Rep. Michele Bachmann, contending that Americans are shouting to get the attention of politicians, also suggested during a Florida appearance that God might be trying to send a message as well.
"I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians,” the Republican congresswoman told a crowd of 1,700 gathered in Sarasota Sunday to hear her talk about her presidential bid. “We've had an earthquake. We've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?' Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending."
The remark sparked an outcry, and Bachmann's campaign issued a statement today saying she was joking.
Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart told Talking Points Memo: "Obviously she was saying it in jest."
Print media outlets generally took it seriously, however, although a CNN report played it as a joke.
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Although Bachmann is skipping the Florida GOP’s “Presidency 5” straw poll, the Iowa Straw Poll winner said her first campaign foray into Florida with a four-day tour reflects her high hopes for the Sunshine State, according to the St. Petersburg Times
"Remember, our campaign just began in the end of June," she said. "To be this young of a campaign and to have won the Iowa straw poll was just an amazing achievement. We've already put quite a few stakes in the ground in New Hampshire, and seeing some strong support there. The same in South Carolina, and now we've started on Florida."
The Founder of the House Tea Party Caucus explained that she could not devote the resources and time to the Florida straw poll, but she told the Times during an interview Sunday night that she intends to carry the state nonetheless.
"I intend to win Florida, and win it twice — once in the primary and once in the general election," Bachmann told the Times. "We're extremely serious about winning Florida, and we believe that we can. We intend to go voter by voter, city by city, county by county to get our message out, and it's already resonating."
Even as she touted the tea party and courted Florida support, however, the Times reported that a grass-roots organization is forming to back the candidacy of Republican Gov. Rick Perry. At least 50 party activists met in Tampa Saturday to start the organization.
"I spoke to Rick Perry Thursday night," Wes Maddox, a GOP activist in Tampa who attended Texas A&M with Perry, told the Times. "He said, 'You tell them [in Florida] help is on the way.' That's what the governor's message is — help is on the way."
Perry is expected to make his first Florida campaign stop in Tampa Bay on Sept. 13.
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