Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann tried to convince students at Drake University that the federal government has no choice but to dramatically cut spending.
"We are broke in this country and we are bankrupt," Bachmann said.
During a spirited Q-and-A session at the school's student center, some in the audience spoke against spending cuts for social safety net programs, alternative energy production and other government initiatives.
Bachmann, who represents Minnesota's 6th District in Congress, defended her call for deep spending cuts and challenged one student's assertion that she was disregarding people who need help.
"You're looking at someone who lived at below poverty," Bachmann said. "Have you ever lived at that, Abe? Have you? I have. I know what it's like and I know what I had to do. I got a job. That's what you need to do. You need to figure out how to get a job and make your way."
Bachmann has been campaigning in Iowa all week. She will be in Washington tomorrow to cast a vote in favor of the balanced budget amendment.