Bachmann: Obama like 'dictator' if 14th Amendment invoked in debt fight

President Obama would be functioning effectively as a "dictator" if he invoked the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said Thursday.

Bachmann assailed the possible use of an executive order by the president to authorize increased borrowing power, a tactic that's been encouraged by some congressional Democrats to defuse a stalemate in debt-ceiling negotiations.

"Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes. It's Congress that does the spending," Bachmann said on CNN. "The president is prohibited to do that. If he had the power to do that he would effectively be a dictator."

That's the kind of strong charge that's made Bachmann a beloved figure on the right, but has also fueled some primary opponents' attacks against her. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), for instance, accused Bachmann earlier this week of having a history of "saying things that are off the mark."

Obama has said his administration has evaluated the possibility of using the 14th Amendment to raise the debt limit, but that they're unconvinced such a maneuver would be upheld by courts.

The 14th Amendment says, in part, that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law ... shall not be questioned.” Some Democrats argue that those words empower the president to take unilateral action to protect the U.S. credit.

Already Republicans are guarding against the possibility; Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) suggested that invoking the 14th Amendment would make for an impeachable offense.

"There would be no reason for Congress to even come to Washington, D.C.," Bachmann said of the possibility. "He would be making the spending decisions. He would be making the taxing decisions. Clearly that's unconstitutional."