Observers pan Bachmann’s debate performance
It was less than a month ago that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann took top honors in the Iowa Straw Poll and was surging in national polls. But for many observers, her performance in the Republican presidential debate last night cemented her campaign’s steady decline.
Until Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entrance, Bachmann was viewed as the main threat to frontrunner Mitt Romney. Because of her dramatic performance in earlier debates, this debate was viewed as her main hope to recapture her former inertia after polls showed her performance slipping. But she was a small presence in the debate, and didn’t receive a question from moderators until after they’d asked a question of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who has dawdled at about one percent in the polls.
While Romney and Perry earned much of the media’s gaze with some low-level sniping, Bachmann focused her attacks on Pres. Barack Obama, primarily on his health care reform efforts, although her comments didn’t much distinguish her in a debate where all her opponents shared similar stances.
“As I go across the country and speak to small business people, men and woman, Obamacare is leading them to not create jobs. We know that from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, but I know it firsthand from speaking to people,” she said. “Obamacare is clearly leading to job-killing regulations not job-creating regulations.”
The media consensus is that Bachmann missed an opportunity to stand out in this debate. The Los Angeles Times titled a post-debate story, “As Perry and Romney spar, Bachmann fades.” Time magazine’s Joe Klein asserts that it’s now a two-way race, lumping Bachmann into his column in a category for third-tier candidates called “The Others.”
In a further sign of bad news for Bachmann’s campaign, Reuters broke news Thursday that the high-level staff changes in Bachmann’s campaign were due to personnel issues and disagreements about the day-to-day running of her campaign.
As ABC News notes, Bachmann’s campaign, which formerly sent out flurries of emails and statements, sent out only one press release about the debate (and an additional release about Bachmann’s energy stances): ”Bachmann closed out the debate by affirming she is the strong leader the country needs during these uncertain times – not more speeches and Washington politics.”
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