received.

It was a friendly audience that greeted Bachmann who began by commenting on the death of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

"It is my hope that Gadhafi's reign of terror will be replaced by a government that respects its people in Libya," said Bachmann.

She added that she never supported the NATO mission in Libya and would not take back her criticism of President Barack Obama for going in.

"I would not put our United States military, our brave men and women, in harm's way unless there is a clear demonstrable, vital, national, American interest. That was not done in Libya," said Bachmann.

She considers Iran to be the biggest international threat to the United States, but most of what she talked about was domestic issues, particularly her jobs plan.

"If America is to once again regain our footing as the competitive leader, we must abolish the U.S. tax code and replace it with a fair, flatter and more simple one that has at its core a corporate rate that is one of the lowest in the industrialized world," said Bachmann.

And she'd enable companies to being home foreign earnings tax free.

"Repatriation and a low corporate tax rate would incentivize American companies to return to American shores and spur manufacturing here that would benefit our people and create millions of high paying jobs," said Bachmann.

Finally, Bachmann said she'd repeal government regulations that she believes stifling businesses.

"I will repeal massive government over-regulation beginning with the EPA which is killing literally thousands of jobs in the United States," said Bachmann.

The audience applauded several times and there were no protestors. Walter Richards of Alameda was impressed.

"I think she has good support here from the Republican standpoint, she'll have good support," said Richards. When asked if she had his support, Richards said, "Oh, no. I'm Obama."

Well that response is not entirely unexpected in San Francisco. The audience seemed to be a 60-40 split between her supporters and those who listened, but will not support her.

In this week's Republican debate it's was clear Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have their problems with the issue of illegal immigration. And pushing that debate further to the right is Bachmann, who is advocating construction of a double fence along the entire border with Texas even at a cost of $21 million a mile.

"The United States Government has failed the American people. As president of the United States, I will uphold the law of the land and I will build that fence," said Bachmann.

She says illegal immigration is costing taxpayers.

"When I talk to people about this issue, I do not sense racism. I don't see the bigotry when people talk about this what they're concerned about is losing economic competitiveness and they're worried about the tax burden that this is putting on the state and local governments," said Bachmann.

Bachmann says it's just about tax dollars and fairness, but in the past decade as the issue of illegal immigration has risen on the right, the GOP has suffered from a loss of Hispanic voters. President Obama picked up 80 percent in 2008.

In sharp contrast to Bachmann, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, met with Hispanic business owners to talk about what they need from the government to be more successful.

"To listen, to learn what the challenges are," said Pelosi.

She said national security must be the government's first job.

"But in the meantime we do not think it should be a priority of the federal government to kick in the door of a home and send somebody back to another country," said Pelosi.

ABC7's political analyst Bruce Cain, Ph.D., says immigration is an important issue to the bases of both parties.

"Certainly to the Republicans during the nomination, but possibly also to the Latinos in terms of whether they mobilize for the November election," said Cain.

Cain expects Republicans will focus on the economy in the general election, but particularly if it is a fight amongst the Republicans for the nomination, what they say about immigration may be coming back to them in Democratic attack ads during the general.


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