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Michele Bachmann Sizes Up Her 2012 Competition

Ahead of the official start of her presidential campaign Monday, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann spoke to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. A new poll from Iowa’s Des Moines Register shows Bachmann is now a frontrunner in the race. The survey indicates that she is second to Mitt Romney amongst likely Republican caucus-goers. Of the results, Bachmann says, “Since the debate, people have paid attention and they’ve recognized that I am very serious about what I want to do because the country’s on the wrong track. And, my goal is to turn the economy around and have jobs created.”

Chris Wallace asked Bachmann about a story in the Los Angeles Times that claims she's gone after federal and

state money for personal and professional reasons in the past. The article claims that a counseling clinic run by Bachmann’s husband received almost $30,000 in state federal funds and a farm, in which Bachmann is a partner, received almost $260,000 in federal subsidies. And over the years, she sought more than $60 million in state earmarks and more than $3.7 million in federal earmarks.

Bachmann responded saying, “Well, let's go through them. First of all, the money that went to the clinic was actually training money for employees. The clinic did not get the money. And my husband and I did not get the money either. That's mental health training money that went to employees. Number two, regarding the farm, the farm is my father-in-law's farm. It's not my husband’s and my farm. It's my father-in-law's farm and my husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm. Regarding the earmarks, I believe the right place to build projects is in the states and the states have to build roads and bridges. And, I don't apologize for building roads and bridges.”

Bachmann discussed the need to repeal Obamacare, saying, “What I want to do is to make sure that we fully repeal Obamacare. This will be one of the largest spending initiatives we will ever see in our country. And also, it will take away choice from the American people. It will hurt senior citizens, because Obama took away $500 billion, as you say, from Medicare and will transfer it to younger people in Obamacare. Even worse, the Congressional Budget Office is saying we will lose 800,000 jobs with Obamacare. When we're in a situation now where we have massive job loss, this is not what we want to do with Obamacare.”

When asked how she feels about New York passing legislation that legalizes same-sex marriage, Bachmann says, "Well, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. And I also believe -- in Minnesota, for instance, this year, the legislature put on the ballot for people to vote in 2012, whether the people want to vote on the definition of marriage as one man, one woman. In New York state, they have a passed the law at the state legislative level. And under the 10th Amendment, the states have the right to set the laws that they want to set."

Bachmann also weighed in on her 2012 competition. In discussing Mitt Romney and his position on abortion, she says, "Governor Romney had a history of varying his position on this issue. I think, clearly, we need a candidate who is pro-life. That's reflective of our party. It's reflective of my position throughout my life."

Chris Wallace also asked Bachmann about Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, and his claims that he balanced the budget without raising taxes. Critics argue that he left a $5 billion deficit for the state. Bachmann says, "Well, under Minnesota state law, like many states, we are required to balance our budget. There is a deficit that is in Minnesota that the current legislature is grappling with. And, clearly, that has to do with obligations regarding spending. And that's why at the federal level, as president of the United States, very first and singular focus will be on turning the country around. We're on the wrong track. I want to turn the economy around. I'm a job creator. I'm a former federal tax lawyer."

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