Michele Bachmann Puckers Up For Joe Arpaio; Plans to Target Arizona in 2012 GOP Primary

For all of about three minutes, presidential candidate/Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann met with reporters and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio this afternoon, during which she gave the sheriff a metaphorical smooch right on his rear as she attempts to win his political tip of the cap.

"Sheriff Joe's the nation's sheriff," Bachmann gushed.

The ass-kissing continued when Bachmann was asked if she's seeking the sheriff's endorsement.

"[Arpaio's] a great guy -- anyone would want his endorsement," Bachmann told a gaggle of reporters crammed into the sheriff's downtown Phoenix office.

According to Arpaio, other GOP presidential candidates have reached out to him to discuss immigration issues, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The sheriff has yet to say whom he'll endorse.

Other than puckering up for America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff," Bachmann didn't say much more than firing off the same border-hawk talking points we heard during the Tea Party debate on CNN earlier this week.

"We need to make sure we don't have magnets that induce more people to come up into crossing our border and into the interior," she crowed, "and of course that would be everything from tuition tax credits for illegal aliens to other inducements."

In the brief, three-minute appearance, we didn't get a chance to ask the congresswoman any of the questions we had prepared -- for example, we wanted a little clarification on what she means when she says the country needs to "go back to the '50s" in terms of our immigration

It may come as a shock to Bachmann, but the federal government carried out "Operation Wetback" in 1954 -- a massive roundup of Mexicans that resulted in tens of thousands of Hispanic people getting put on two cargo ships and taken to Mexico. The operation sparked several civil rights lawsuits against the feds.  It remains unclear whether Bachmann's 1950s-esque immigration policy includes "Operation Wetback Part Deux."

Regardless, the congresswoman told reporters she plans to make Arizona a major focus of her campaign.

"Arizona is a critical state because Arizona will be one of the early states that makes the decision about who the nominee will be for the presidency," she says. "Arizona also has a very important voice; they deal with issues not only with immigration, but they deal with energy -- they deal with so many issues."

Bachmann says she'll be back in Arizona frequently as the campaign wages on -- so we have that to look forward to.

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James King
Contact: James King