NAPLES — She started her day with a jolt of caffeine — the largest cappuccino available at Calistoga Bakery Cafe — before promising to be the boost America needed to get back on track.
Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann was in Naples on Monday for an early morning meet and greet with supporters. The Minnesota congresswoman is one of nine Republicans vying for their party’s nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.
“People are ready to make Barack Obama a one-term president,” she told the enthusiastic crowd. “My goal is to turn the economy around and create millions of (high paying) jobs.”
Bachmann also said she supported repealing Obama’s affordable health care act.
Bachmann’s appearance was part of a four-day swing through the state. Her appearance in Sarasota over the weekend made headlines when she said she would consider oil and natural gas drilling in the Everglades if it can be done without harming the environment.
When asked about her position on Monday, Bachmann said the U.S. needed to tap into its energy resources as long as it is done in a responsible way.
Bachmann also said the administration made a mistake when it put a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
That elicited some jeers from a nearby crowd and one woman began chanting “no drilling in the Gulf.” Others in the crowd supported Bachmann and started chanting “drill now, drill now.”
Naples resident Marcia Coughlin said while she supports Bachmann, she wasn’t pleased with the fact she would explore drilling in the Everglades.
“I really believe the Everglades are too fragile,” she said. “They provide too much for the whole world.”
That isn’t to say Coughlin doesn’t support oil drilling. The Wyoming native said she doesn’t mind drilling but would prefer it occur on land, not offshore.
Pelican Bay resident Marcia Cravens said she absolutely opposed the idea of drilling off Florida’s waters and in the Everglades.
Cravens let her voice be heard Monday when she disrupted a press conference by shouting she supported the Environmental Protection Agency, which Bachmann said has she would eliminate. Cravens gave Bachmann a thumbs down and said she was “aghast Bachmann would be for eliminating” the federal agency.
Bachmann has said while she recognizes there is a federal role when environmental issues cross borders, she also believes the EPA does not consider job creation or losses as part of its role in enforcing regulations.
Cravens’ outburst came at the end of the meet and greet, and there were no other disturbances during Bachmann’s visit.
But that doesn’t mean everything went off without a hitch.
Patrick Sammis, the operating partner at Calistoga, said he found out early Monday morning Bachmann would be paying a visit to his cafe when staffers called to tell him there were three television trucks in the cafe’s parking lot.
Sammis said he was able to make contact with the campaign who apologized for the late notice, and said they hoped it wouldn’t be a problem.
This was the first time a presidential candidate as stopped by the Airport-Pulling Road restaurant, and Sammis said he hoped it wouldn’t be the last.
“We’re a local business,” Sammis said. “I hope we’re going to be the new spot (for candidates). The doors are always open.”
Bachmann said she plans to return to Florida throughout the election season.
“It’s been a thrill,” Bachmann said. “I’ve been all across Florida. It is an extremely important (state).”
Naples may be important for reasons other than votes, though.
The 34102 zip code in Naples was responsible for $29,600 in contributions to Bachmann’s presidential campaign in the second quarter of 2011, according to preliminary data sorted by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Naples metro area was second behind Minneapolis-St. Paul in donations, the same report showed.
“She’s a very strong individual. She’s got fresh ideas ... and she’s tough,” said Naples resident Richard Lilien. “Naples is behind her.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.