WASHINGTON – Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann showed off her "titanium" backbone in a National Press Club address Thursday, blasting the president for taking the country's trillion-dollar debt lightly and challenging him to take the lead in coming up with a real solution.
Waving what she said was a letter dated January 6th from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Bachman said the president had seven months' notice that America's debt was close to reaching its limit, but did nothing. The president's inaction, she said, is indicative of a reckless attitude that has long been given to the nation's mounting bills.
"Sadly, we haven't reformed the bankrupt tax-and-spend policies that we decried [through] Ronald Reagan some decades ago," she noted. "We have ... merely replaced them with a new and insidious scheme called borrow-and-spend."
Earlier this week, Obama acknowledged that for the last decade, the U.S. has “spent more money than we take in” and said he is ready to embrace an approach that cuts waste and helps the country "live within our means."
At the same time, the president continued to push Congress to pass a bill to lift the debt ceiling and extend the country's credit so that the government could "pay all of [its] bills."
Bachmann criticized the notion that the country had only racked up – as Obama alluded to Monday – "a little credit card debt" and could continue to pay its debts with more borrowed credit.
"Well, $14.3 trillion – which is where we sit today – is not 'a little credit card debt.' Adding $2.7 trillion to get the president through the next election for a grand total of $17 trillion in debt is not ... ‘a little credit card debt,'" she stated.
Bachmann noted that nearly six years ago, the nation's debt was $8.67 trillion. If the president is allowed to raise the debt ceiling, she calculated, it would nearly double that amount.
"It took us 219 years to get to the first ... $7 trillion in debt and only five years to almost double that amount," she summed.
In his Monday speech, Obama said failing to raise the nation's debt ceiling would mean that "for the first time in history, our country's triple-A rating would be downgraded."
However, Bachmann said crediting agencies such as Moody's are threatening to lower America's credit rating not because America has not lifted the debt ceiling, but because the president is not serious about decreasing the nation's debt.
"The lack of a clear plan from our president to eventually reduce our debt is what is scaring the markets and scaring the credit raters," she explained.
Bachmann also called Obama out on the fact that he yet has to introduce his plan to cut the national debt.
"He's kicked the can to the vice president, he's kicked the can to the Congress, and he's failed to lead on this issue of grappling with spending and debt and the economy."
She noted that House Speaker John Boehner has introduced two plans to cut, cap and balance the nation's spending. While she admits she does not agree with the plans, Bachmann praised him for showing leadership and told the president he should follow Boehner's example.
Apparently, Republicans are not the only ones calling on Obama to lead.
Democrat Ted Strickland has also taken Obama to task for "[allowing] the center of the political debate to [be] shifted so far … right that we find ourselves debating on their territory and using Republican language."
The Minnesota congresswoman said she is ready to lead.
Bachmann told reporters that she has introduced into the House a bill that would get America on the path to paying off the national debt by first paying the interest.
"That is an amount that we can pay from our current revenues," she proclaimed.
Bachmann's bill, the Promises Act, would not seek to raise the debt limit.
The debt limit, she said, is a floating timeline that Geithner first said would be reached sometime between March and May of this year. Now the debt limit deadline is set for August 2. In the future, the deadline may be pushed to Aug. 13.
Anshul Pradhan, an analyst at Barclays Capital, says the Treasury has enough cash on hand to make $22 billion of Social Security payments on Aug. 3, as well as pay other bills until Aug. 10.
Bachmann said it is a "flawed" assumption to believe that the debt limit must be raised in order for America to thrive.
She steadfastly promised she would not vote for any bills that would raise the debt ceiling, but rather urged for the White House to craft legislation that would lower the nation's debt.
“Make no mistake … what will in fact happen is that there will be no reform … of spending; if there is anything that we have to have in Washington it’s a reform of spending.”
A recent Gallup poll shows that Bachmann is supported by 18 percent of Republican voters and right-leaning Independents, putting her second to frontrunner Mitt Romney. Her positive intensity score (18) matches also Romney's and undeclared candidate Sarah Palin's score.
During her press club speech, she evaded a question about her husband’s Christian counseling business and its alleged practice of reparative therapy. “I’m extremely proud of my husband … but I am running for the presidency of the United States; my husband is not running for the presidency,” she said.
Touching on her faith, Bachmann also said she doesn’t find it difficult to reconcile her faith with being a politician.
“I’m a Christian and I’m proud of my faith. I’m extremely grateful to God. As president of the United States, I will pray every day and ask the Lord to give me guidance as president and even more so, I want you to know that I will be praying for every one of you too every day.”