In recent days, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has been steadily ramping up the rhetoric she uses against her Republican presidential rivals, hoping to regain a little bit of the spotlight.

Once a star in the 2012 field, Bachmann has collapsed in polls and has to clamor for attention in debates. If her recent comments are any guide, she will challenge former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum for the role of social conservative attack dog.

Other candidates are “frugal socialists” and “confused” about abortion rights, Bachmann said Monday. With her, she promised, there will be no policy shifts and no upsetting YouTube moments.

But Bachmann declined to attack former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain on the ongoing sexual harassment scandal he faces — an issue where, as the only woman in the field, she could potentially do some real damage.

“I don’t have any information on these allegations whatsoever,” she said. “I have absolutely nothing to contribute to that discussion.”

It’s something of a shift; last week Bachmann took a subtle jab at Cain by saying the party could not afford a nominee with “surprises” in his or her record. Whether Bachmann will continue to hold to that position on Cain in the GOP debate Wednesday night remains to be seen.


Herman Cain will be on the hot seat

Mitt Romney must be cool and steady

Rick Perry gets another chance

Does Jon Huntsman have game?

Ron Paul happy to focus on the economy

Newt Gingrich tries to break through

Rick Santorum searches for spark