At CPAC, Michele Bachmann talks Obama, liberty and "greatness for America"

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Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann rallied the Conservative Political Action Conference crowd Friday, receiving several rounds of applause and a standing ovation at the end of her address about the failings thus far of the Obama administration, the pursuit of liberty and ensuring “greatness for America.”

Bachmann received audible boos from the audience when she said the massive economic bailouts have meant a sizable increase in federal takeover of private companies.

“Since the inception of “bailout nation” … the government has taken control of 30 percent of the private sector,” she said, adding that Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Majority leader Harry Reid plan to take over an additional 26 percent with health care and cap and trade legislation.

“So I guess the president meant it when he said, ‘We can’t drive SUVs, set our thermostats at 72 and eat as much as we want,’” Bachmann said. “I guess that’s true—unless you’re Al Gore.”

She then showed the crowd a projected graph detailing budgetary deficits under recent presidents.

“In a matter of months, (Obama) has taken us from $10 trillion to $14 trillion” in the national deficit, she said. “That’s a 40 percent level of increase in debt accumulation. … The only people with the power to change this very bad diagnosis are President Obama, speaker Pelosi and leader Reid. I wonder what the odds are in Vegas of that happening.”

Bachmann spent the better part of her speech extolling the virtues of God-given free will and recounting historical anecdotes about brave Americans.  

“God gave us rights. These are right that government can never give to us. And the beauty of that is that these are rights that government can never take away from us,” she said to applause. “There is only one reason government exists: to secure these rights.”

She told the story of the World War II military transport ship the USS Dorchester, which was sunk by a Nazi torpedo off the coast of Greenland in 1943. Four chaplains aboard the ship sacrificed their lives for the lives of their soldiers when they gave them their life preservers just before the torpedo hit.

To a standing ovation, Bachmann closed her speech by saying: “They chose greatness for us … That is the American story.”

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