Bachmann at CPAC: Running for president was "educational"

Former presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Michele Bachmann
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
WASHINGTON -- Former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann reminisced about her six month presidential campaign run on Thursday at Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual conservative conference known as CPAC. She said running for president entails a "series of humiliations."

Bachmann told the ballroom full of conservative activists in Washington that it was an "educational" experience, too.

Making fun of her gaffes, Bachmann said she learned John Wayne's birth place, Elvis Presley's birthday and not to forget the things you learned on the campaign trail.

Bachmann was referring to a statement in Waterloo, Iowa, where she said John Wayne also had roots there. However, the famous John Wayne with Waterloo roots was serial killer John Wayne Gacy. She also mistakenly gave a shout out to Elvis on what she thought was his birthday on August 16, but it was actually the anniversary of his death. Her last learning experience she referenced was taught to her by Texas governor Rick Perry -- who forgot at a national debate the three federal departments he would cut.

The crowd chuckled at her opening remarks, but became more animated when her speech turned serious.

The Minnesota congresswoman focused the rest of her CPAC speech attacking President Obama's foreign policy, specifically his handling of Iran and Israel.

Bachmann said Mr. Obama's foreign policy has "made a mess" of the Middle East because he is turning his back on Israel and is responsible for Iran's progress toward nuclear weapons, a sentiment she has repeated often on the national stage.

Bachmann compared the president's foreign policy record to Jimmy Carter's. "His errors in Iran have led to the modern day jihad," Bachmann said.

Bachmann said the president has further enabled Iran's Islamic aggression, and she called it the "epicenter of global jihad."

"Obama's foreign policy miscalculations are changing history, as we are on the verge of a nuclear Iran," she said.

Tensions are on the rise between Iran and the west with reports of Iran being closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon. The United States responded Sunday with the strongest sanctions yet.

Bachmann didn't contain her criticism of Mr. Obama to Iran -- she had harsh words for his policies toward Israel.

"In a bad case of misplaced priorities, Israel building apartment buildings on its own land is worse than a nuclear Iran," Bachmann said.

Bachmann's hawkish speech was tailor made for a hawkish audience, and it was also filled with religious undertones.

"Before Obama was elected, no one has ever heard a U.S. president say to the world that the United States is not a Judeo-Christian nation," Bachmann said. "I am here to say we are."

She said, "We have to stand and fight for our beliefs... We owe it to our God to keep our republic free."

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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