A defection, allegations and a floundering end to Bachmann’s chal
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann went on offence today after the defection of her Iowa chairman, Kent Sorenson, to endorse Texas Congressman Ron Paul on Wednesday night.
Bachmann pressed her allegations that the former head of her Iowa presidential bid was bribed by the campaign of rival Ron Paul to endorse him, even as one of her own aides denied the charge. “He told me that he was offered money, he was offered a lot of money by the Ron Paul campaign.”
Bachmann’s political director released a statement saying, “I won’t say much about the situation or the conflicting statements beyond this; I can say unequivocally that Kent Sorenson’s decision was, in no way financially motivated.
“His decision had more to do with the fact that the Ron Paul supporters have been something of a family to him since he was first elected in 2008 and here in the end, as it becomes more and more apparent that the caucus cycle is coming to an end, Kent believed that he needed to be with them as they stand on the cusp of a potential caucus upset.
“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,” said Mr. Enos.”
Bachmann also targeted Paul for criticism on other fronts, including the Texas congressman’s calls to withdraw U.S. troops from overseas commitments and to legalize drugs as a way to better regulate their sale and reduce profits to violent drug cartels.
She termed Paul’s foreign policy “dangerous,” and said he is “willing to legalize drugs in the United States, including heroin and cocaine.”
Bachmann denied that her campaign is struggling in Iowa, where she has placed her greatest emphasis. She also said she would finish he quest to visit all of the state’s 99 counties today.
Sorenson, who was a Bachmann Iowa co-chairman before he resigned Wednesday and endorsed Paul, accused Bachmann of fabricating a story about a conversation they had before he bolted. Asked if he was offered money to leave Bachmann, he said, "absolutely not." Rather, Sorenson cited past political support he received from Paul's people and said he jumped over to Paul to help him beat Mitt Romney at a critical time in the race.
"I gave (Bachmann) 110 percent. I believe we're at a time where Michele is not going to win Iowa," he said. "I decided that it was time to come to his aid and help put him over the top."
Sorsenson said it's "unfortunate" that Bachmann is making these claims, but said: "I did not accept any money from the Ron Paul campaign."
Sorenson's former campaign manager Susan Geddes vouched for Bachmann's assertion that money was behind the move. Geddes said on Fox News that Sorenson told her as early as March that Paul was offering him money to join the team.
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.”
The Hawkeye state's 3 January gathering marks the start of the six-month period during which each US state will hold primary elections or caucuses to pick a Republican candidate, who will be officially nominated at the party convention in August.
Bachmann has put in a determined performance winning the Iowa Straw Poll early in her campaign however, with the larger financially backed campaigns asserting themselves over the course of the run in to Iowa and a down sizing of her campaign in other locations she is fighting a rearguard action with little or no hope of winning the Iowa campaign.
It is difficult to envision Bachmann staying in the race beyond Iowa or New Hampshire. A lack of finance is likely to force her out of the race sooner rather then later.