Michele Bachmann dismisses call to drop out

White House hopeful Michele Bachmann on Wednesday rejected a fellow social conservative's plea for her to drop out of the race to support another long-shot candidate, Rick Santorum.

Influential Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats called Bachmann on Saturday and asked her to quit the race. On Tuesday, Vander Plaats personally announced his support of Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, though his organization, The Family Leader, announced it would remain officially neutral in the race.

"My numbers have always been above Senator Santorum's, so it makes no sense for me to drop out," Bachmann said in an interview with CBS' "The Early Show."

In the latest CBS News poll released Tuesday, Bachmann received 4 percent support of likely Republican primary voters, compared to Santorum's 3 percent. Only former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman was behind them. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich led with about 20 percent each.

"We are not looking at the national polls we are looking here in Iowa and here in Iowa, the tide has turned and an electric light switch gone off and we have tremendous momentum here in Iowa," Bachmann said.

The Minnesota lawmaker said she is the only Republican candidate in the race who can defeat President Obama and stand up to him in a debate.

"I'm the only one that will be able to debate Barack Obama on the stage and defeat him and I think it's very important that we have a candidate that can go toe-to-toe with Barack Obama," she said.

Full CBS News coverage: Michele Bachmann

  • Corbett Daly On Twitter» Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.