Bachmann: 'We can't afford anything less than a fight'

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) rallied Tea Party activists outside the U.S. Capitol Thursday, pledging to not back down in the current budget standoff.

The Minnesota Republican, who's weighing a run for the White House in 2012, said given the size of the federal budget deficit, conservatives "can't afford anything less than a fight." 

"You are here to hold all of us accountable," Bachmann told a crowd of a few hundred activists.

The event was organized by Tea Party Patriots and billed as a "Continuing Revolution Rally." Along with Bachmann, the rally featured Republican Reps. Steve King (Iowa), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Mike Pence (Ind.) and Louie Gohmert (Texas).

"Cutting $61 billion, in my opinion, is a starting point," Bachmann said. "It is not the goal."

The event came as Republican leaders and the White House appear to be moving closer to a budget agreement that would avert a government shutdown. But any agreement could fall well short of the $61 billion in cuts included in the measure already approved by the House. 

Bachmann promised activists Thursday that she would hold firm on that number as just a baseline for any agreement, and said her No. 1 priority in the budget fight is defunding the healthcare law. Bachmann has said she won't vote for any budget agreement that doesn't defund the law.

The leader of the House Tea Party Caucus also warned that "cutting off funding to groups like Planned Parenthood has to be one of those issues that we're just not going to back down on."

The crowd repeatedly roared its approval for Bachmann and made clear it wasn't in a compromising mood. One activist carried a sign that read, "Keep Your Promises. $100 billion." Another shouted that Republican leaders were "afraid" of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).