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COLFAX, Iowa — Rep. Michele Bachmann said Sunday that even though she will oppose any increase to the debt ceiling, she does not believe the alternative is defaulting on the nation’s financial obligations.
The Minnesota Republican accused President Barack Obama of being disingenuous about the default issue, saying she believes he can use administrative maneuvers to pay down the interest on the national debt.
“We don’t need to default. There’s absolutely no reason to default,” Bachmann told Roll Call and the Des Moines Register during a brief interview on her presidential campaign bus just after greeting voters at the Jasper County Fairgrounds.
“The president can very easily direct the Treasury secretary to pay the interest on the debt first. We have that, those revenues,” she said. “We need to tell Wall Street, we need to tell Main Street, we need to not scare the American people.”
She touted a measure from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that would take the possibility of default “off the table” and keep the military funded, saying it would be “beyond foolish” to “risk the full faith and credit of the United States.”
“We’ve never done it before, we’re not going to start now,” she said. “The president won’t start it, he’s just using it as a political equation.”
Voters have told her they “are not persuaded by some of the compromises that are being proposed out of Washington, D.C.,” Bachmann added.
“It really is about listening to what people want because we rule by the consent of the governed,” she said. “I have been there long enough in Washington to have seen quite a few smoke-and-mirror deals. I’m a ‘no’ vote, and I believe it’s important to let people know where I’m coming from.”
As she attempts to win over voters for February’s caucuses, Bachmann has used her opposition to increasing the debt ceiling as a major campaign platform. She is running a television ad here highlighting that she has never voted to raise the debt limit.
Bachmann said she disagrees with a recent comment from Obama that “80 percent” of people want higher taxes.
“I haven’t met anybody who has come up to me and said, ‘Raise my taxes.’ Everybody has said just the opposite,” she said. “Everybody has said, ‘Cut spending, and whatever you do, don’t raise the debt ceiling.’ That’s what people are saying in Iowa.”
Obama told reporters Friday, “Eighty percent of the American people support an approach [to the federal budget] that includes revenues and includes cuts,” a statement that earned a “mostly true” from PolitiFact.
Bachmann spent the weekend in the Hawkeye State, asking GOP voters to meet her in Ames next month and support her in the crucial straw poll.
She said supporters across Iowa have urged her to stand firm against any deal, and she promised she will: “We’re calling this the Titanium Express because I’ve got a titanium spine.”