Michele Bachmann roared back into the Iowa campaign last night loaded for bear and set her sights on Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. She lashed Gingrich the most harshly of all the candidates for collecting $1.6 million in "consulting fees" from Freddie Mac and "influence peddling" on behalf of the mortgage giant to his former congressional colleagues. Gingrich denied ever lobbying for Freddie Mac, and condescendingly spurned that attack and others by responding that Bachmann didn't have her facts right. Finally, Bachmann snapped: "I think it's just outrageous to say over and over that I don't have my facts right, when, as a matter of fact, I do. I am a serious candidate for the president of the United States."
A prickly Bachmann also zinged Ron Paul over his reluctance to go to war with Iran to stop that nation from developing nuclear weapons. Paul said the biggest risk to America was an "overreaction" to the perceived threat. "I think I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security" because "without a shadow of a doubt they will use it to wipe our ally Israel off the face of the map and they will use it against the US," Bachmann responded. Paul, taken aback by the vehemence in the Bachmann attack, asked: "Why do we have to bomb so many countries? Why do we have 900 bases in 130 countries and we’re totally bankrupt? I think this wild goal to have another war in the name of defense is the dangerous thing." Mitt Romney, by contrast, stayed cool, setting his sights on President Obama instead of taking on his GOP rivals, and Jon Huntsman, as usual, was a "study in understatement," notes the Washington Post.