Michele Bachmann told Florida voters this weekend that last week’s East Coast earthquake and Hurricane Irene were political messages from God.
She hailed the tea party as being common-sense Americans who understand government shouldn’t spend more than it takes in, know they’re taxed enough already and want government to abide by the Constitution.
“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians,” she said. “We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”
A 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook much of the eastern seaboard — including Washington D.C. — last Tuesday, and Hurricane Irene swept from North Carolina to New England this weekend.
Bachmann spoke to more than thousand people during her Florida stop, but according to the St. Petersburg Times, many people wanted to know about one of her chief 2012 rivals, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Plenty of people in the crowd said they were interested to learn more about Perry, but Bradenton retiree Philip Staples said he’s already sold on Bachmann. “She’s got the fire in the belly, and she’s a straight shooter. She’s one of the common people,” he said.
Asked in an interview to spell out the chief difference between her and Perry, Bachmann pointed to her record leading the charge against most of President Barack Obama’s agenda and willingness to buck her own party.
“The difference, I think, is that I’ve been in Washington over four years actively fighting against all of the measures that people want gone. If people are looking for someone with a proven track record to trust with the highest office of the land, someone who means what they say and says what they mean, I do that. People who see in me someone who’s genuine and authentic and also someone whose a champion, a champion for the principles,” she said. “We can’t just have a manager in that seat.”
Update, 1:55: The Bachmann campaign insists that the natural disaster comment was just a joke.
“Obviously she was saying it in jest,” a campaign spokeswoman told Talking Points Memo.
CNN has the video of the statement, and it shows the crowd laughing along with Bachmann:
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org