When her campaign was doing well this summer, Michele Bachmann rubbed colleagues the wrong way, but now that her support has cratered, she's starting to speak a little more softly and admit mistakes. Back in the heady days of summer, House Republicans accused her of "show boating" and stirring division in their ranks. But now Bachmann has told The New York Times' Trip Gabriel that she acts "professionally and respectful of former employees" and it's "disappointing" when former staffers don't return the favor -- a reference to ex-campaign manager Ed Rollins, who's been bashing her on TV. When Gabriel suggested Rollins had a history of doing that to his former clients, Bachmann, with a "tight smile," said, "I guess I should have done that Google search."
Her ex-chief of staff, Ron Carey, told Gabriel, "Her mindset is there's Michele's way, and there's the wrong way." But look how she acted during her tele-town hall with Donald Trump Monday night. Bachmann showed "deference" to the former fake presidential candidate, the Los Angeles Times' Seema Mehta reports, calling him "Mr. Trump" as he called her "Michele." She let him answer a questions about a Trump-Bachmann presidential ticket. ("I don't think that’s what we here for tonight," Trump said.) She let Trump insult her implicitly, like when he said, "I was No. 1 in the polls when I left the race. I was so disappointed in the mistakes that the Republican Party was making." Bachmann was readying a presidential campaign back when Trump topped the polls.
At last week's Republican debate, Bachmann had some good lines, like when she said of Herman Cain's proposed changes to the tax code, "When you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil's in the details." But she said it quietly, and more controlled than in past debates -- compared to, say, when she announced she was running for president in her first debate by yelling her slogan that she'd "make Barack Obama a one-term president!" But the change in tone might be too late to convince voters she's a more serious candidate than the one who implied vaccines cause mental retardation. The last debate was her "last stand," the Washington Post wrote; Rollins says she's toast. In June, Gallup found Bachmann had one of the highest "positive intensity" scores -- how many people really, really like her minus how many really don't -- of all the Republican candidates. But less than four months later, she has one of the lowest.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.