Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday morning, Rep. Michele Bachmann said she is “seriously looking into” endorsing presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The remarks are the closest the former GOP presidential candidate and Minnesota congresswoman has come to making an endorsement since dropping out of the race on Jan. 4.
Citing the decision by Romney’s chief rival – former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum – to suspend his campaign last Tuesday, Bachmann said there is a “uniting and pulling together around our eventual nominee.”
“I have said that I want my voice to be one of uniting our party, the independents, the main stream, the conservatives, evangelicals, the tea party movement,” Bachmann continued, adding, “I’m waiting for our party to come together and help in that process.”
Bachmann’s ecumenical view was not as pronounced during her own run for the GOP nomination, which was marked by frequent shots at Romney over the health care program he launched in Massachusetts in 2006.
Sunday morning, jousting with New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Bachmann called Romney “smart” on job creation.
“Mitt Romney also understands how to turn around companies," she said. "The United States government needs to have a turnaround person who knows how to be successful."
Underlying the back-and-forth was the controversy that stoked hours of cable news coverage this week, when a Democratic strategist suggested that Romney’s wife, Ann, was unqualified to advise her husband on the economic struggles facing women because she had “never worked a day in her life.”
Bachmann called the remarks by the strategist, Hilary Rosen, “shocking and insulting.”
“When 92-percent of the people under Barack Obama’s failed economic policies are women who’ve lost jobs, that’s an unbelievably shocking number,” Bachmann added, reviving a statistic Romney himself used last week, which prompted a slew of fact check pieces.
(The statistic also came under fire minutes earlier on the broadcast, during an interview with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who called it “ridiculous and deeply misleading.”)
Facts, figures, and controversies aside, the exchange this morning seemed to underscore the degree to which both Republicans and Democrats view women’s votes as crucial in the upcoming general election.
“This election is not going to be about Ann Romney or Hillary’s remarks,” Gillibrand said. “What this election is going to be about is which candidate fights for America’s women.”
Bachmann didn't immediately respond but when she did, she said, "One thing that women are saying is that Mitt Romney is an extremely smart guy. He's been successful in creating jobs in the private economy, and that's something that Barack Obama has not been able to do."