CEDAR RAPIDS – Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is calling on President Obama to address the nation before financial markets open Monday to lay out his plan for economic recovery.
Bachman, a Minnesota congresswoman seeking the GOP nomination, told reporters Aug. 6 the president needs to address the unprecedented step by Standard & Poor’s to decision Friday to reduce the nation’s credit rating from AAA to AA+.
Obama, she said, has failed to provide any leadership as the economy was “literally melting in front of our eyes.”
“Mr. President, you were AWOL,” Bachmann told about 75 supporters outside the Hotel at Kirkwood Center. “You were missing in action. You failed to put forward a plan, any plan, to bring us back to balance so yesterday wouldn’t occur.”
“Yesterday” referred to the nation’s credit rating being dropped Friday after markets had closed — down 7.1 percent for the week – following Congress raising the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, presumably to avoid default and a ratings downgrade.
She laid responsibility for the series of events “with those in Washington who put the deal together.”
And chief among them is the president, according to Bachmann.
“The real problem in all of this is President Obama has failed to give leadership” even after the stock market plunged Thursday and the credit downgrade, she said. “He didn’t have a plan before. He still doesn’t have a plan.”
Obama has been too slow to react to the negative economic news, Bachmann said, noting that he flew to Camp David for the weekend and it wasn’t until Saturday morning that the White House issued a statement on the credit downgrade.
According to the White House, “Over the coming weeks the president will strongly encourage the bipartisan fiscal committee as well as all members of Congress to put our common commitment to a stronger recovery and a sounder long-term fiscal path above our political and ideological differences.”
A more immediate response is called for, Bachmann said.
“I’m calling on the president of the United States to come back to the White House and address the American people before the markets open Monday and give us his positive plan to put the rating back up to a AAA rating,” Bachmann said.
That will require “giving back” the $2.4 trillion debt ceiling increase, she said.
“Clearly we can’t afford the government we have,” she said, adding, “The ball is now in the president’s court to provide leadership, which he has failed to do.”
The social conservative’s heavy emphasis on the nation’s economy was well-received by many in the audience. Typical of candidates’ events this summer, several people in the crowd have not decided which Republican to support in next Saturday’s Iowa GOP Straw Poll or the first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses in February.
Typical of them was Melanie Tomash from the Cedar Rapids area.
“I support a number of candidates,” she said. “We have a good group of candidates and I appreciate the stands they are taking.”
Tomash’s daughter, Sarah, said she’s been too busy with college studies to evaluate the candidate. However, she knows what she wants in a candidate.
“Fiscal policy is important,” the younger Tomash said. “A strong defense, too.”
Lowering the nation’s debt also was important to Nancy Snetzler of Cedar Rapids. She’s made up her mind to go to the Aug. 13 straw poll to support Bachmann.
“We need to lower the debt because if it keeps going this way I’m worried about my grandkids,” Snetzler said.
The Tomashes are trying to make room in their schedule to attend the straw poll. If they go, they aren’t sure who they’ll support, but said Bachmann would get their consideration.
“I could definitely support her as a nominee,” Melanie Tomash said, adding that she likes Bachmann’s support for Israel, for a conservative government and “traditional values.”
“I’m looking for someone who stands for American values, someone who is very American,” added Sarah Tomash.
Bachmann, she said, is someone she can look up to “both as a person and as a candidate. I would heavily consider voting for her at the straw poll.”
And, she added with a smile, “I like her style.”
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