Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's trip to South Carolina included an overnight stay in the Governor's Mansion as she tries to woo endorsements from key Republicans to boost her standing in the Palmetto State.
I am so impressed with the governor you have put into that office, and Im extremely proud of her, Bachmann told a gathering Tuesday morning sponsored by the S.C. Christian Chamber of Commerce.
Gov. Nikki Haley, a rising star in the GOP, said she is not close to endorsing a candidate. She said she has invited all of the Republican candidates to stay at the Governor's Mansion, but Bachmann was the first to accept.
We sat down and we had a great conversation, Haley said, speaking to reporters after a meeting of her Cabinet. We talked about her kids. My kids came in and met her. Michael was there. We sat in the study, and we just talked for a couple of hours. We didnt talk politics.
The latest S.C. presidential primary poll, completed Sunday by the New Hampshire-based American Research Group, has Bachmann running third among GOP presidential hopefuls, favored by 13 percent of likely voters in the states first-in-the-South GOP primary. The winner of the S.C. primary has won the GOP nomination every year since 1980.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the front-runner at 25 percent, followed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at 16 percent. Palin, the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2008, has not announced if shes running. Fifteen percent were undecided.
Bachmanns S.C. support was up 8 percentage points from American Researchs April poll, the second-largest jump by any candidate, trailing Atlanta businessman Herman Cain. Bachmann likely benefited from Mike Huckabees decision not to run for president. The former Arkansas governor led all candidates in April in South Carolina with 20 percent.
Whats good about (Bachmann) is shes very principled, said Bob Barnwell, a former Huckabee supporter who attended Bachmanns speech Tuesday, adding that the Minnesotan is one of his top three candidates. Shes not afraid to get up there and call it like it is. ... A lot of Republicans are afraid to do that. Perhaps theyve been there too long.
Last month, North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling showed 27 percent of likely Republican primary voters favored Romney while 9 percent favored Bachmann.
Bachmann, a congresswoman and Tea Party favorite, began her S.C. trip Monday by signing the Cut, Cap and Balance pledge in Columbia. The move was seen by many as an attempt to woo the endorsement of influential U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of Greenville. DeMint, another Tea Party favorite, has said he will not support a candidate who does not sign the pledge, which seeks to cut federal spending, cap the budget and pass a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. Bachmann signed the pledge, but only after adding a line about repealing President Barack Obamas signature health-care law.
Tuesday, Bachmann spoke about helping the poor, education and taxes. She called for a new federal tax code that is very simple, very fair and very flat.
Some companies pay a lot of money in tax, while others dont. It just depends on where the breaks are, Bachmann said. I dont think the federal governments business is to choose winners and losers in the private sector. They shouldnt favor one industry over another. Industry should be able to stand on its own. Pay your fair share, just like individuals.
Bachmann also said she would work to repeal the No Child Left Behind Act, passed under Republican President George W. Bush, which requires states to test students to get federal money. I dont see in the Constitution that the federal government has a role to play in education in the states, she said.
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