By Karissa Minn
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann told Republicans in Concord on Thursday that she's a conservative candidate with the strength to win next year's "vital" presidential election.
Bachmann, a tax lawyer who represents Minnesota in Congress, spoke to about 200 people during a fundraising stop at Troutman's Barbecue restaurant.
Bachmann said she believes President Barack Obama will be a one-term president because Americans are frustrated with his administration.
She said conservatives often settle for a moderate candidate who they're told is more likely to win. But the time is right for someone different to win this vital election, Bachmann said.
"In 2012, of all years, it is not the moderate candidate who's going to win," she said. "It's the conservative candidate."
Bachmann asked her fellow Republicans for their support in the primary.
She said she wants to change the tax code to help job-creating businesses, bring jobs back from overseas through deregulation, reduce government spending and get the national debt under control.
"I'm not interested in going to Washington and taking over the bureaucracy," Bachmann said. "I want to dismantle the bureaucracy."
To cheers and applause, Bachmann said she wants to shut the doors on the federal Department of Education and Environmental Protection Agency.
"The job-killing agency of America is the EPA," she said. "We all want clean air and water, but that's not the purpose of the EPA anymore."
The U.S. should become more energy independent by extracting its own oil and natural gas, Bachmann said, but the EPA gets in the way for political reasons.
States should be in charge of their own schools and environmental regulations, she said, and the money that funds those federal programs should go to the states and the people.
The candidate also said she wants to repeal Obama administration's new health care reform law, saying it will lead to "socialized medicine."
Bachmann criticized both Obama and -- indirectly -- her fellow GOP candidates for being swayed by large donations. "We can't have a nominee from our party compromised by big donors ... who they'll do political favors for," Bachmann said.
Turning her attention to foreign policy, Bachmann said Obama's stand on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is to blame for the uprisings against autocratic governments in North Africa and the Middle East.
When Obama called for Israel to "retreat" to its 1967 borders, she said, its neighbors took notice. Bachmann said that as president, she wouldn't apologize for America or its foreign policy stances.
"Do you want to know why we have an Arab Spring?" she said. "Obama has laid the table for an Arab Spring by demonstrating weakness from the United States of America."
The Arab Spring protests began in December 2010. In Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, they resulted in the overthrow of government heads who had ruled for decades.
They also sometimes resulted in violence, including a civil war in Libya.
Bachmann brought up Israel again Thursday when talking about illegal immigration, narcoterrorism and America's "border problem."
She said the U.S. should follow Israel's example and build a fence along the entire southern border.
Rowan County Commissioners Jim Sides and Carl Ford attended the event. Both said they were undecided on their presidential choice, but they were impressed by -- as Sides put it -- Bachmann's "simple solutions to complex problems."
Bachmann said she believes the issues she listed can be solved if a strong enough president is elected.
"We haven't had a president who's had the backbone to take on these problems," she said. "Well, let me tell you, my spine's made of titanium."