By NBC's Jamie Novogrod
NEW YORK -- In attacks that seemed at once personal and political, Michele Bachmann sized up President Obama’s character during a series of press conferences Monday, telling reporters that the president “never has wanted to take personal responsibility.”
The attacks occurred as the deadline loomed – and then passed – on negotiations inside the congressional supercommittee on cuts to the federal budget, a process on which Bachmann said Obama had been “AWOL.”
“Why did he leave the United States on a nine-day trip when the most important decision needed to be made?” Bachmann asked, referring to a tour of Asian countries that concluded in last week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which the U.S. hosted in Honolulu. President Obama returned to Washington on Sunday – one day before the supercommittee’s deadline.
“The president never has wanted to take personal responsibility,” Bachmann added. “He’s the president of the United States. He has to stop blaming everyone else. Especially when he’s been AWOL on the issue.”
Bachmann’s remarks reflect a sharp mood that seemed to affect people on both sides of the failed negotiations. In an address Monday evening, Obama cast blame on congressional Republicans for refusing to accept tax increases as part of a deficit package.
“There are still too many Republicans in Congress who have refused to listen to voices of reason and compromise coming from outside Washington,” Obama said.
Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota, prides herself on being from “outside” Washington and other coastal cities. She was in New York Monday to mark the release of her memoir, “Core of Conviction,” embarking on appearances on NBC’s TODAY show, Glenn Beck’s television and radio programs, and NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
But one major appointment was unrelated to her book tour – a meeting with Donald Trump, her fourth to date.
Bachmann told reporters outside Trump’s offices in midtown Manhattan that she and Trump “had a marvelous time together,” adding that their conversation had focused on the threat to the American economy posed by an ascendant China.
It’s unclear whether conversation turned to a subject that Trump reportedly discussed with at least one other candidate – his skepticism about Obama’s birth certificate, which Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said came up during his own meeting with Trump.
Asked by NBC whether Obama’s birth certificate came up, Bachmann demurred.
“We talked primarily about the economy,” she said, adding, “and, we talked about the supercommittee.”