Michele Bachmann said her presidential campaign in Iowa is “very strong” despite the recent defection of a key aide and her current standing in the polls.
“The poll that matters is January 3,” Bachmann said Thursday outside a Des Moines radio station where she had just wrapped up an appearance on a local talk radio program.
Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, was the first of the Republican presidential candidates to catch fire in Iowa when she won the Republican Straw Poll in Ames this summer.
But the Waterloo native wasn’t able to maintain that support and has been polling in the single digits in most recent statewide and national polls.
The most recent CNN/Time Iowa poll has her at 9 percent and puts former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in first, second and third, respectively.
Still, Bachmann, who was set to wrap up a 99-county tour of Iowa Thursday, said the polls don’t reflect what’s happening on the ground.
“We saw over and over what energized people at these stops was that Ron Paul would be dangerous,” Bachmann said. “We saw, literally, hundreds and thousands of people flipping and deciding that they were turning away from Ron Paul, and they were turning toward my campaign.”
Bachmann took aim at Paul a few times during her 12-minute talk with the media and is accusing the congressman of swiping Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson of Milo from her by offering him “a lot of money.”
Sorenson, who appeared with Bachmann at a stop in Indianola Wednesday but endorsed Paul later that night at one of the congressman’s stops, did not return a message left on his cellphone Thursday. In an interview with Fox News, Sorenson said he took no money from the Paul campaign.
And Bachmann’s political director, Wes Enos, came to Sorenson’s defense in a statement released through the Paul campaign Thursday.
“While I personally disagree with Kent’s decision, and plan to stay with Michele Bachmann because I truly believe in her, I cannot, in good conscious watch a good man like Kent Sorenson be attacked as a ’sell-out’ … That is simply not the case, and it was not the basis of his decision,” the statement quoted Enos as saying.
Bachmann said she had telephone conversation with Sorenson in which he said that he was offered money by the Paul campaign but was going to stick by the congresswoman.
She said Sorenson’s appearance at the Paul campaign stop took her by surprise.