Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann just held a news conference in Des Moines (in the parking lot of WHO Radio). She is sticking with her story that state Senator Kent Sorenson was offered money by Ron Paul’s campaign to leave his role as chairman for Bachmann’s Iowa campaign and to join his effort quite publicly last night with an endorsement at a rally in Des Moines.
AUDIO of Bachmann’s news conference. (The questions about the flap start at 8 minute mark.)
Bachmann said she had a conversation by phone with Sorenson on Tuesday. Here’s what Bachmann told reporters this morning:
“I had a conversation with Kent Sorenson and in the direct conversation that I had with him he told me that he was offered money. He was offered a lot of money by the Ron Paul campaign to go and associate with the Ron Paul campaign. No one else knows about that conversation other than Kent Sorenson and myself and I know what he said to me about that.
“…Clearly what that reflected was the nervousness on the part of the Ron Paul campaign that they were losing steam in Iowa, they were losing momentum in Iowa because Iowans’ eyes were opening up. They understood not only was Ron Paul dangerous when it came to foreign policy, but they’re understanding now that Ron Paul would be willing to legalize drugs in the United States, including heroin and cocaine. Iowans don’t want that.
“…Yesterday I was with Kent Sorenson. He talked to a number of people on our campaign. He told a number of people on our campaign — there’s a list an arm long of people that he spoke to who said he apologized to me for considering leaving. He said that he would be staying. He was with me at our campaign stop in Indianola. He told all of our campaign that he was definitely on board and then he got in his car and he went and announced that he was going with the Ron Paul campaign, but he had told me specifically that he was offered money, a great deal of money by the Ron Paul campaign, and that’s why he was leaving.”
Several reporters asked, “How much money?” and Bachmann said: “I direct you to go to the Ron Paul campaign and talk to them.”
It’s unclear whether Wes Enos, Bachmann’s political director, is still with the campaign. Enos issued a statement last night, under Ron Paul campaign letterhead, saying Sorenson was not leaving for money. I asked Bachmann’s new Iowa campaign chair, state Senator Brad Zaun, as he got on the Bachmann bus is Enos was still on board the Bachmann campaign. “I don’t have a statement for the media,” Zaun said.