Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann's former New Hampshire staffers say they were deceived and treated as second-class citizens before they quit in frustration last week.
In a news release, the five former staffers said they hold no ill will toward the Minnesota congresswoman, but they could not continue working for her because her national campaign team had been "rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel" to them and "abrasive, discourteous, and dismissive" of the state's voters.
"These are our neighbors and our friends, and some within the national team treated them more as a nuisance than as potential supporters," the group wrote.
Bachmann's spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment Monday.
Bachmann has visited New Hampshire just twice since announcing her campaign in late June. During her latest trip earlier this month, she blamed her absence on the August debate in Congress over raising the nation's debt limit.
In their statement issued Sunday, the former staffers also tried to clarify confusion that arose Friday when Bachmann's national spokeswoman disputed reports of a staff shake-up. The group said Jeff Chidester, Bachmann's New Hampshire campaign manager, quit on Thursday, but informed the national campaign that others might be interested in staying if national officials reached out to them.
The other four staffers quit on Friday after their efforts to get in touch with the national team to discuss their concerns were ignored, they said.
The staffers said they all had been full-time, paid employees until Sept. 11, when they were asked to temporarily go "off payroll" due to financial concerns.
"It saddens this team to see a dedicated patriot _ a person so desperately needed in the White House _ sequestered behind a wall of pretense, guarded by political operatives consumed by their own egos," the group wrote.