Michele Marie Bachmann (née Amble; April 6, 1956) is a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, a post she has held since 2007. The district includes several of the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities, such as Woodbury, and Blaine as well as Stillwater and St. Cloud.
She served in the Minnesota State Senate and is the first Republican woman to represent the state in Congress.
Bachmann is a supporter of the Tea Party movement and a founder of the House Tea Party Caucus.
In early 2011, there was much speculation that Bachmann would run for president in 2012. Bachmann participated in the second Republican Presidential Debate in New Hampshire on June 13, 2011; during the debate she announced she had filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) earlier that day to become a candidate for the GOP nomination.4 Bachmann formally announced her candidacy for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination on June 27, 2011 during an appearance in Waterloo, Iowa.5
Michele Marie Amble was born in Waterloo, Iowa “into a family of Norwegian Lutheran Democrats”; her family moved from Iowa to Minnesota when she was 13 years old. After her parents divorced, Bachmann’s father, David John Amble, moved to California, and Bachmann was raised by her mother, Jean (née Johnson), who worked at the First National Bank in Anoka, Minnesota. Her mother remarried when Bachmann was a teenager; the new marriage resulted in a family with nine children.
In 1979, Bachmann was a member of the first class of the O. W. Coburn School of Law, then a part of Oral Roberts University (ORU).11 While there, Bachmann studied with John Eidsmoe, whom she described in 2011 as “one of the professors who had a great influence on me”. Bachmann worked as a research assistant on Eidsmoe’s 1987 book Christianity and the Constitution, which argues that the United States was founded as a Christian theocracy, and should become one again. In 1986, Bachmann received a J.D. degree from Oral Roberts University. She was a member of the final graduating class of the law school at ORU, and was part of a group of
faculty, staff, and students who moved the ORU law school library to what is now Regent University.
From 1988 to 1993, she was an attorney working for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She left her position with the IRS to become a full-time mother when her fourth child was born.
Bachmann and her husband own a Christian counseling practice named Bachmann & Associates, which is run by her husband, who has a PhD in clinical psychology from Union Graduate School. Marcus Bachmann is not a licensed psychologist in Minnesota. The clinic received nearly $30,000 from Minnesota government agencies between 2006 and 2010 in addition to at least $137,000 in federal payments and $24,000 in government grants for counselor training. When asked about the subject in an interview, Bachmann indicated that she and her husband had not benefited at taxpayers’ expense, saying that “the money that went to the clinic was actually training money for employees”. Marcus Bachmann has denied allegations that Bachmann & Associates provides conversion therapy, a controversial psychological treatment repudiated by the American Psychological Association, which attempts to transform homosexuals into heterosexuals. A former client of Bachmann’s clinic and a hidden camera investigator with the activist group Truth Wins Out have said that therapists at the clinic do engage in such practices, although columnist Mariah Blake of The Nation has suggested the hidden camera investigator may have been intentionally baiting the therapist to say something controversial. In a subsequent interview with the Minnesota Star Tribune, Marcus Bachmann did not deny that he or other counselors at his clinic used the technique but said they did so only at the request of a client.
In personal financial disclosure reports for 2006 through 2009, Bachmann reported earning $32,500 to $105,000 from a farm that was owned at the time by her ailing father-in-law, Paul Bachmann. The farm received $260,000 in federal crop and disaster subsidies between 1995 and 2008. Bachmann said that in 2006–2009, her husband acted as a trustee of the farm for his dying father and so, out of “an abundance of caution”, she claimed the farm as income in financial disclosures, though it was her in-laws who profited from the farm during that period.
Bachmann grew up in a Democratic family, but she says she became a Republican during her senior year at Winona State. She told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that she was reading Gore Vidal‘s 1973 novel, Burr: “He was kind of mocking the Founding Fathers and I just thought, I just remember reading the book, putting it in my lap, looking out the window and thinking, ‘You know what? I don’t think I am a Democrat. I must be a Republican.’”
While still a Democrat, she and her then-fiancé Marcus were inspired to join the pro-life movement by Francis Schaeffer‘s 1976 Christian documentary film, How Should We Then Live? They prayed outside of
clinics and engaged in sidewalk counseling, a pro-life protest activity in which activists approach people entering abortion clinics in an attempt to dissuade women from obtaining abortions. Since then, Bachmann has made statements
supportive of sidewalk counseling. Bachmann was a supporter of Jimmy Carter in 1976, and she and her husband worked on his campaign. During Carter’s presidency, Bachmann became disappointed with his liberal approach to public policy, support for legalized abortion and economic decisions she held responsible for increased gas prices. In the 1980 presidential election, she voted for Ronald Reagan and worked for his campaign.
Her political activism gained media attention at a pro-life protest in 1991. She and approximately 30 other pro-life citizens went to a Ramsey County Board meeting where a $3 million appropriation was to go to build a morgue for the county at St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center (now Regions Hospital). The Medical Center performed abortions and employed pro-choice activist Jane Hodgson. Bachmann attended the meeting to protest public tax dollars going to the hospital; speaking to the Star Tribune, she said that “in effect, since 1973, I have been a landlord of an abortion clinic, and I don’t like that distinction”.
In 1993, she and other parents started the K-12 New Heights Charter School in Stillwater. The publicly funded school’s charter mandated that it be non-sectarian in all programs and practices, but the school soon developed a strong Christian orientation. Parents of students at the school complained and the superintendent of schools warned Bachmann that the school was in violation of state law. Six months after the school’s founding Bachmann resigned and the Christian orientation was removed from the curriculum, allowing the school to keep its charter. Bachmann began speaking against a state-mandated set of educational standards, which propelled her into the world of politics.
Bachmann became a critic and opponent of Minnesota’s School-to-Work policies. In a 1999 column, she wrote: “School-to-Work alters the basic mission and purpose of K-12 academic education away from traditional broad-based academic studies geared toward maximizing intellectual achievement of the individual. Instead, School-to-Work utilizes the school day to promote children’s acquisition of workplace skills, viewing children as trainees for increased economic productivity.”
In November 1999, she and four other Republicans were candidates, as the “Slate of Five”, in an election for the school board of Stillwater. All five lost.
In 2000, Bachmann defeated 18-year incumbent Gary Laidig for the Republican nomination for State Senator for Minnesota District 56. In the November 2000 general election, she defeated Ted Thompson of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) and Lyno Sullivan of the Minnesota Independence Party, to win the seat. Two years later, in November 2002, after redistricting due to the 2000 Census, Bachmann defeated another incumbent, State Senator Jane
Krentz of the DFL, in the newly drawn State Senate District 52. In office, Bachmann’s agenda focused on the cultural conservative issues of opposition to abortion and gay marriage.
Same-sex Marriage Constitutional Amendment
On November 20, 2003, Bachmann and Representative Mary Liz Holberg proposed a constitutional amendment that would bar the state from legally recognizing same-sex marriage. In 2004, Bachmann and a coalition of religious leaders announced plans for a “Minnesota for Marriage” rally.45 Bachmann’s effort to place a marriage amendment on a referendum ballot in 2004 ultimately failed. She resurrected her proposal in March 2005 but it stalled indefinitely in a senate committee that April.
Assistant Minority Leader
In November 2004, Republican Senate Minority Leader Dick Day appointed Bachmann as Assistant Minority Leader in charge of Policy for the Senate Republican Caucus. In July 2005, the Republican Caucus removed her from her leadership position. Bachmann said that disagreements with Day over her anti-tax stance were the reason for her ouster.
U.S. House of Representatives
Since being elected in November 2006, Bachmann has served Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, which includes the northernmost and eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities and St. Cloud. She is the first Republican woman to be elected to the U.S. House from Minnesota.
On economists who have influenced her views, Bachmann told The Wall Street Journal, “… the late Milton Friedman as well as Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. I’m also an Art Laffer fiend—we’re very close,” she adds. “And [Ludwig] von Mises. I love von Mises,” getting excited and rattling off some of his classics like Human Action and Bureaucracy. “When I go on vacation and I lay on the beach, I bring von Mises.”
Against Central Planning of the Economy
In the Minnesota Senate, Bachmann opposed minimum wage increases. In an interview in late June 2011, Bachmann did not back away from her earlier proposal to eliminate the federal minimum wage, a change she said would “virtually wipe out unemployment.”
In a 2001 flyer, Bachmann and Michael J. Chapman wrote that federal policies manage a centralized, state-controlled economy in the United States. She wrote that education laws passed by Congress in 2001, including “School To
Work” and “Goals 2000″, created a new national school curriculum that embraced “a socialist, globalist worldview; loyalty to all government and not America.” In 2003, Bachmann said that the “Tax Free Zones” economic initiatives of
Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty were based on the Marxist principle of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” She also said that the administration was attempting to govern and run centrally planned economies through an organization called the Minnesota Economic Leadership Team (MELT), an advisory board on economic and workforce policy chaired by Pawlenty.
Prior to her election to the state senate, and again in 2005, Bachmann signed a “no new taxes” pledge sponsored by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. As a state senator, Bachmann introduced two bills that would have severely limited state taxation. In 2003, she proposed amending the Minnesota state constitution to adopt the “Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights” (TABOR).
In 2005, Bachmann opposed Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s proposal for a state surcharge of 75 cents per pack on the wholesale cost of cigarettes. Bachmann said that she opposed the state surcharge “100 percent – it’s a tax increase.”She later was criticized by the Taxpayers’ League for reversing her position and voting in favor of the cigarette surcharge.
Opposition to Financial Sector Bailout
Bachmann opposed both versions of the Wall Street bailout bill for America’s financial sector.
She voted against the first proposed $700 billion bailout of financial institutions, which failed to pass 205–228. She also advocated breaking up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and barring executives from excessive compensation or golden parachutes. However, she also advocated a plan that would suspend mark-to-market accounting rules and supported suspending the capital gains tax.
The “Big Three” automakers; Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors, approached Congress to ask for roughly $15 billion to keep them operational into 2009. Bachmann criticized that bill, fearing that the initial sum of money would be followed
by subsequent ones without the companies making changes to revive their business. Bachmann supported an alternative bail-out for the Big Three and the rest of the auto industry rather than the plan that passed. According to Bachmann, her alternative would set benchmarks for reducing their debt and renegotiating labor deals and would set up the financial assistance as interim insurance instead of a taxpayer-financed bailout.
Repeal of Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Law
Soon after being sworn in to her third term Bachmann introduced legislation to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. She stated “I’m pleased to offer a full repeal of the job-killing Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill. Dodd-Frank grossly expanded the federal government beyond its jurisdictional boundaries. It gave Washington bureaucrats the power to interpret and enforce the legislation with little oversight. Real financial regulatory reform must deal with these lenders who were a leading cause of our economic recession. True reform must also end the bailout mind-set that was perpetuated by the last Congress.” She also took issue with the law for not addressing the liabilities of the tax-payer funded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Bachmann’s bill has been endorsed by such conservative groups as the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity, it has four other Republican co-sponsors including Rep Darrell Issa, who became the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at the start of the 112th Congress. Bachmann’s call for total repeal was seen as more drastic than the approach advocated by her fellow Republican Spencer Bachus who became the House Financial Services Committee Chairman with the change of majority in the House. Bachus “plans to provide ‘vigorous’ oversight of regulators efforts to reform banking and housing…reform Fannie and Freddie”, and
“dismantle pieces of [the] Dodd-Frank Act that he believes ‘unnecessarily punish small businesses and community banks.’”63 In response to Bachmann’s legislation Rep Barney Frank stated, “Michele Bachmann, theClub for Growth, and others in the right-wing coalition have now made their agenda for the financial sector very clear: they yearn to return to the thrilling days of yesteryear, so the loan arrangers can ride again – untrammeled by any rules restraining irresponsibility, excess, deception, and most of all, infinite leverage.”
The chances of Bachmann’s legislation passing were viewed as unlikely, the Financial Times wrote that “Like the Republican move to repeal healthcare reform, Ms. Bachmann’s bill could be passed by the House of Representatives but be blocked by the Senate or White House.”
Federal-backed Home Loans
According to an article in the Washington Post, in 2008 Bachmann may have taken advantage of a federal program for a home loan, then called for dismantling the program, though the article notes that the public and other members of Congress have taken advantage of such loans despite seeing reasons to criticize them. 64 When asked about it, she said: “This is the problem. It is almost impossible to buy a home in this country today without the federal government being involved”.
Repeal of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Bachmann has characterized the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as “ObamaCare”, and has continually called for its repeal. She recalled to reporters that she called for debate to repeal the act “the morning after Obamacare
passed”. Joining with Rep. Steve King she introduced “the Bachmann-King repeal of health care bill” stating that it “is our intent in our heart to make sure that Obamacare is completely repealed.” In light of a Democratic held Senate
and Presidency that oppose repeal, Bachmann called on the Republican held House of Representatives to not provide any funds for the implementation of the act “But until we can see that [repeal] happen, we want to fully defund this
bill so that, like, it would be akin to a helium balloon that gets no helium inside so that it can’t take off the ground, and that’s what we’re planning to do. I’m very, very grateful for nothing else; having a majority in the House of
Representatives so that we have the ability of the power of the purse to not fund Obamacare, and this is exactly the right way to go.”
On March 4, 2011, Bachmann (who was one of the six House Republicans to vote against the continuing resolution) expressed her unhappines with the move that gave a two-week reprieve to the fear of government shutdown, stating “I am vowing to vote ‘no’ on future Continuing Resolutions to fund the government unless there is specific language included to defund Obamacare and rescind the funding that has already been appropriated. Defunding Obamacare, along with defunding Planned Parenthood, must be non-negotiable planks in our budget negotiations.”
In an appearance on Meet the Press on March 6, 2011 and during a March 7, 2011 interview with Sean Hannity, Bachmann declared that the Obama administration and the Congressional Democrats had hidden $105 billion in spending in the overhaul of the American Health Care System. She portrayed the Democratic leadership as timing the release of the bill’s text to avoid detection of the spending “We didn’t get the bill until a literally couple of hours before we were supposed to vote on it.” She also stated the spending was split up within different portions of the bill to mask its total cost. Bachmann was alerted of the situation by the conservative Heritage Foundation which read the tallies of the Congressional Research Service and Congressional Budget Office.
Bachmann stated that $16 billion of the money gives Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a “slush fund…[to do] whatever she wants with this money.” She called on the bills supporters to return the money, “I think this deception that the president and [former House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid put forward with appropriating over $105 billion needs to be given back to the people.”
She outlined ideas for changing the health care system, including: “Erase the boundaries around every single state when it comes to health care”, enabling consumers to purchase insurance across state lines; increase the use of health savings
accounts and allow everyone to “take full deductibility of all medical expenses”, including insurance premiums; and tort reform.
Bachmann denounced the government-run health insurance public option, calling it a “government takeover of health care” that would “squeeze out private health insurance”.
Bachmann has stated a strong opposition toward the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pledging at an August 2011 campaign rally, “…I guarantee you the EPA will have doors locked and lights turned off and they will only be about conservation.”**
**In 2007 and 2010, Bachmann was actively soliciting for funds from the EPA on behalf of constituents in her congressional district. 75
In Favor of Allowing Domestic Oil and Gas Production
During the summer of 2008, as national gasoline prices rose to over $4 a gallon, Bachmann became a leading Congressional advocate for increased domestic oil and natural gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the Outer Continental Shelf. She joined 10 other House Republicans and members of the media on a Congressional Energy Tour to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, and to Alaska. The trip was set up by Arctic Power, an Alaskan lobbying group that advocates for ANWR development. The purpose of the trip was to receive a first hand account of emerging renewable energy technologies and the prospects of increased domestic oil and natural gas production in Alaska, including ANWR.
Opposition to “Cap and Trade” of Greenhouse Gases
Bachmann has charged that global warming is a hoax and has been a vocal skeptic of global warming. She has asserted that since carbon dioxide is “a natural byproduct of nature”, it is a beneficial gas required by plant life. In a statement she made on the House floor on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, Bachmann stated she was against the cap and trade climate legislation, stating: “Carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural; it is not harmful…. We’re being told we have to reduce this natural substance to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occurring in the earth.” 80
In March 2009, Bachmann was interviewed by the Northern Alliance Radio Network and promoted two forums she was hosting the next month in St. Cloud and Woodbury regarding Obama’s proposed cap and trade tax policy to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Bachmann said she wanted Minnesotans “armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back.” Bachmann’s office quickly clarified that she was speaking metaphorically, meaning “armed with knowledge.” However, according to the Star Tribune, her quote went viral across the Internet.
Social Security and Medicare Phase-out
Bachmann has called for phasing out Social Security and Medicare: “…what you have to do, is keep faith with the people that are already in the system, that don’t have any other options, we have to keep faith with them. But basically what we have to do is wean everybody else off.”
Opposition to Higher Education Finance Bill
On July 11, 2007, Bachmann voted against the College Cost Reduction and Access Act that would raise the maximum Pell grant from $4,310 to $5,200, lower interest rates on subsidized student loans to 3.4 percent from 6.8 percent, raise loan
limits to $30,500 from $7,500, disfavor married students who file joint tax returns, provide more favorable repayment terms to students who do not use their education to prosper financially and favor public sector over private sector workers with much more favorable loan forgiveness benefits. Supporters of the bill said “it would allow more students to attend college”. Bachmann said her opposition was because “it fails students and taxpayers with gimmicks, hidden costs and poorly targeted aid. It contains no serious reform of existing programs, and it favors the costly, government-run direct lending program over nonprofit and commercial lenders.” The bill passed the House and was signed by President Bush.
Against a Global Currency
On March 26, 2009, following comments by China proposing adoption of a global reserve currency, Bachmann introduced a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to bar the dollar from being replaced by a foreign currency. Current law prohibits foreign currency from being recognized in the U.S., but Bachmann expressed concerns relating to the President’s power to make and interpret treaties. Earlier that month, at a Financial Services Committee hearing, Bachmann asked both Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke if they would reject calls for the U.S. to move away from the U.S. dollar and they replied that they would reject such a call.
In a discussion about the G-20 summit in Toronto, during an interview with conservative radio host Scott Hennen, Bachmann stated that she does not want America to be part of the international global economy.
Personal and Social Policies
Against Commercial Privacy
On June 3, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Credit and Debit Card Receipt Clarification Act (H.R. 4008) into law. The bipartisan bill, which Bachmann cosponsored with Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL), removed statutory damages for violations of a 2003 federal law prohibiting merchants from printing consumers’ credit card numbers and expiration dates on sales receipts, in order to end class-action lawsuits aimed at businesses that violated the law.
Supporting Privacy in 2010 Census
In a June 17, 2009, interview with The Washington Times, Bachmann expressed concern that the questions on the 2010 United States Census had become “very intricate, very personal” and that ACORN, a community organizing group that had come under fire the previous year, might be part of the Census Bureau’s door-to-door information collection efforts. She stated, “I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home, we won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.” According to Politifact her statement was incorrect, as the watchdog group confirmed that the Constitution does require citizens to complete the census. Fellow Republican Representatives Patrick McHenry (NC), Lynn Westmoreland (GA) and John Mica (FL) – members of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census
and National Archives, which oversees the census – subsequently asked Bachmann not to boycott the population count.
Along with Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Bachmann introduced the American Community Survey Act to limit the amount of personal information solicited by the U.S. Census Bureau. She reiterated her belief that the census asks too many personal questions.
Against Mandatory Service in AmeriCorps
In 2009, Bachmann became a critic of what she characterized as proposals for mandatory public service. Speaking in reference to the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, an expansion to AmeriCorps (a federal community service organization), she said in April: “It’s under the guise of—quote—volunteerism. But it’s not volunteers at all. It’s paying people to do work on behalf of government. …
I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.”
The original bill called for an exploration of whether a mandatory public service program could be established, but that entire section on creating a “Congressional Commission on Civic Service” was stripped from the bill.
In August 2009, political opponents of Bachmann publicized in the local media and the blogosphere what they described as the “ironic” fact that her son, Harrison, joined Teach for America,which is a member of the AmeriCorps program.
Against Mandatory Lightbulbs
Bachmann introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, which would require a GAO report show that a change to fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) would have “clear economic, health and environmental benefits” prior to enforcement of lighting efficiency regulations that effectively ban conventional light bulbs. Bachmann argued, “Each light bulb contains between 3–6 milligrams of mercury. There’s a question about how that mercury will fill up our landfills, and also if you break one in your home, you’ll have mercury that instantaneously vaporizes in your home. That poses a very real threat to children, disabled people, pets, senior citizens. And I just think it’s very important that Americans have the choice to decide, would
they like an incandescent or a (CFL)?” Bob Collins of Minnesota Public Radio commented on the debate, noting a Popular Mechanics article which concluded that over the average life span of a CFL, an incandescent bulb could result in the emission of more mercury than an equivalent CFL, even if the CFL was broken, assuming power was generated by “a coal-fired power plant” (which produce about half the electricity the U.S. consumes). However, Collins also noted there is evidence that “[for] some people, CFLs are a health risk” and that the environmental risks of CFLs deserve consideration.
Same-sex Marriage Constitutional Amendment
Bachmann supports both a federal and state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and any legal equivalents. In 2004, the Star Tribune reported that Bachmann said of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, “We need to have profound compassion for people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life and sexual identity disorders“.
Bachmann has identified herself as pro-life and has been endorsed for Congress by the Susan B. Anthony List and Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. 111 At a debate among presidential candidates in New Hampshire, when asked if abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest, Bachmann responded that she is “100 per cent pro-life”. In the state senate, Bachmann introduced a bill proposing a constitutional amendment restricting state funds for abortion. The bill died in committee.
Supports Religion in Public Schools
According to an article in the Stillwater Gazette, a local newspaper in Minnesota, Bachmann supports the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in public school science classes. During a 2003 interview on the KKMS Christian radio program Talk The Walk, Bachmann said that evolution is a theory that has never been proven one way or the other. She co-authored a bill (that received no additional endorsement among her fellow legislators) that would require public schools to include alternative explanations for the origin of life as part of the state’s public school science curricula.In October 2006, Bachmann told a debate audience in St. Cloud, Minnesota “there is a controversy among scientists about whether evolution is a fact or not…. There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.”
Bachmann has praised the Christian youth ministry You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International (YCRBYCH), hailing “the group’s work of sharing the gospel in public schools”. She appeared as a keynote speaker at their fundraisers in 2006 and 2009. Following a 2011 controversial invocation for the Minnesota House, Bradlee Dean (the founder of YCRBYCH), declared that criticisms of him and his ministry were also “intended to harm and destroy the presidential campaign of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann…[who] previously praised and prayed for the work of my ministry”.
Accusations of Anti-Americanism Against Barack Obama
On October 17, 2008, Bachmann gave an interview on MSNBC‘s Hardball with Chris Matthews in support of the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain that brought the Minnesota 6th Congressional District race national
attention. During the interview she criticized Barack Obama for his association with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, saying “…usually we associate with people who have similar ideas to us, and it seems that it calls into question what Barack
Obama’s true beliefs, and values, and thoughts are…I am very concerned that he [Barack Obama] may have anti-American views.” She noted the terrorist bombings done by Bill Ayers and his associations with Barack Obama, saying that “Bill Ayers is not someone the average American wants to see their president have an associationwith.” Matthews responded with, “Why is it of concern? What is wrong with it? When asked by Matthews: “How many Congresspeople, members of Congress fit into that Anti-American crowd you describe?”, Bachmann stated “You’d have to ask them Chris, I’m focusing on Barack Obama and the people he’s associated with”. Matthews followed up by asking “But he’s a Senator from the State of Illinois, he’s one of the members of Congress you suspect of being anti-American. How many people in the Congress of the United States do you think are anti-American? You’ve already suspected Barack Obama, is he alone or are there others?” Bachmann answered, “What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look … I wish they would … I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress
and find out are they pro-America, or anti-America. I think people would love to see an expose like that.”
The five Democratic members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation – Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson and Jim Oberstar – issued a joint statement in which they questioned her ability to “work in a bipartisan way to put the interests of our country first in this time of crisis”. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Minnesota Governor Republican Arne Carlsonsaid that her comments had influenced their decisions to endorse Obama for president.
Bachmann brought up the interview before business leaders and Republicans during a campaign stop in St. Cloud, Minnesota on October 21, 2008. She stated that she never intended to question Obama’s patriotism. “I made a misstatement. I said a comment that I would take back. I did not, nor do I, question Barack Obama’s patriotism…. I did not say that Barack Obama is anti-American nor do I believe that Barack Obama is anti-American …
[But] I’m very concerned about Barack Obama’s views. I don’t believe that socialism is a good thing for America.” However, in March 2010, Bachmann said, “I said I had very serious concerns that Barack Obama had anti-American views. And now I look like Nostradamus” while speaking at a fund-raiser for the Susan B. Anthony List. A year later, in March 2011, Bachmann was asked on Meet the Press if she still believed that Obama held un-American views.
She responded “I believe that the actions of this government have, have been emblematic of ones that have not been based on true American values.” Pressed for clarification, she said “I’ve already answered that question
before. I said I had very serious concerns about the president’s views.”
Iraq War Troop Surge
In January 2007, a resolution was approved in the House of Representatives opposing President George W. Bush‘s plan to increase troop levels in Iraq. Bachmann voted “No”. However, before supporting the proposed surge, Bachmann called for a full hearing, saying, “The American people deserve to hear and understand the merits of increasing U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Increased troop presence is justifiable if that measure would bring a swift conclusion to a difficult conflict.” She hesitated to give a firm endorsement, calling the hearings “a good first step in explaining to the American people the course toward victory in Iraq”. When pressed, she said she had not come to any conclusion on the matter,saying, “I don’t believe we have all of the information in front of us. As a member of Congress that’s why I want to go to Iraq as quickly as I can. I want to get the best information in front of me.”
She has also said that she is “a long time supporter of Israel”.
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