Bachmann gets information in exchange for drink tickets

From MPR’s Brett Neely:

(WASHINGTON)-When Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., offered to buy the entire 11,000-strong crowd at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, a drink, it seemed like an off-the-cuff gesture. Not really, as it turns out.

Instead, the free drink offer gave fellow MPR reporter Mark Zdechlik and I a glimpse inside the savvy Bachmann political machine.

After being given a room number, Mark and I searched the winding halls of Washington’s Marriott Wardman Park hotel looking for Bachmann’s event. Instead of coming across an open bar, we found ourselves in a cramped hallway filled hundreds of young students who make up a large number of the CPAC attendees.

Bachmann staff members asked them to line up and were handing out forms for each to fill out. From a glance at a distance, the forms included information about where the attendees go to school and their email addresses.

After waiting in line, the students were herded into a small room, crowded with more Bachmann staff, photographers and the Congresswoman herself. Each person got a quick photo-op with Bachmann and was then handed a baseball jersey that said “Bachmann 12” on the back, and a free drink voucher good at the Marriott’s lobby bar.

Bachmann jersey.jpg

While many of the Bachmann fans in line are too young to become major political donors, by gathering their email addresses, Bachmann’s organization could be creating a mailing list it can use to recruit volunteers for future campaigns.

Out in the hallway, Mark and I met Heather Murphy from Bedford, PA, who said she, “loves Bachmann,” and especially admires that the Congresswoman, “doesn’t back down.”

When Mark asked Murphy what she thought the meaning of the jersey with the 12 on it was, Murphy said, “it gives me the chills, I’m not gonna lie.”

Murphy said if she were asked, “I would support her, I would wear a volunteer shirt and would pull a late night or two [for Bachmann] as a volunteer.”

That seems like a good deal for Bachmann’s campaign team, and all it cost was the price of a drink ticket.

  • Phyllis Fisher

    Instead, the free drink offer gave fellow MPR reporter Mark Zdechlik and I a glimpse inside the savvy Bachmann political machine.

    Your grammar is incorrect. It should read (and be spoken) …offer gave MZ and ME a glimpse….

    Let’s try to get those facts right. It conveys to many of us that your other facts are also incorrect.

    Thanks from a retired 7th grade

    English teacher

  • Taylor Fast

    Typical liberal bias reporting here from MPR.

    Around a hundred people, including myself, waited in line to get a picture with Rep. Bachmann. We filled out a small sheet that merely had our name and address so she could send us our picture in the mail.

    She did give a free tee shirt and one drink ticket to all that went through this line. This ticket could then be used for a beer, wine, or pop (if you were underage).

    It is no different from you at MPR now having my email for commenting on this post. She needed our address to send us the picture and out of kindness we received a free ticket and shirt. Most speakers at CPAC actually have a full open bar. This is not rare.

  • Kirsten Hilde

    I was the first Michele Bachmann supporter in line and was actually interviewed by Mark Zdechlik. It is very disheartening to read how twisted the event is portrayed in this article.

    As I was walking to her room, I was thinking I would only be able to just shake her hand and say a few words, but it turned out to be much more. I walked into the room and had a professional photo taken. In order to receive the professional picture, I provided my address so it could be mailed to me (what an awesome souvenir from CPAC)! I also received a free Bachmann shirt and a drink ticket. I thought it was a gracious gesture on Bachmann’s behalf to offer the ticket because many CPAC attendees are at the hotel the majority of the day and don’t catch a break to have something to drink. The drink doesn’t have to be alcoholic mind you.

    This article continues to remind me that no matter how generous or kind you are to someone, there’s still an outsider ridiculing. Kudos to MPR for the bias article! They never cease to amaze me.

  • Ralph Crammedin

    @Taylor, you claim bias, but offer no facts or argument to support your claim. Your naiveté is cute, but you should try to have some substance when you make accusations. Everything you wrote supports the reporter’s story.

  • Ralph Crammedin

    @Kirsten, see @Taylor

  • Kirsten Hilde


    I just found the headline to be misleading since the information was actually for receiving the professional picture to be sent to my home. MPR must have forgot to include that in the headline, right, Ralph?