From the 08.15.2011 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:
COOPER: She is running for president, which is very possibly the reason why she is not answering this question about her past statements. When asked about the statements by New Hampshire's concord monitor, Congresswoman Bachmann said, quote, "I'm not involved in light, frivolous matter, I'm involved in fringe or side issues. I'm involved in serious issues".
Yet the light frivolous matters were once serious enough to Ms. Bachmann to advocate changing her state's constitution. By the way, we invited Ms. Bachmann on tonight as we do on many nights yet again our request for interview was declined and accepted calls went un- answered.
Joining us however, Dana Loesch, tea party organizer and editor on bigjourmalism.com also Democratic Strategist Cornell Belcher, who served as a pollster in the 2008 Obama campaign.
So Cornel, obviously folks in the media doesn't like it when folks dodge their questions. Does it have any repercussions on the campaign trail?
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It actually does, Anderson. I'm a little shocked by this coming from Congresswoman Bachmann. It's one thing that voters dislike more than a candidate who doesn't agree with them on the issues is a candidate feel will flip-flop on the issue or change on the issue when its political key inconvenient to do so because they fundamentally then cannot trust the candidate.
And if you can't trust a candidate, I don't care what your position is on education, health care, you know gays and lesbians, if they can't trust you, they're not going give you the benefit of the doubt in any of the areas so its deadly.
And other real quick point about this is you know as a woman candidate, there are stereotypes that she has to deal with that male candidates don't. Minorities have to deal with it as well. This has also sort of become problematic if it looks like you're being dodging or you're ducking the issue or you're not certain about the issue. It also sort of feeds into a stereotype that is harmful to women candidates.
COOPER: Dana, from your perspective, why do you think she is ducking this question? Or do you think she is ducking it?
DANA LOESCH, CNN CONRIBUTOR: Well, I don't necessarily know. I don't necessarily agree that she is ducking the question. I think that she has answered it over and over again. And my assumption is that if she is now running, she is now running for the presidency, maybe she feels that this question isn't relevant at a time when we're dealing with 9.2 percent unemployment, and it's all about the economy right now.
I really think that it could be just very easy for her to just say look, on this issue, with the exception of "don't ask, don't tell," I feel the exact same way about this as President Obama. I feel the same way about this with most people of most faiths.
COOPER: That's not true, though. I mean you mentioned "don't ask, don't tell." but also President Obama is not defending the defense of marriage act, which she is. President Obama hasn't called this satanic or people living this disorder.
LOESCH: No, I'm talking about the issue of gay marriage and I mean the president has said well, my opinion is evolving. So I mean if we're going to talk about statements that Michele Bachmann has made and statements that she has made in 2004 and all of, that I think it's equally fair if we're going to do this, then we need to make sure we give the exact same due diligence to the president's own religious beliefs and the churches that she has gone to.
I mean if we really want to put all of this on the line, then let's put it all on the line. And let's give I mean this is the exact same thing that George Bush also had to deal with when he was running for president. He was asked by the media whether or not he thought that non-Christian were going to hell and I think a lot of the questions that circulate around the issue of religion.
And when it comes to social conservatives are ways for people to perhaps maybe show that these candidates are somehow not as valid as other candidates who don't have as strong as religious beliefs during the campaign.
COOPER: So Cornell, Dana I mean is essentially saying that this is in some ways kind of the media trying to show her to be a fringe candidate.
BELCHER: Well, I think her statement sort of speak for themselves. I think what is interesting here is that, you know, and thing is a fundamentally a good thing, is that when you look at sort of how the American public is shifting on their viewpoint about gay and lesbian marriage and gays and lesbians in the military, you know, you have to seek sort of candidates move in.
As Michele Bachmann becomes less of a fringe candidate, and quite frankly Dana, I you know I think she is your front-runner, she is trying to mainstream herself. And frankly, you're looking at sort of where the public is taking the American people on this. That the American people have moved on, particularly with that younger crowd of voters, you know the 12 percent of our new vote is out there and that the new vote was disproportionately younger voters. They don't even understand the gay and lesbian issue as a political issue. To win those voters, she has to move from where she has been.
COOPER: Dana, I want to branch off to talk about Rick Perry. Obviously, he entered the race this weekend. How do you see him from your perspective? How strong a candidate is he?
LOESCH: I think he is a very strong candidate. And I think he sort of fills a vacuum that has been created by -- you have mitt Romney, which grassroots voters absolutely reject Mitt Romney. He has a very moderate record. He has a very inconsistent record. And he has very - can say that his business-friendly all he wants to, but his record speaks otherwise as a governor - when he was governor of Massachusetts.
And then you have Michele Bachmann who is very, very conservative. She has a history of voting against a lot of big ticket, big government items during her time in the House of Representatives. And then you have Rick Perry who is right in the middle of both of these candidates.
So I think he has the potential to really appeal to grassroots while at the same time I think maybe kind of attracting independents and some more moderates. So I think he is a huge threat initially I think to Mitt Romney, and that's why we're also seeing them going right off the bat and trading barbs at each other.
LOESCH: But at the same time, Perry may want to ignore Bachmann's candidacy as a way to push her to the outside and make it appear as though it's just him and Romney. It's a really interesting triangle.
COOPER: Cornell, as you - from the White House perspective, who do you think they would be most worried about or concerned about?
BELCHER: Look, in the end, I think from the White House - by the way, I don't think I could attack Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann more effectively than Dana just did.
We're going to look at this and say look, you know what? Either of these candidates are so in the pocket with the tea party. And if you're looking at sort of how the tea party's ratings have dropped over the last couple of months, especially with independent voters, look, if you like what the tea party is doing in congress, wait until they have a governing partner in the White House, and they're going to have that either with either Perry or Michele Bachmann. And the way Mitt Romney is running, even with Mitt Romney.
COOPER: Dana Loesch, Cornell Belcher, I appreciate having you on.
Let us know what you think on facebook. Follow me on twitter @andersoncooper. I'll be tweeting tonight It's been a busy night so far.
Up next, President Obama just wrapped up tone hall meeting in Iowa. Part of a three-day swing through Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. Republicans have launched an ad against the trip, calling it taxpayer- funded campaigning. Is it?
We'll play some of it so you can decide for yourself.
Why the hell does CNN let on Dana Loesch after all these times she lied to the people on (inter)national TV? And why does Loesch keep calling herself an "Independent Conservative who hates all political parties," when in fact she's just another Republican watercarrier. And she is a BIG Bachmann fan.