Bachmann Jabs at rivals, ducks Cain controversy

Republican presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks during the Iowa Republican Party's Ronald Reagan Dinner, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Michele Bachmann, Iowa
Michele Bachmann, Iowa

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann on Tuesday took some jabs at her rivals for the GOP nomination on policy issues, but steered clear of the sex scandal that threatens Herman Cain's candidacy.

"You won't find me on a YouTube clip saying that I support the individual mandate on health care," she said, in a reference to the health care plan that front-runner Mitt Romney signed into law while governor of Massachusetts.

She also hit businessman Herman Cain - not on the charges of inappropriate words and behavior from four women, but on the candidate's abortion rights flip flop. Cain has said alternatively he supports exceptions to a total ban on abortion and that he opposes exceptions.

"You won't find me on a YouTube clip saying that I'm personally opposed to abortion but I don't think government should get involved," said Bachmann.

Bachmann was among the eight GOP presidential candidates to give interviews to ABC News and Yahoo today.

On foreign policy, Bachmann was asked whether as president she would authorize a pre-emptive strike against Iran for developing a nuclear program. She said, "No one can say for sure what they'd do without having all facts on table. As president of the United States, I will stand with Israel ... I also will put every military option that we have on the table to deal with an Iran that seeks a nuclear weapon."

Bachmann returned to the issue of the sour economy repeatedly, focusing in particular on the difficulties single mothers face. "I talk to mothers across United States," she said, stressing her experience as a mother five and a foster mother to 23 children. "They don't see that their kids are going to have jobs, be able to buy a house."

She was asked pointedly about the Cain controversy, a day after the first woman came forward to publicly to charge the former restaurant executive with aggressively propositioning her in a car in 1997 in return for a job. Cain at the time headed the National Restaurant Association.

"I don't have any information on these allegations whatsoever," the Minnesota Republican House member said. "I have absolutely nothing to contribute to that discussion."

In one of the more light-hearted moments - the lightning round - Bachmann continued to push her image as the candidate for the "every-mom." Asked which actress she would want to play her in a movie, she said, "Well it'd have to be a mom. Probably Patricia Heaton. She was on "Everybody Loves Raymond."...I like her, I think she's great."

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    Sarah Huisenga is covering the Mitt Romney campaign for CBS News and National Journal.