MANCHESTER – Rolling through northeast Iowa, Michele Bachman is taking aim at her rivals as she works to win the support of “values voters.”
“The people of Iowa are looking for the one, true, core conservative in this race,” she said outside the falcon Civic Center in Independence Dec. 20. “They need to know who it is that will represent them and their values … They want to make sure their nominee will be someone who will look out for their interests and not their own personal interests.”
Not to “trash talk her competitors” for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Bachmann said, but that’s not Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich, who she called “compromise candidates.”
In stops in Fayette, Postville, Strawberry Point and Manchester, Bachmann biller herself as the “authentic voice” and encouraged her supporters to make their voices heard in the Jan. 1 first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses.
“I am an Iowan,” the Waterloo native said. “I am not a part of Washington. I am a part of the voice of Iowa.”
“She’s a go-getter,” said Mary Jo Larsen of Manchester at a Bachmann meet-and-greet at the Manchester Pizza Ranch.
“I like her resolve,” added Cindy Wilhelm, also of Manchester. “She’ll do what she says.”
Many in her audiences have made up their minds, but others aren’t sure who they want to be the nominee.
Laura Rechkermmer of Oelwein likes what Bachmann has to say, especially her defense of Christian values.
“Unfortunately, that doesn’t always get the most votes,” she said. So she’s also looking at Gingrich, whose lifestyle choices she doesn’t endorse, but “seems like a guy who can get the job done.”
The choice is much clearer for Sandy Rekers of Winthrop who decided to back Bachmann before the Iowa GOP Straw Poll in August.
“I agree wither her values,” Rekers said, explaining. “I look more at the moral issues. That determines how I vote. The other things will fall into place.”
Bachmann offered assurances that she can handle those other issues, calling for the repeal of “ObamaCare” and the tax code, securing the border against illegal immigration, and ramping up energy exploration and production – including building the Keystone XL pipeline — so the price of gas at the pump will return to $1.79 a gallon – the price the day President Obama took office.
All of that sounds good to 19–year-old Kirkwood student Jared Utter of Manchester who will be voting in his first presidential election.
“The economy is the biggest thing for me,” he said.
It’s one of the concerns he shares with his dad, Jeff Utter.
“We can’t afford to go where we’re going,” he said, explaining he’s also worried about the federal debt and deficit.
A member of the House Intelligence Committee, Bachmann said she is the strongest candidate on national security issues and ripped Texas Rep. Ron Paul for his non-interventionist foreign policy and unwillingness to defend Israel from Iranian aggression.
She warned against expecting a change in North Korean foreign policy in the wake of Kim Jong Il’s death. North Korea, a state sponsor of terror, has been the “Wal-Mart of missile weapon delivery systems,” she said.
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