A Bachmann Staff Exodus Was ‘Our Plan All Along’

In less than a month, Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign has lost its campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, top pollster, senior adviser, deputy press secretary, and scheduler. But Bachmann says the changes are not due to her reported trouble raising money, and that the four staffers’ departures in the last week was “This has been in line with our plan all along,” Des Moines Register‘s Jason Noble reports. She went on to explain that some of the departing staff were merely on loan from her Congressional office. “This was not a long-term commitment that I had asked for the (congressional) staff,” Bachmann said. “They were here on a relatively short commitment, and so they fulfilled what we asked.”

A short-term plan for the Bachmann candidacy is just what outside observers of the staff turnover fear. When campaign manager Ed Rollins quit last month, he said it was for health reasons, and he’d stay on as an adviser. But he started saying things on TV that weren’t great for Bachmann — like that she doesn’t have the resources to compete after Iowa. His deputy, David Polyansky, left over “strategic differences.” Minnesota Public Radio’s Mark Zdechlik reports that senior adviser Andy Parrish, who moved to Iowa last summer to help set up the campaign, is going back to work as Bachmann’s chief of staff in her congressional office. Press secretary Doug Sachtleben and scheduler Kimberley Rubin are also going back to Washington, D.C. Politico’s Maggie Haberman reported Friday that pollster Ed Goeas is leaving, and that the campaign didn’t respond to emails about his departure. Maybe that’s because they had to think of the explanation Keith Nahigian, the new campaign manager, gave to The New York Times‘ Trip Gabriel: there’s no point in polling in Iowa because it “doesn’t do any good.” Nahigian explained, “You have new technology now of identifying your voters. You can call them and go meet them. Knowing what everybody else is thinking doesn’t matter in Iowa.”

And yet, even as her campaign appears to struggle, Bachmann might not be ready to go back to boring old Congress. The Associated Press’ Brian Bakst reports that ‘among party operatives and past allies, there are increasing doubts that Bachmann will try to reclaim her seat — or would even want to go back to the House.” She doesn’t get along with Republican congressional leaders, none of her fellow Minnesotans in Congress have endorsed her, she hasn’t passed a lot of legislation. Bachmann might be eyeing something else: a TV gig. “Congress is too small for Michele,” said Jack Tomczak, a former Bachmann aide, told Bakst. “Leadership has never given her the opportunity to do much. So I think she’s going to be looking for other avenues where she can be more successful.” Maybe that’s been her plan “all along,” too.

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments or send an email to the author atereeve@theatlantic.com. You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.


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