Caucus 2012 voter's guide: Michele Bachmann


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Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said she's the most consistent conservative in the Iowa caucus race.

The Minnesota Republican has made a habit of taking shots at the Democratic president. On immigration, for instance, Bachmann has pledged her support for the construction of a double fence along the entire length of the U.S.-Mexican border, something the president opposes.

The congresswoman was the first GOP candidate to sign the Americans for Securing the Border pledge.

Bachmann's stances on immigration also include deporting undocumented illegal immigrants who are intercepted and requiring the federal government to pay for deportation costs.

"President Obama has failed the American people by failing to secure the southern border. I will secure that border, and that will be job 1," Bachmann said at an event in Perry, Iowa, in October.

One immigration expert said building a fence is possible, but having one along the entire U.S.-Mexican border isn't necessary.

"There are a series of barriers, but it's definitely feasible," said Steven Camarota, the director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies. "There are areas where you wouldn't need the fence where the topography is so deep, and the [Rio Grande] river is wide in some spots, so you probably wouldn't need it over the entire border."

Camarota said Democrats and libertarians don't typically support a fence being built because of its negative symbolism.

"A fence is stark," he said. "It creates a barrier between the two countries. Although a fence might be effective, it's stark."

When asked how the country would afford building a fence, Bachmann said at a forum earlier this month that undocumented immigration costs the United States more than $100 billion per year.

"The cost is absorbed by the states," she said, and each American household pays roughly $1,000 for all of the illegal immigrants in the United States. "It must not [get dumped on the states]. The [federal] government needs to deal with securing the border … It's not the states' role."

Another top priority of Bachmann's is repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama.

During a debate in Des Moines this past weekend, Bachmann criticized former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on their policies regarding health care. Both of them have at some point supported government requirements for citizens to buy insurance.

" 'Newt Romney' is for Obamacare," she said. "I've taken on Obama. He knows me … I won't rest until we repeal Obamacare."

According to the most recent poll conducted by the Des Moines Register, Bachmann is a favorite among 8 percent of Republican caucus-goers. Bachmann tied with businessman Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign this month.

Despite seeing a decrease in support since winning the Ames Straw Poll in August, Bachmann's camp is optimistic about the caucuses.

"The caucuses will help her out," said Eric Woolson, Bachmann's Iowa campaign manager. "The caucuses are about building an organization that believes in the candidate and that is committed to turning out. Whatever the conditions may be, that's something the Bachmann campaign has worked on."

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