Bachmann won’t touch Mormon debate, denies her campaign is imploding

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) refused to touch the emerging debate over whether fellow presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a Christian, citing the country’s long history of religious tolerance in an interview Sunday morning on CNN’s State of the Union.

“This is so inconsequential as far as this campaign is concerned,” Bachmann said. “To make this a big issue is just ridiculous right now.”

When host Candy Crowley pointed out it might appear that Bachmann is dodging the question on Romney’s religion as Herman Cain did earlier, she again cited her own “sincerely held” faith and called for tolerance.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith returned to the forefront during this weekend’s Values Voter Summit. Pastor Robert Jeffress, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention, sparked controversy when he called Mormonism “a cult” shortly after introducing Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R).

Bachmann also brushed off her recent slide in the polls and refused to reveal whether she will run for re-election to her congressional seat next fall.

Bachmann’s campaign has tried to promote her conservative bona fides, presenting her as the “true conservative” in the Republican race.

When asked whether rival candidate Herman Cain is a true conservative, Bachmann replied in the affirmative. She resisted giving Romney the same endorsement, choosing instead to tout her own run at the GOP nomination and slam President Obama’s economic policies.

Crowley pointed to the results of recent straw polls in Florida and at the Values Voter Summit as evidence of Bachmann’s campaign imploding, but the Tea Party favorite called that assessment “completely inaccurate” and noted she did not participate in the Florida straw poll.

Bachmann dismissed polling that shows her favorability ratings are down and once again pointed to her win in the Iowa straw poll as evidence of her viability.