Three days after her New Hampshire campaign staff quit en masse, Michele Bachmann's team is claiming that a bitter press release reportedly published by dissatisfied staffers was actually put out by people unaffiliated with the campaign. Politico reports on a statement released by Bachmann's campaign manager on Monday:
"The unauthorized news release was sent by a person who doesn't even work for the campaign and has never had authority to speak on behalf of the campaign," said her campaign manager, Keith Nahigian. "We are not responding to comments made by a person who was not even a staff member in New Hampshire. Our focus is on Iowa."
The press release in question portrayed a national campaign that had all but abandoned New Hampshire, where other GOP contenders, particularly Mitt Romney, have long been considered stronger candidates than Bachmann. As Amherst, NH Patch reported:
"The team holds no ill will towards the candidate, but no longer feels relevant based on their poor relationship with the national team," the statement reads.
The statement goes on to say that the New Hampshire staffers felt "deceived," "left out of the loop," and "relegated to second-class citizens." It says the manner in which the national team treated the local staffers was "rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel," and New Hampshire citizens were dealt with in a similar fashion.
At times, the local operatives said they went weeks with little or no contact with the national team, and their requests were "repeatedly ignored."
The New Hampshire exodus was just the the latest staffing crisis to bedevil Bachmann's campaign. In September, campaign manager Ed Rollins made a high-profile exit, and soon began criticizing the campaign publicly. And earlier this month, pollster Ed Goeas jumped ship.
Those departures signaled a downward trend for Bachmann in general. Since winning Iowa's Ames Straw Poll in August, her popularity has steadily slipped. Recent polls have shown that despite her prior success, Bachmann is now faring no better than fourth place in the Hawkeye State, well behind frontrunners Mitt Romney and Herman Cain.