Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann
says New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer’s remarks — that Democrats should label Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner as extremist tea party zealots in budget debates — illustrate that Democrats fear the tea party. Bachmann — who has indicated she is exploring a presidential run in 2012 — also said on Fox News Tuesday she won’t vote for a budget that does not defund Obamacare.
“It is amazing — same song, second verse — because they’ve been after the Tea Party from the very beginning,” Bachmann told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “It appears that the left is so terribly afraid of the tea party, and so they want to throw the tea party under the bus once again, because they’ve decided they’re not willing to negotiate.
“That’s what we heard from Chuck Schumer — they’re not willing to negotiate, so they want to put John Boehner in a box,” Bachmann said of statements Schumer made to fellow Democrats, which he did not realize were being overheard by reporters. “All the conservatives are trying to hang together right now because we definitely want to come to a solution.
“We’re trying to work together — Chuck Schumer is saying they’re not going to work together because they want the government to shut down,” she continued. “That’s what they want — we want to make this thing work.”
Bachmann told Van Susteren that Schumer is calling Republicans extreme simply because the GOP wants to cut government spending.
“Well, he got caught in a very unfortunate situation for himself because he’s calling people extreme who just simply don’t want to increase taxes, who don’t want government to spend more than what it takes in,” Bachmann said. “And I think that’s why so many of your viewers are continuing to reject the message of the left because it doesn't make any sense. They want government to shut down. We want to get to an answer and a solution so that we can make this work.”
Van Susteren noted that former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who also led the Democratic National Committee, echoed Schumer by saying a government shutdown over the budget for the current fiscal year would bode well for Democrats, as the blame would be laid at the feet of the GOP.
“Well, I think what he’s trying to do is send a message out to all of his buddies in the press corps: This is the direction we’re going to take, we need you to help pile on,” Bachmann said. “I think that, actually, the American people are going to see through this, because they know now this is about a political chess game from the part of the left — and we’re not about trying to be political right now.”
Van Susteren asked Bachmann if there’s no spending plan for fiscal 2011 by April 8, would she vote for a continuing resolution or a shutdown.
“Well, we don’t know what it’s going to be until then — we really don’t,” Bachmann said. “And here’s my thing, that I'm concerned about, is all of the funding for Obamacare. I think the American people deserve that money back — that’s what I want to see as a part of any budget resolution and as a part of a debt ceiling.
“Remember, there’s another, bigger vote coming around the corner, and that’s the fact that Congress is spending so darn much money, now we have to raise the debt ceiling so Congress can keep spending,” she added. “That’s a very dicey vote, and I think that we need to change the arc of history and get all that spending from Obamacare back.”
Van Susteren asked whether Bachmann would vote for a budget that does not defund President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare law.
“I will not — I will not because I’m going to fight on this issue because the American people want us to,” Bachmann said. “Sixty-two percent of the American people, Greta — more than at any other time since Obamacare passed — want us to get rid of this bill.
“They expect us to fight, and that’s what I'm going to do.”
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