Diners at in Ankeny this afternoon got a little more than they bargained for over their lunch hours.
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann paid a visit to the Ankeny eatery around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. She had the chance to shake some hands and grab some lunch for the road, but Bachmann mostly used the visit as an opportunity to respond to President Barack Obama’s televised address to the nation last night regarding the debt ceiling.
“Iowans have heard of the term, and its overwhelming the number who say ‘do not raise the debt ceiling,'” Bachmann said during her visit. “People are tired of Washington not listening and how out of touch politicians are with (Americans).”
Obama spoke last night on the need to compromise in order to fix the debt crisis. The president argued that corporate jet owners, oil companies, hedge-fund managers and the wealthy should give up tax breaks, in addition to the government cutting spending.
Bachmann said Obama is calling it a “balanced approach”.
“’A balanced approach’ is code – it means tax increases,” Bachmann said. “(President Obama) said it seven times in his speech last night.”
Bachmann said she is against raising the debt ceiling and has voted against it when it has come before Congress. Raising the debt ceiling is not the answer to the crisis, she said.
The solution, she said, is getting Washington to prioritize spending and curbing its “insatiable appetite for (taxpayer) money.”
“We have to change the premise of it. We need to restructure spending,” she said. “The voice I’m hearing from the people is clear – stop the spending and don’t increase the debt ceiling.”
Katie Pollak, 30, of West Des Moines came to the event to hear what Bachmann had to say. Pollak is a registered Republican.
“It’s good to be informed and be able to make an educated vote for the future of this country,” Pollak said, whose husband, Jim, is general manager of the Ankeny Palmer’s.
Following Bachmann’s visit, Pollak said she is more likely to support her in her candidacy for president.
“I appreciate her conservative approach…and her passion toward things,” Pollak said. “She’s not afraid to speak her mind.”
Jim Uhl of Saylorville also was at the event, snapping pictures of Bachmann chatting with area residents. Uhl is owner of 4 Corners Photo and is a third-generation veteran.
“I wanted to hear what she had to say,” Uhl said. “There’s always a lot of promises made to vets but they never say how they’re going to fulfill those promises.
Uhl also is interested in this election because he feels America has “one foot in a hole and the other on a banana peel,” and doesn’t have its priorities straight when it comes to providing for veterans.
“We’re one step away from being a third world country here, and that doesn’t sit too well with me,” he said. “When do we get past the rhetoric?”
When asked if he was a Republican or a Democrat, Uhl said he was neither.
“I’m an American,” he said.
Lynn Campbell of IowaPolitics.com contributed to this report.