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Bachmann in Iowa: ‘America is under attack’

DES MOINES — U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) warned guests of an event organized Iowans for Tax Relief Friday night that America is “under attack” by a “thundercloud of debt weighing upon [the U.S.]”

“What I’m believing is, I think, the truth of where we are in the country,” Bachmann said.

Bachmann, who is openly mulling a run for the Republican presidential nomination, continually discussed her doubts that the U.S. would continue as a great nation under the policies of the current government.

Bachmann spoke before a crowd of around 150 at the downtown Des Moines Marriott Hotel, and often quoted Abraham Lincoln and discussed her family’s history and US history.

She said the underlying struggle of America 150 years ago during the Civil War was the issue of slavery and the question of whether all men are created equal. Bachmann described how Americans killed other Americans during the Civil War.

“Fortunately today we don’t face the prospect of an armed violent civil war, but instead we face the question of whether our nation will live to the latest generation is equally great. It’s an underlying issue in the struggle of our time is a slavery of a different kind,” Bachmann said to the crowd, before predicting her slavery comments would be misconstrued by the media.

“Because it is a slavery. It is a slavery that is a bondage to debt and a bondage to decline,” Bachmann went on. “That’s what that slavery entails. It’s the subservience of a sovereign people — we are a sovereign people — to a failed self selected elite. That would be our fate.”

She repeatedly asked the crowd whether the next generation will see a standard of living as high as as the current generations enjoy.

“My faith is with you, the ordinary Iowa citizens,” Bachmann said. “Because for my money, I take ordinary any day of the week over the self-anointed elite.”

Bachmann said the spirit of 1776 woke up for the the 2010 elections.

“You saw what happened right here in Iowa — winning your governor’s seat, winning your Iowa House back, ousting three Supreme Court justices,” Bachmann proclaimed to massive applause from the room. “And don’t think for a moment a lot of justices around this country can’t feel the hot seat now in their own seat because of what Iowa did.”

She chastized the bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler, as well the large financial institutions, eventually criticizing the reform of the federally subsidized student loan program by falsely claiming the “government completely runs the student loan industry.”

The student loan reform involved the ending of insuring loans made by private banks and instead increasing the loans the government delivers through its direct loan programs. Banks and credit unions still run private student loan programs the same as before. The Congressional Budget Office says student loan reform will save $62 billion over the next decade.

“We saw the passage of socialized medicine,” Bachmann said, later adding it’s “stunning what has occurred in just two years time.”

After her speech, Bachmann was asked by The Iowa Independent to elaborate how health care reform legislation was “socialized medicine,” given the legislation included no government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

“Ultimately the way the program is built, we’ll see a collapse of the private insurance industry,” Bachmann responded. “That’s very important to the Des Moines area because this is a Mecca of insurance industries.”

Indeed, Des Moines does play host to many insurance companies, and is ranked as one of the top insurance centers in the world along with Hartford, Conn. and London, England.

Contrary to her claim, however, more people will get private health coverage thanks to the Democratic reforms. The law sets up “exchanges” where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don’t have it. The law also gives tax credits to people who have difficulty affording insurance, an approach that relies on a free market, not socialized medicine.

But she went on in her response to claim health insurance costs are already rising because of the Affordable Care Act.

Larry Levitt, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, told Minnesota Public Radio that claim is a stretch. Levitt said there have been reports recently of insurers raising premiums significantly, but that’s due to the increase in the cost of health care and the effects of the economic downturn.

Bachmann predicted health care reform, along with the nation’s debt, will remain signifficant issues in 2012, as they were in 2010.

“If we want to kill ‘Obamacare,’ if we want to end socialized medicine it must be done in the next election,” Bachmann said. “It will be our charge to repeal Obama [and to] repeal a very liberal Senate.”

Bachmann also noted the debt under Obama’s tenure is more than the accumulated debt of all 43 previous presidencies.

The truth on that statement is complicated. When U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Obama’s budget would add more to the debt than the outstanding debt of all previous presidents, the Pulitzer-Prize winning website PolitiFact rated it true. However, when Republican state Sen. Chip Rogers of Georgia said the U.S. had accumulated more debt since Obama took office than the total amount of debt accumulated during the first 200 years of the United States existence, it was given a “barely true” rating.

PolitiFact clarified the difference being whether one focused on publicly held debt instead of spending and not limiting the timeline to two years from Obama taking office.

Despite any accuracy of her statements, the crowd was largely impressed with the Minnesota Republican.

Ed Failor Jr., president of Iowans for Tax Relief, said Bachmann had a track record of putting people first, calling her the kind of leader the country needs.

“I’m certain there’s a new breath out there of fresh air that is lead by someone like Congresswoman Bachmann,” Failor said.

Ankeny resident Judy McBee said she liked what she heard in Bachmann’s speech and was familiar with Bachmann before the event.

McBee said what she’s heard before about the Congresswoman depended on the source, as McBee felt the national television media would make her seem extreme or a “big mouth.” She admitted sometimes it can get her riled up to get behind politicians like Bachmann when it seemed the media was attacking her.

“We can pretty well recognize who we’re in agreement with and so we will probably support anyway,” McBee said. “But yeah, you might feel more determined, but we kind of do that anyway to those we’re in agreement with.”

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