You know I have a big problem with Michele Bachmann making statements which are not supported by facts and then repeating them endlessly.
Her campaign is up to much worse in South Carolina, where her local campaign manager has suggested that the Gingrich campaign has paid off Tea Party leaders for support. Politico reported earlier this week:
Her S.C. spokesman Wesley Donohue made the accusation against Gingrich last month in an interview with the Columbia Free-Times:
Bachmann is trying to grow an organic base of supporters, and Newt Gingrich is trying to buy off tea party groups. … Newt Gingrich knows the only way he can get the tea party vote is to buy it.
When King asked Bachmann tonight to support or deny it, she deferred to Donohue but said she’s been “hearing” about these occurrences around the country:
Well, Wesley would have to speak to that himself with what evidence he has, but this is something that we’ve been hearing all across the country, that money is changing hands, and that’s not how I do business. In fact I’ve told people, I’ve told evangelicals, I’ve told tea partiers, I don’t pay people to come out and be my supporters, that’s not what I do. When we have tea party groups and all of the rest, I don’t do that because I’m just a real person.
Bachmann’s gotten in hot water before for making claims without backup, and it’s not clear whether there is more to this one.
A dozen South Carolina Tea Party leaders take a swipe at Bachmann in a statement today, making it clear they don’t like what they’re being accused of:
The South Carolina tea parties have a well-developed network and history of working together on statewide campaigns and legislative issues, and we are disappointed and angry that the Bachmann campaign is using this negative strategy in an attempt to divide us.
The full statement is printed at RedState.
Bachmann is trying to split the Tea Party vote in South Carolina, which had been coalescing around Newt, which will give rise to this headline which will have the Romney campaign popping champagne corks, again: Fractured S.C. Tea Party may be non-factor in GOP primary.
I have been warning you about Bachmann for months. Spreading rumors of payoffs directed at the Tea Party is just the latest confirmation.