U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. REUTERS

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann defied party leadership by maintaining her unwavering opposition to raising the debt ceiling, dismissing any risk of default.

I'm a 'no' on raising the debt ceiling right now because I have been here long enough that I have seen a lot of smoke and mirrors in the time I have been here, U.S. Rep. Bachmann, R-Minn., said.

Bachmann has used her opposition to a debt ceiling hike to solidify her standing as a Tea Party favorite opposed to government spending. Her first television campaign ad focused mostly on her background but featured her explicitly refusing to vote to raise the debt limit.

Bachmann's continued resistance comes as top U.S. Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., seeks to rally support for a plan that would allow Obama to raise the debt ceiling unilateraly, rather than rely on an elusive deficit reduction compromise. He defended the idea on Laura Ingraham's program, saying that the move would avoid the fallout from a default and allow Republicans to eschew co-ownership of a bad economy.

My first choice was to do something important for the country, McConnell said. But my second obligation is to my party and my conference to prevent them from being sucked into a horrible position politically that would allow the president, probably, to get re-elected because we didn't handle this difficult situation correctly.

The explanation amounts to an admission that Republicans are increasingly unlikely to get a sought-after deal that would include spending cuts but no revenue increases. Republicans have been intractable in their opposition to any new source of revenue, rejecting a larger-than-expected deal offered by Obama that would have included Republican priorities like cuts to Social Security as well as fresh sources of tax revenue. By putting the onus on Obama to raise the ceiling without Congressional consent, McConnell would deflect criticism that Republican intransigence scuttled a deficit deal.