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Bachmann slams Obama, but kid gloves for GOP competition

NEW ORLEANS – Michele Bachmann claimed here at the Republican Leadership Conference that President Obama secretly wants Medicare to go bankrupt, so it can be replaced with “ObamaCare.”

She claimed New Orleans had suffered similarly from Katrina as from President Obama. “You survived Katrina,” she said. “You survived President Obama’s oil moratorium. There is nothing you can’t survive.”

But don’t let the facts stand in the way. This crowd ate it up.

NBC's Domenico Montanaro reports from the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans where Rep. Michele Bachmann has been the star of the show.

As much as she attacked President Obama, she demurred when talking about the Republicans she competing against for the presidential nomination.

She said she learned during the New Hampshire debate that on the stage were “leaders,” all of whom would serve as a “contrast to the current administration.” They were all “people who could lead this country,” she said.

When asked by First Read in a brief news conference after her speech -- that lasted less than 10 minutes – why she would be a better president than Mitt Romney, the presumed front runner, and if it was a mistake for him not to be here, she deflected.

“Well, I think it’s obvious,” she said, “because I’m shorter.”

And that was about as direct as she would get on Romney or any other candidate. She said she believed she would do a “very good job” as president and that it was – vaguely -- “about leadership.”

NBC's Domenico Montanaro reports on the emerging split between Republican presidential candidates on abortion, which is likely to take center stage today when Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, speaks in New Orleans.