WASHINGTON -- Rep. Michele Bachmann stepped up the rhetoric against her liberal colleagues in Congress on Monday, calling on Americans to "make a covenant, slit our wrists, be blood brothers" in a mission to stop the Democratic health care proposal.

Bachmann spoke to a supportive crowd in Denver at a luncheon hosted by the Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank. She criticized many of the recent Democratic initiatives in Congress, though her focus was largely on government spending and a federal overhaul of health care.

Bachmann, a Republican, has been one of the most outspoken members of her party, but Monday's comments signaled a rhetorical ramp-up for the Stillwater native.

"You've got your usual slothfulness, boozing, skirt-chasing members of Congress -- we could only wish that those were our problems," Bachmann said, according to a video of the event released by the institute. "Right now we are looking at reaching down the throat and ripping the guts out of freedom [in] this country. And we may never be able to restore it if we don't man up and take this one on. This has to be defeated -- this Obama Care. Cap and trade has to be defeated. Those two alone have the strength to destroy this country forever."

Responding to a question about what changes to health care delivery and payment would be necessary if the Democratic reform proposal were to pass, Bachmann emphasized that "we can't even have that discussion." She added: "This cannot pass. It cannot."

Bachmann suggested that better methods of overhauling health care would be to "erase" state boundaries for purchasing health insurance and address tort reform.

Moving to taxes, Bachmann said that for some Americans, the ratio of tax payments to earned income can reach 50 percent -- compared to 5 percent in 1950.

"This is slavery, it's nothing more than slavery," she said. "The Constitution provides freedom."

There has been speculation in recent months that Bachmann is looking for a higher political office, and this was not lost on the audience. One woman asked Bachmann, "Will we be able to vote for you when you challenge Obama?"

But Bachmann shook her head and laughed.

"Oh no," she said. "Oh no."

Eric Roper • 202-408-2723