Fact-checking Bachmann’s retirement

A good point comes from Washington Wire, the Wall St. Journal’s political blog.

In her video today announcing she’s not running for re-election, Rep. Michele Bachmann noted, “the law limits anyone serving as president of the United States for more than eight years.”

There is no such limitation in years.

Consider Lyndon Johnson, for example. Had he chosen to run for re-election and won in 1968 and served his full term, he would’ve been president for about 9 years. Had Gerald Ford beaten Jimmy Carter and then won a re-election, there was nothing stopping him from being president for almost 10 years except the voters who didn’t want him.

What the Constitution actually says is no person can be elected president more than twice:


No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

  • Pat

    Leave it to Michele. She can’t even get the facts straight when she “retires”. Thanks for posting this.

  • jon

    Man, if only there were a group of people who were elected to create/change/update laws… a group like that would be able to adjust laws (or in this case put it to the states to adjust the laws).

    Alas all we have is legislatures that state “the law is” for the laws they agree with, and assume that it was written in stone (and try dozens of times to repeal the ones they disagree with with the assumption that they were written on toilet paper.)

  • Justin

    I am not a fan of Bachman, but let’s not be nit-picky on the technicalities. That’s just being petty.

  • Grace

    Seriously? Yes, she said “eight years,” but anyone who knows Constitutional law knows that the Presidency is limited to two, four-year terms (4+4 still equals 8). Logistically, it may be closer to nine years from election to inauguration, sure, but give her a break! If she were overly-specific for all your technicalities, it would have been an eighty minute video.

  • jacku

    The fact is that there is a length limit in the amendment. Its 10 years. That said I agree with those who would claim this to be a very small nit to pick.

  • JSK

    If anything, I think this just reinforces how fast and loose Bachmann has always played with the facts. Or, more precisely, with her “facts”.