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Michele Bachmann defends credentials to be US president

Her chief GOP competitors – Mitt Romney and Rick Perry – have executive experience as governors. Michele Bachmann, coming off her win in the Iowa straw poll Saturday, says 'principles' and fighting for them are what matter.

By Cheryl SullivanStaff writer / August 14, 2011

Michele Bachmann appears on CBS's 'Face the Nation' in Ames, Iowa, Sunday. Bachmann appeared on all the Sunday morning news programs as she worked to broaden her appeal and challenge rivals more linked to the establishment.

David Peterson/CBS News/AP

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Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, appearing Sunday on all five major news shows fresh off a victory in the Iowa GOP straw poll, repeatedly characterized herself as a “fighter” and defender of antitax and small-government principles in Washington.

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Her self-portrayal is meant to counter suggestions that she has a slight record of accomplishment after 4-1/2 years as a US House member. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who dropped out of the GOP presidential race Sunday, had suggested as much leading up to the straw poll, emphasizing his own experience as a chief executive – a credential shared by candidates Rick Perry, governor of Texas, and Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, who are both very prominently still in the hunt.

Congresswoman Bachmann cited her position at “the tip of the spear” in conservatives’ fight against raising the national debt ceiling, President Obama’s health-care reform law, and legislation to regulate the banking industry in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Though all were losing battles for her and her tea party allies, Bachmann said her determination to “fight the fights” and to stick with her principles are what qualify her to be president – not whether she has ever served as a governor.

Ronald Reagan was a governor. But what made Ronald Reagan great wasn’t his governing experience as a governor. It was his core set of principles,” Bachmann said on ABC News’ “This Week.” “Jimmy Carter was also a governor. But I don’t think anyone would argue that America prospered and flourished under Jimmy Carter’s presidency. … It’s really, who is the person and what is their character?”

Bachmann also made clear that she will push for immediate changes to federal entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare in order to curtail government spending. During this summer’s Washington debate over raising the national debt ceiling, she was adamant that Congress should not do it.

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