(CNN) – The campaign veteran who has signed up to run Rep. Michele Bachmann’s expected bid for the Republican presidential nomination says the congresswoman from Minnesota would be a formidable candidate in the Iowa caucuses.
One day after longtime GOP strategist Ed Rollins confirmed to CNN that he would steer Bachmann’s campaign if she announces her candidacy, which is expected later this month, Rollins said Bachmann “has a tremendous opportunity to follow the pattern of Mike Huckabee, whose campaign I was involved in four years ago. She’ll be a very strong candidate in Iowa. She was born in Iowa. She was the first Republican woman to ever represent the neighboring state of Minnesota. She’s got a tremendous opportunity to go into the religious right, which is a strong constituency.”
Rollins, who made his comments on CNN’s “American Morning,” was the campaign manager for President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election landslide over former Vice President Walter Mondale. Rollins, a guest on numerous CNN programs over the years, is also more recently known for running former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.
Rollins told CNN on Monday that “we’ll try and duplicate what Huckabee did in Iowa. It’s a good act to follow.”
Rollins also says that Bachmann won’t have a problem when it comes to fundraising, adding that “she’s got a gigantic list” of supporters and contributors.
Asked about Bachmann’s past controversial comments, Rollins said the congresswoman would “have a good team around her and we’ll basically make sure that everything is 100 percent fact checked.”
From Mother Jones:
Fact-checking is all the rage these days; even Cosmopolitan is doing it! But it’s also tedious and time-intensive; to give you a sense, it took me three weeks to nail down all of the details in this article about imported insects that eat invasive plants. If Rollins really wants to 100-percent fact-check everything his candidate says before she says it, that’s fantastic. It would probably be a first in American political history—and given Bachmann’s record, a Herculean task.
It’s also unclear just which comments Rollins intends to fact-check. CNN’s link to “past controversial comments,” for instance, actually directs you to a Bachmann gaffe in which she says the American Revolution began in New Hampshire. That’s wrong, but it’s not “controversial.” Controversial would be saying something like “almost all, if not all, individuals who have gone into the [gay] lifestyle have been abused at one time in their life, either by a male or by a female”—which Bachmann did say, in 2004, in the same speech in which she expressed the hope that a breast-cancer-stricken Melissa Etheridge would take advantage of her illness to quit being a lesbian.
And then there’s the sheer scope of Bachmann’s factually challenged statements, which, even in the political world, are in a category of their own. Bill Adair, editor of PolitiFact, recently told Minnesota Public Radio that “we have checked her 13 times, and [found] seven of her claims to be false and six have been found to be ridiculously false.” That’s a pretty bad record, and according to Adair, Bachmann remains the only high-profile conservative politician to never have a statement ruled “true” by the outfit.
Bachmann could stop serving up apocalyptic, overheated rhetoric to socially conservative audiences. But as Rollins knows, that’s no way to win in Iowa.