Blame government for ATM fees, Bachmann says

HENNIKER, N.H. -- If your bank starts charging you to use your ATM card, blame the federal government, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann told students here.

"Did ya'll hear last week that your debit card? You now have to pay a five dollar a monthly debit card fee," the Minnesota congresswoman told students at a town hall meeting on the campus of New England College. "Well thank you federal government; that's thanks to Dodd-Frank."

Bank of America announced last month that starting next year they will begin charging debit cards holders $5 monthly fees to customers who use debit cards to make purchases. The bank contends it needs to recoup money it will lose because the Dodd-Frank financial regulations capped the amount of money it can charge merchants for debit card transactions.

Bachmann said if she were elected, she would repeal Dodd-Frank, enacted to curb some of the financial excesses that, according to the bill's supporters, led to the near-meltdown of the nation's credit system in late 2008.

The congresswoman's town hall meeting lasted about 45 minutes before an audience of about 100 students, dotted with Bachmann supporters.

When one audience member likened the Occupy Wall Street protesters to the Tea Party movement, Bachmann quickly begged to differ.

"I don't think they are similar to the Tea Party at all," said the congresswoman, who founded the Tea Party Caucus in the House. "If Occupy Wall Street wants to be upset about something they should go in front of the White House and that is where they should be protesting."

Bachmann will be among the eight GOP presidential contenders participating in the Bloomberg/ Washington Post Debate at Dartmouth College on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. She has one more New Hampshire event planned for Wednesday before heading back to Iowa, where she was born and where she is focusing most of her campaign efforts.

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