James Novogrod / NBC News
Michele Bachmann signs a copy of her book, "Core of Conviction," at Barnes & Noble in Sioux City, Iowa.
By Jamie Novogrod, NBC News
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Michele Bachmann’s campaign kept up its criticisms of Newt Gingrich Sunday, hours after the former Speaker of the House won the support of the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper, a key endorsement in the country’s first in the nation primary state.
Speaking to reporters Sunday afternoon, Bachmann brushed aside questions about the development.
“There’s a lot of different endorsements that come from a lot of papers, and the main endorsement that I’m looking forward to is the one here in Iowa on January 3rd in the caucuses,” Bachmann said.
The remarks came during a visit to a Barnes & Noble store in Sioux City, where Bachmann signed copies of her new book, “Core of Conviction,” for about 75 supporters.
But Bachmann’s campaign staff took a harder line, telling NBC News that a sentence in the newspaper’s endorsement – “Newt Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate” – points to both a problem with Gingrich, and the logic for supporting him.
"We shouldn’t settle. More than any time, this is an election that we need to hold out for the ideal, like Michele,” campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart said.
A back and forth between the Bachmann and Gingrich teams has been going on since Tuesday’s CNN debate in Washington, where Gingrich seemed to call for a path to citizenship for longtime illegal residents of the United States.
“Here he is outlining an amnesty plan,” Stewart said Sunday of Gingrich.
GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich snagged an impressive endorsement from the N.H. Union Leader, but does the paper's support guarantee anything? NBC's Kristen Welker reports.
“Now that people are holding his feet to the fire, he’s calling them liars and saying they don’t understand the issue.”
Gingrich rejects the charge that he would offer “amnesty,” and insisted this weekend during his own book tour in Florida that illegal aliens should leave the country and apply for citizenship.
The spokesman for Gingrich’s campaign told NBC News Saturday that Bachmann “can’t get her facts straight” or is “intentionally lying” about Gingrich’s position.
A three-day book tour for “Core of Conviction” wrapped Sunday at a Holiday Inn here in Council Bluffs, where a crowd of about 60 people visited to have their copies of the book signed.
Bachmann told reporters that the book “is coming out at exactly the right time to reach the people of Iowa.”
The Iowa caucus, held January 3rd, is a little more than five weeks away. The New Hampshire primary will be held seven days later, on January 10th.
Bachmann chatted at length with supporters at the event, and insisted an older woman using a walker cut to the front of the line.
“You’re such a dear,” Bachmann said to the woman. “Thank you so much for coming by.”