The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Bachmann snubs Grinnell College students

Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann suddenly cancelled a speech at Carroll’s Pumpkin Farm in Grinnell, IA last Tuesday to avoid a crowd of about 60 students from Grinnell College.

The students were allowed in to the barn set up for Bachmann’s speech, but fearing a violent protest, her campaign instead invited donors to meet the candidate individually in the Carroll’s house adjacent to the barn. Campaign workers called in local police to control the crowd of students and to prevent them from entering the Pumpkin Farm while Bachmann took a private tour with media representatives.

Dane Haiken ’12 was surprised at Bachmann’s reaction to the presence of students.

“I did bring a sign but I didn’t plan on heckling her,” Haiken said. “She would come in and I would hold up the sign she would keep talking, as any politician would.”

Haiken’s sign—pictured on right—made fun of an earlier misstatement by Bachmann, confusing the hometowns of movie star John Wayne and serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

The students did not come as an organized group. Some held protest signs, but many just came to hear Bachmann speak. The S&B knows of no plans to disrupt her speech.

“Grinnell is known for being a very liberal, politically active campus, but … we’re peaceful,” said Jillian Johnson ’15. “I don’t understand what she was scared of.”

Bachmann told reporters that it was never intended as a public event and was only for donors to right-wing religious group The Family Leader.

However, some students gave token donations to The Family Leader and were not allowed to meet Bachmann. The event was publically advertised as a campaign stop by Bachmann and by the Des Moines Register and Politico.

Iowa and national media are covering the story, including the New York Times, the Des Moines Register and CBS news. The Huffington Post also reposted an S&B video report.

Bachmann has rarely made national news lately—the NYT political new blog “The Caucus” has focused on Romney and the non-candidacies of New Jersey Governor Chris Christy and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Since her rise into top-tier status in polls last month, her popularity has evaporated to a meager 4% in the most recent CBS national poll of likely Republican voters.

Like many students, Haiken came just to meet the famous face of the Tea Party movement.

“Everyone knows she’s a joke at this point and she won’t get back in the race,” Haiken said. “[My sign] was just making fun of her. It’s just silly, which reflects her campaign at this point.”

View Comments (5)
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (5)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • S

    Stephanie NordstromOct 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Is anyone else having flashbacks to Hillary’s planted questions? Interesting that neither Democrats nor Republicans trust super-scary-liberal-radical Grinnellians to play nice. I really wonder what they’ve heard about Grinnell that makes some politicians so squeamish.

    Also, way to go Mando for having a video on HuffPost!

  • J

    janek51Oct 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    So you can just call in the police to cordon off people? Great! Going to try that with my neighbors.

  • J

    Jay FrankOct 5, 2011 at 11:07 am

    And we’re surprised…why? Bachmann is a non-person-candidate, a series of sounds and images that are great, almost late-90’s quote equipped action figure like–the same thing that conservatives slammed Obama for the last time around. Her tenders know that one video of her responding to the candidates would leak and “go viral” a whole lot harder than this non-issue-video, where a ambiguous mob can shoulder the blame.

    Would’ve loved to see someone like Huntsman address the crowd, the sort of candidate who shouldn’t even really exist anymore because, hey, he’s not going to win, but should exist because, hey, he applies beliefs of what is right to his policy, not beliefs of what is salient, rightfully or wrongfully.

  • D

    Dennis BoringOct 5, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Ms. O’Bachmann isn’t interested in non-donors or students with real questions. A lot like Ms. Palin. Students need to stick to the talking points 😉

  • J

    John KirriemuirOct 5, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Bizarre. It’s hardly an angry, raging mob outside, but Michelle has hidden instead. If she ever were to become president, or even just make it to the nomination, she’d have to face much, much tougher crowds and audiences. Grinnell is hardly Baltimore…*

    I’m wondering if or how this will alter the relationship between the college (or the students of the college) and the local Republican party and network.


    * – Tommy Carcetti for President 🙂