Michele Bachmann 2012 Campaign Staffers In New Hampshire Quit: Report [UPDATED]


This story has been updated.

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's paid campaign team in New Hampshire has jumped ship from her political operation, WMUR reports.

The news comes as only the latest bump in the road for the conservative congresswoman ahead of 2012. According to WMUR, five staffers left Bachmann's Granite State team.

After reports surfaced on the Bachmann campaign shake-up in New Hampshire, the GOP candidate told Radio Iowa, "That is a shocking story to me." She denied such changes to her Granite State team taking place and explained, "I don't know if this is just a bad story that’s being fed by a different candidate or campaign. I have no idea where this came from, but we've made calls and it’s certainly not true."

Ed Rollins stepped down as Bachmann's campaign manager last month and additional advisers to the presidential contender subsequently left her team.

Amherst Patch reports:

With the news today that all five of Michele Bachmann's New Hampshire campaign staffers have quit her campaign, we decided to take a look back at a story Patch ran last month, looking at the candidates with the strongest and weakest ground games in the Granite State.

The consensus among local political observers was that Bachmann had by far the weakest ground game in New Hampshire, while Mitt Romney had the strongest.

"If we go much longer without seeing her, she's going to turn up on milk cartons," Pat Griffin, a senior fellow at Saint Anselm College's New Hampshire Institute for Politics, said at the time, citing Bachmann's three month absence from the state.

Griffin, who has worked on campaigns for George H.W. and George W. Bush, went on to call Bachmann's ground game in New Hampshire almost nonexistent.

In recent weeks, Bachmann has dismissed concerns that she doesn't have what it takes to come out on top in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

"I've got the complete skill set to do this job," she said last month during a stop in Iowa. The GOP hopeful has also predicted she'll emerge "the comeback kid" in the primary contest.

The AP reports on findings from a new poll out on the Republican presidential race:

Americans have yet to find a Republican they'd clearly prefer over President Barack Obama, although half say the president does not deserve re-election.

Among Republicans, the desire to oust Obama is clear, according to a new AP-GfK poll. But it has not resolved divisions over the choice of a nominee. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is reasonably popular, but he has not pulled away from the field.

Former pizza company executive Herman Cain runs close to Romney as the candidate Republicans would most like to see on the ballot, but many Republicans are reluctant to back a man who has never held office. Texas Gov. Rick Perry lags in the poll, which was conducted before Tuesday night's combative debate in Las Vegas.

The New York Times reported this week that Bachmann planned to hone her focus on Iowa until the January 3 caucuses, spending almost all of her time there.

In an interview with the Times, she also addressed her approach to dealing with potential staff problems:

“When it comes to personnel issues, I act professionally and respectful of former employees,” she told the Times. “I just assume that’s a two-way street. It’s disappointing when it’s not.”

Since winning the Ames Straw Poll in August, Bachmann has tumbled in the polls and faced setbacks in striving to remain a top contender in the race.

The Bachmann campaign issued the following statement on reports that her team in New Hampshire underwent a shake-up:

"We have a great team in New Hampshire and we have not been notified that anyone is leaving the campaign. We look forward to spending more time in the Granite State between now and the primary, but our campaign has emphasized that our main focus is the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa and we are continuing to build efforts there. While she will campaign in other states, Michele will spend the majority of her time in Iowa, doing what she does better than all the other candidates - retail politics - leading up to the all important caucuses."

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