MPR’s new Washington correspondent Brett Neely started this week. This is his first post on Capitol View:
Listen to Bachmann’s speech here:
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., served up a breakfast of conservative raw meat in the opening address before the 38th Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. this morning.
Saying that she starts every day with a vow to overturn President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, Bachmann roused the sleepy audience to their feet multiple times at the annual gathering of conservative activists.
“We need to win the triple crown of 2012, holding onto the House of Representatives, winning the Senate and, oh yeah baby, winning the White House as well,” Bachmann told a cheering crowd of several thousand people.
The Republican congresswoman said the nation’s 9 percent unemployment rate would only be brought down by the enactment of conservative policy positions such as a dramatic reduction of federal spending, lower taxes, the repeal of last year’s healthcare law and the elimination of regulations on energy production – which she said would turn the United States into the “Saudi Arabia of energy production.”
Bachmann, who hasn’t ruled out a presidential run next year, gave a shout out to the key primary state of New Hampshire, saying that Americans should heed the Granite State’s motto, “Live Free or Die.”
The crowds in the Wardman Marriott’s massive ballroom began to thin once Bachmann left the stage. She was followed by fellow Midwesterner freshman Sen. Ron Johnson , R-WI, who joined Bachmann in denouncing the President’s healthcare plan.
Outside of the ballroom, at least one conference attendee was impressed with Bachmann’s speech (Listen here: )
“I thought she did a pretty good job,” said Steve Emmert of Chantilly, Virginia. “She got people to wake up and got them charged up.”
Emmert, who works on federal policy issues for a Virginia-based company, said he’d like to hear more from Bachmann, adding that, “I think she is viable, perhaps more viable than many other potential [presidential] candidates [in 2012].”
Bachmann’s relative newness to the political scene was an advantage, said Emmert, because many of the other candidates were tainted by past positions and from being inside Washington’s culture for too long.
As for fellow Minnesotan, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Emmert said, “All I can tell you is that he was governor of Minnesota.”
Emmert said Pawlenty needed to raise his national exposure, a chance the former governor will get tomorrow when it’s his turn to address CPAC.
Later today, attention will shift back to Bachmann, who’s hosting an open bar event for all 11,000 CPAC attendees so they can “party hardy.”
But lest anyone think the fiscal conservative had gone overboard, Bachmann joked her offer meant a one-drink limit, especially for the throngs of college students in the crowd.