Coleman rejects Bachmann’s view on Obama’s ‘Americanism’

(Please be sure to read the comments section for a parsing of Rep. Bachmann’s statements.)

At a time when his campaign strategy has tacked to the middle, Sen. Norm Coleman is distancing himself from controversial remarks made by Rep. Michele Bachmann about Sen. Barack Obama.

“I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views,” Bachmann said on MSNBC on Friday.

“I would not label his views as anti-American. Clearly folks can look at past relationships but in the end I have a different perspective than that…. In the end the voters will decide,” Coleman said on WCCO TV this morning.

Speaking on the same program after Coleman, Bachmann denied saying Obama was unamerican, “I view his views are’concerning,’ I’m not saying his views are anti-American; that’s a misreading of what I said. I’m calling on the media to take a look at what he’s said.”

Here’s the transcript of the MSNBC statement:

REP. BACHMANN: It’s important because we look at the collection of friends that Barack Obama has had over his life, and 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 — his attitudes, values and beliefs with Jeremiah Wright on his view of the United States —

MR. MATTHEWS: Okay —

REP. BACHMANN: — which is negative; Bill Ayers, his negative view of the United States. We’ve seen one friend after another. It calls into question his judgment, but also what is it that Barack Obama really believes? And we know that he’s the most liberal senator in the United States Senate, and that’s just after one year after being there. He’s the most liberal. Joe Biden is the third most liberal. You’ve got Harry Reid who’s liberal, Nancy Pelosi who’s liberal.

MR. MATTHEWS: Right. What’s the connection?

REP. BACHMANN: You have a troika of the most leftist administration in the history of our country.

MR. MATTHEWS: If you have liberal views, does that mean you have anti-American views? What’s the connection? I don’t get the connection. What’s the connection between liberal and leftist and anti-American?

REP. BACHMANN: Anti-American is the point, because —

MR. MATTHEWS: I mean, if you’re liberal, are you anti-American?

REP. BACHMANN: Well, the liberals that are Jeremiah Wright and that are Bill Ayers, they’re over-the-top anti-American. And that’s the question that Americans have. Remember, it was Michelle Obama who said she’s only recently proud of her country. And so these are very anti-American views.

MR. MATTHEWS: Okay.

REP. BACHMANN: That’s not the way that most Americans feel about our country. Most Americans, Chris, are wild about America, and they’re very concerned to have a president who doesn’t share those values.

If Chris Matthews would learn to be quiet after asking a question, the exchange might’ve been clearer.

  • Carolynn

    Michelle Bachmann is a lunatic and I can understand why every thinking Republican is running in the opposite direction. Apparently she hasn’t gotten the party message this week.

  • George Hayduke

    Are you kidding, Collins? Covering for Bachmann because Chris Matthews did what any self-respecting journalist would do when faced with an interview subject like that?

    Bachmann: “Anti-American is the point.” Isn’t that clear enough for you? Get a grip and have another cup of coffee, Bob.

  • Bob Collins

    I don’t know how you translate it as covering for Bachmann, but whatever. I’m just pointing out that had Matthews kept his mouth shut, it looked to me like Bachmann was about to answer in a way that would not give her any deniability at all.

    As it is, she has it. Technically, she did not say Obama is unAmerican and in politics, you only need a technicality.

    He had already asked the question, and by reasking it.

    “Anti-American is the point because….” she started to say, and then Matthews asked the question in a different way that allowed her to shift to a riff on Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers.

    You may not like it, you may even want to make me the bad guy, but that’s what he did regardless of how much coffee I had.

  • Mia

    Unlike McCain/Palin, who whip their supporters into a frenzy with their constant hate speech and then pretend they can’t understand why their crowds yell “Terrorist” and “Kill Him”, Obama always says, “Don’t boo, just vote.”

    Or, in this case, if you can’t vote, then donate money. I live in Florida, and I’ve sent Bachmann’s opponent $10. Everyone can afford $5 or $10 bucks.

    Watching Bachman’s surreal rant on Hardball was literally the most frightening thing I’ve EVER seen on TV in my entire lifetime! Are we witnessing a new era of McCarthyism? She actually referred to liberals as “anti-American” and called for an investigation of Congress to search for and root out anti-American elected officials.

    Add this to Sarah Palin’s incendiary comments that Obama “pals around with terrorists” and the McCain Campaign’s new robo calls claiming that Obama “worked closely” with a terrorist whose radical group “killed Americans” and you have a recipe for the next great American witch hunt and a call to violence against Obama and other “leftist” (anti-American) leaders.

    This is very dangerous rhetoric!!! Every American should study McCarthyism, read the Crucible, and send $$$$$$ to Bachman’s opponent (Tinklenberg) as soon as possible. Seriously, do it now! And, while you’re at it, send as much $$$$$$$$$ as you can to Obama to help him fight the smears. I just sent $50

  • Bob Collins

    U//She actually referred to liberals as “anti-American” and called for an investigation of Congress to search for and root out anti-American elected officials.

    But here’s the deniability thing. She did not say that liberals are unAmerican or anti-American. When she was asked that question she said, “Well, the liberals that are Jeremiah Wright and that are Bill Ayers, they’re over-the-top ati-American.”

    That’s her deniability here. She said liberals like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright are unAmerican.

    Why do I not think she was saying liberals are anti-American? Because she didn’t say it. She may think it. She didn’t say it. When she was asked specifically about Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi — they’re certainly liberals — she said, I’m not going to say that they’re anti-American or pro-American.”

    The controversy there isn’t that she said they were unAmerican, it’s that she wouldn’t say they were PRO-American. And Esme Murphy failed to properly parse her speech in order to hold Bachmann accountable for what she DID say, offering her an opportunity to point out what she DIDN’T say.

    Bachmann’s most telling statement, though, was one that nobody is talking about. Chris Matthews asked whether it was a fair statement to say that Barack Obama feels America “is so imperfect that he pals around with terrorists.” Bachmann said it was a fair statement. But it was initially uttered by Sarah Palin. So Bachmann saying it was a fair statement didn’t break any new ground in outrageousness.

    She was asked if she thinks Obama MAY have unAmerican views and she said “absolutely.” In her denial on TV today she said she did not say Obama was anti-American. She said he MAY be.

    That’s the slippery nature of politicians who can now run against the media by saying “they’re saying I said he was unAmerican and that’s not true.” And, technically, she’s right. She said he MAY be.

    If Matthews had asked if Bachmann thinks Obama IS unAmerican rather than may be unAmerican, he might well have gotten the same “absolutely” answer.

    //” and called for an investigation of Congress to search for and root out anti-American elected officials.

    No, she didn’t, at least not in the sense of the McCarthyism you described.

    What she said was:

    “I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look.”

    McCarthyism wasn’t the news media doing an investigation, it was the government. Bachmann did not call for a government investigation of Congress.

    Look, what she said was controversial and she should be called to account for what she said. But the narrative that has come from what she said isn’t entirely accurate. Clearly Bachmann took it right to the edge, but in many ways it was the retelling of the story that pushed her completely over the line. There is plenty there for an anti-Bachmann person to salivate over. Adding the missing elements in the retelling allowed her to claim denability, and shift the focus.

    Now I realize that the blogger world will now come me a shill for Michele Bachmann and that’s their right. I like to think I’m a shill for accuracy in public discourse. “Close enough” doesn’t cut it with me.

    Oh, one final point. As I wrote this week, Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin, John McCain and every other Republican are wrong in acting like they were the ones who make the connection between Ayers and Obama. They can thank Hillary Clinton — a liberal — for that.

  • Bonnie

    Now that Colin Powel has referenced her comments, (although he referred to a congressman from MN…which makes it even more interesting to me because he couldn’t possibly know Bachmann…) she is going to have a more difficult time claiming she is being treated unfairly by reports. She may technically have deniability, but what difference is it going to make now?

  • paul

    Good politicians know how to answer questions, Bob. In this case, it’s not Matthews’ fault that Bachmann went there. Whether he shut his mouth, as you’d have preferred, or not, Bachmann did the damage here.

  • I’m trying to reconcile your parsing of Bachman’s statements with your recent call for civility in political discourse and having a difficult time getting the two into sync.

    There are at least two criteria that you can judge public discoures by: accuracy and civility. I think your comment does a reasonable job of arguing for accuracy. On the level of accuracy it may be true that Bachman only said Obama may be anti-American.

    But on the level of civility I think it’s clear that calling a political opponent anti-American isn’t very civil and certainly doesn’t help to tone down the level of the campaign.

    I find Bachman’s comments offensive because they are uncivil. She mentions three words repeatedly in her interview – liberal, leftist, and anti-American. She obviously thinks these three words are important and that they have some connection to the current political scene. She may not accuse Obama directly of being anti-American but the human mind never works based purely on accuracy. The juxtaposition of the terms is as important as the literal accuracy of what she says.

    What confuses me is the standard you are trying to set for the media and for politics. As a member of the media you are critical of politics and call for civility one week and then turn around and are a stickler for accuracy the next week.

    So my question for you is what virtue are you really trying to promote? Civility or accuracy.

    I’m betting that you will want to pick both and that’s fine. We can and should have both. So the question after that is whether you think Bachman’s speech is civil or not? I’ve given my reasoning above and am curious to hear yours.

    P.S. Thanks for writing a great blog. It’s one of my daily reads.

  • Bob Collins

    It won’t make any difference but if news people don’t know EXACTLY what she SAID, they’ve got nothing when a politician replies, “I didn’t say that.”

    It’s only then, usually, when folks go back and take a look at what she said and by then, the interviewee is gone and the opportunity is lost.

    Some of my colleagues in the business DO believe that ‘close enough” is close enough, that what we THINK she meant is a proper substitute for the LITERAL translation of what she said.

    If you know the LITERAL translation of what she said, you have much more ability to explore what she meant than if you say she said something, and then allow her to use the “I didn’t say THAT” defense.

  • DN

    Not long ago did Bachmann say that the housing crisis was caused by African Americans owning homes. With this new one on anti-Americanism, I am left to wonder; well this woman seems to be speaking from the heart whenever she is out of words to spin a situation. I truly believe that this is how she thinks and feels; which is disheartening given that she is a representative of a majority of the sixth district. It is about time she gave up her seart for Tinklenberg, someone who is reasonable and does not hold radical “hate” views about people that do not share his opinions.

  • Bob Collins

    // Bachmann did the damage here.

    It’s not an either-or. For example, look how many people have repeated the claim that Bachmann said liberals are unAmerican.

    But, yeah, it does fall to Matthews that Bachmann has deniability on the issue. And look what happened because Matthews said “may” in the question, gave Bachmann complete deniability of saying Obama IS unAmerican.

    Today, the questioner asked her to defend her comments, which she did. But the question that needed to be asked isn’t what she said, it’s what we interpret that to mean.

    So the question is a simple one: Yes or No. Do you believe Obama is unAmerican? Not this stupid “may be unAmerican” nonsense. Do you think he IS.

    Now the questioner on Friday DID ask whether liberals are unAmerican. She didn’t say “no”. She didn’t say “yes.” But in the retelling of the story, she said “yes.” Only she didn’t.

    So she needed to be asked again, yes or no, do you think liberals are unAmerican.

    This has been a really bad year for questioners demanding the questionee answer the question.

  • Unfortunately, I don’t think most viewers or voters make these kinds of fine distinctions that give Bachmann plausible deniability. The spirit of what she said, and what perhaps both lefties and righties wanted to hear, is that Obama and liberals are anti-American. She said the news media should do a penetrating exposé on whether members of congress are pro-America or anti-America – those are stark choices.

    I’ve been interviewing people attending Norm Coleman’s bus tour stops around the state, and some of them say on camera that Obama is straight-up not American, that he’s Marxist, socialist, and so on – and the people nearby nod their heads and agree emphatically.

    This kind of rhetoric is damaging, and we be responsible and condemn the tone of these accusations.

  • Bob Collins

    //This kind of rhetoric is damaging, and we be responsible and condemn the tone of these accusations.

    I think there’s merit to that observation, of course. “Tone” to use Coleman’s own word, is lit like a fuse in politics and the people take it from there.

    How would you compare what the people at Coleman’s rallies or bus stops have been saying in comparison to the rhetoric you heard while you covered the protests during the RNC?

  • Bob Collins

    //What confuses me is the standard you are trying to set for the media and for politics. As a member of the media you are critical of politics and call for civility one week and then turn around and are a stickler for accuracy the next week.

    //So my question for you is what virtue are you really trying to promote? Civility or accuracy.

    Civility and accurately are not mutually exclusive.

    The way you “get” a politician to pay for incivil discourse is to hold them accountable for their actual words. If we challenge Michele Bachmann to explain what she meant when she said Barack Obama was unAmerican or that liberals are unamerican, that effort is entirely undermined by not knowing exactly what it is she said.

    So when she says “I didn’t say that” there’s no place else to go and a politician wriggles off the hook for the tone that Chuck noted earlier.

    An accurate reading of what Bachmann said, however, would’ve yielded the questioner the means to ask a question that could expose the politician for what she DID say.

    I’m not saying that Bachmann’s “tone” was correct, I’m saying that in order to explore that “tone” you have to know exactly what she said so that you can probably hold THAT up to the light.

    The most powerful words a politician can utter are, “Really? Prove it!”

    Every question a newsperson asks, should first anticipate that answer.

    Armed wtih that, you can then turn around and say right back to Michele Bachmann: Really? Prove it. Hang the politicians on the words they actually say, not on the ones you think they mean. Ask Jon Stewart how well that works. (g)

    By the way, on the same show this morning, Dean Barkley was called to account for saying Norm Coleman should be indicted — a statement has has not made its rounds much. He said it was in the heat of the moment after Norm “had just take a cheap shot at me.” The questioner let that go, too, apparently oblivious to the fact it wasn’t the FIRST time Barkley made that assertion; it was the second time he said Congress should be indicted or would be indicted if they were anybody but Congress. Armed with that knowledge, one could ask — as I am now — How can the heat of the moment last for 10 days?

  • If I ever go back into Political Science (unlikely), I would continue studying how/where/why people get the information that influences their political views.

    You asked about the tone of RNC protests vs. Coleman bus stops. It’s a bit like apples, oranges, and probably cranberries. A lot of RNC demonstrations were about peace and positivity, but perhaps the most vocal were anti-lots-of-things. Cheney in effigy.

    A small town diner is obviously a very different setting. Nobody holding signs, just rural Minnesotans with quietly held views. You have to talk to them and probe to get at some of their views. In some cases they closely echo conservative radio talking points and campaign talking points, but without the “may be” or “concerned about” — simply “he is.”

    I’m interested in following that chain of information – tace it back through negative ads, through talk radio, through robocalls, and yes – public officials going on television insinuating anti-Americanism knowing the message will get through.

  • Bob Collins

    I think for those of us still in the business of news, the most depressing aspect of politics is finding out uninformed people are. Much of that over the years, of course, has been placed at the feet of the media, but much of it belongs with the interest — or lack of same — in people being informed.

    It’s always been true, I suppose, that people will believe what they want to believe, but in recent years that’s hit a crescendo.

    In that environment, there’s just no room for intelligent dialogue.

    That’s why the question I’d ask every politician — and have — is “when’s the last time you talked to someone with a different view from the one you held, and walked away with a different opinion or even a slightly changed one.”

    In 35 years in the business, I’ve never had a politician who could answer the question.

    The only difference now is I’ve never had a person on the street who can answer that question, either.

  • Joel

    If Bachman wants an investigation of “anti-Americanism” I propose it start and end with herself.

  • Joel

    Sorry Bob, I guess I should say, “if Bachmann wants the media to do an expose of unpatriotic Congress members, the media should start (and end) with her.” But who determines what does and does not count as patriotism?

  • bsimon

    Given the enormous boost to Tinklenberg’s fundraising since the interview in question, I can only hope that Rep Bachmann has indeed created the means by which she will suffer electoral defeat. That Matthews might have given her wiggle room instead of more rope may not matter, by the time Nov 4 rolls around.

  • Grace

    Collins,

    you got the transcript incomplete. geez, obviously, you’re covering up for Ms. Bachmann. I watched the interview, again and again, and she clearly stated that she thinks that Mr. Obama’s views are concerning because it maybe Anti-American. And that the media should do an “expose” to know who in Congress are Pro-America and Anti-America.

    Here’s another part of the conversation that you conveniently forgot to include in this article:

    ========================

    MR. MATTHEWS: So this is a character issue. You believe that Barack Obama may — you’re suspicious because of this relationship — may have anti-American views. Otherwise it’s probably irrelevant to this discussion.

    REP. BACHMANN: Absolutely.

    MR. MATTHEWS: So you believe it brings into —

    REP. BACHMANN: I absolutely —

    MR. MATTHEWS: So you believe that Barack Obama may have anti- American views.

    REP. BACHMANN: Absolutely. I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views. That’s what the American people are concerned about. That’s why they want to know what his answers are. That’s why Joe the plumber has figured so highly in the last few days —

    MR. MATTHEWS: Okay. I’m not going to get off this.

    =====================

    I advice to everybody that if you haven’t seen it yet, you watch the interview in YouTube. Just search “Matthews Bachmann” for you to believe the kind of hate and vitriol coming from this woman’s mouth.

  • GregS

    Ms. Backmann has a point.

    There are two questions that the Obama campaign and the press have not been forthcoming on.

    1) Why didn’t Barak Obama distance himself from people like Mr. Wright and Mr. Ayers?

    2) Why didn’t Barak Obama deal with the issue honestly? Why did he try to conceal his relationship with Mr. Ayers?

    When the Wright issue hit, Mr. Obama tried to slide around the issue by repudiating some of Wright’s more outlandish remarks, then AND ONLY WHEN the public learned just a whacko Wright was, with blisteringly stupid and hateful anti-American statements like “the CIA created AIDS to kill black people” did Mr. Obama pull the plug on Wright.

    As for Mr. Ayers, Obama claimed he only knew him casually, from sharing work on a charity…THEN we find out that Mr. Obama launched his political career in Mr. Ayers living.

    Obama has consistently lied to the American people to cover up his association with people who clearly are Anti-American (I mean, what do you call trying to bomb the nation’s capital building, if not Anti-American)

    The real question with Obama is – who is he?

    Is he a guy who will flip loyalties on a political whim?

    If so, we are safe, if not we are in big trouble as a nation.

  • GregS

    Sorry, one of my paragraphs above should read.

    “As for Mr. Ayers, Obama claimed he only knew him casually, from sharing work on a charity…THEN we find out that Mr. Obama launched his political career in Mr. Ayers living room.

  • GregS

    Just search “Matthews Bachmann” for you to believe the kind of hate and vitriol coming from this woman’s mouth.

    Isn’t this just a case of shooting the messenger?

    Ms. Backmann did not force Barak Obama to sit in a church pew and listen to hate and vitriol for twenty years, but you point the finger at her rather than Obama.

    Why?

    Ms. Bachmann did not launch her political career in the living room of an unrepentant terrorist. Why is she being held to a different standard than the candidate who did?

    Face it.

    If McCain attended a racist church for twenty years or hung around with an unrepentant abortion clinic bomber, this conversation AND THE CONVERSATION IN THE PRESS would be vastly different.

    I think we need to think deeply about this double-standard and begin to ask some hard questions of ourselves and the press.

  • Bob Collins

    I say it again, Greg, because you didn’t address it the last time around. The Ayers association was not something that was uncovered by the Republican Party. It was something that was unearthed and publicized by the media and then used by Hillary Clinton.

  • brian

    GregS,

    Do you think liberals are un-american?

  • GregS

    Yes, the Ayers story was released months ago, but the fact that Obama lied about the association is new news.

  • GregS

    Do you think liberals are un-american?

    Brian, that depends on what YOU define as “liberal”.

    Personally, I would not define or defend someone who built and exploded bombs as liberal. Nor would I define anyone who fled from the US after planting bombs to a country that was recently invaded by the Soviet Union (check you history on this one).

    The problem we have is whether someone who launches their political career in the home of an unrepentant terrorist – is a liberal.

    I think Barak Obama should quit decieving the country and address this issue head on.

  • GregS

    Bob, you did not address a question I raised repeatedly.

    Do you honestly believe that if John McCain launched his political career in the living room of an unrepentant abortion clinic bomber that the press, especially public broadcasting, would be treating the issue the same?

    There is absolutely no way that would be the case.

  • Bob Collins

    Yes. Above all else, the media loves a good story. Bill Clinton being a Democrat didn’t stop ’em from spending years on Whitewater or Monica Lewinsky.

    Frankly, if your theory is true, we’d be hearing nothing but Charles Keating by now. And, yes, I realize Charles Keating is not a terrorist.

    The “running against the media” is a tried and true method of campaigning and deflecting issues. I realize that. I also realize it works.

  • GregS

    I agree that “running against the media” is a good ploy but then the media brought much of this upon itself.

    Case in point: Charles Keating or shall we say Obama’s Charles Keating, in the name of our local boy James. A. Johnson.

    Mr. Johnson (where is the MPR stories on this?) was a former board member of HealthPartners, Target and CEO of Fannie Mae and good buddy to our own Walter Mondale.

    At HealthPartners, Mr. Johnson engineered the largest excessive compensation award in history, $1.4 Billion (that’s billion with a ‘B’) to William McGuire. He also awarded himself $400 million for sitting on the board.

    If Mr. Keating had only been so greedy!!!

    Again this speaks directly to Mr. Obama’s social and political judgment. In other words who he hangs out with.

    Why did he select Mr. Johnson to vet his vice president? Why is Mr. Johnson STILL hanging around Mr. Obama’s campaign?

    Inquiring minds want to know……

    But then only the National Inquirer and FOX really covered this story.

  • GregS

    Need I mention Tony Rezko?

    John McCain was sanctioned 20 years ago for staying at Charles Keating’s house. Mr. Obama used Mr. Rezdo, a since convicted influence peddler, to BUY his house.

    Where is the Senate investigation on this?

    Again, the double-standand.

  • brian

    It almost seems like it is too close to the election to talk civily about bias. Talking about liberal media bias helps conservative candidates and dismissing it helps liberal ones. This close to the election the desire for your candidate to win gets to be overwhelming. This can easily make us brush aside the rational among us (i.e. Bob), whereas usually we would at least concede that they have a point.

  • MH

    I think the funniest thing about what Bachmann did or didn’t say is the fact she keeps opening her mouth and bringing such scrutiny upon herself. She is trying to get re-elected, and here she is questioning if Obama is anti-American in front of a national audience, and doing it so poorly, with her painted on smile.

    If I was a member of her party, I’d muzzle her. (Oh the visual imagery!) After her embarrassing display on Larry King where she couldn’t ask a simple question about Palin’s qualification to be VP — a question mr. softball asked twice, shockingly — you would think somebody, anybody, associated with the party would tell her to keep her painted-on smile off national television. Watching Carville try to keep from laughing was priceless.

    If she was a Wisconsin rep, I’d love her rhetoric. Given she’s from my state, I’m embarrassed.

  • GregS

    And of course MH, it is people like Ms. Bachmann who are paraded out in front of the media, rather than the kooks who sit opposite her in Congress.

    Ever wonder why you do not see Keith Ellison paraded out on Larry King just prior to an election?

    Or, who were those Democrats who went to Iraq on Saddam’s nickel?

  • Jay S.

    We don’t see Keith paraded, period. The party is too smart for that.

  • Bob Collins

    //And of course MH, it is people like Ms. Bachmann who are paraded out in front of the media,

    Looking at her national talk/news show schedule, I think you may be inappropriately using passive voice.

    Larry King clearly views Michele Bachmann as a rising star.

    (adding 1:43 p.m.) – She appears to be interested in a higher national profile and in many ways she’s a Midwestern Sarah Palin and that’s quite attractive to the Republican Party base. A lot of anti-Bachmann pundits are saying her comments are hurting her re-election chances. In the 6th District, she might well pick up as many votes as she loses.

  • bsimon

    “Ever wonder why you do not see Keith Ellison paraded out on Larry King just prior to an election?”

    He’s too predictably boring as a guest. When’s the last time Rep Ellison made up a theory about an agreement to divvy up Iraq into al Qaidaistan? When’s the last time he accused members of congress of being anti-american?

    If you’re in the business of selling advertising time, do you think you’ll attract more viewers with a politician that faithfully toes the party line, or one that makes up random stuff that most rational people will recognize as pure lunacy?

  • bsimon

    “We don’t see Keith paraded, period.”

    Not true. We don’t see him paraded domestically, but the State Dept found it extremely helpful to have a Muslim serving in our Congress. Rep Ellison has been helping the State Dept in the battle to win hearts & minds of the moderates in the mideast who are open to evidence that we’re not actually fighting a religious war over there.

  • Jennifer B

    I think the bigger underlying issue regarding all these accusations coming out of the republican camp aren’t that they try to convince us that their opponents are wrong, but they seem to try to convince us that their opponents are something we should be scared of, that will rip apart the very fabric of out society.

    It’s one thing to claim someone is wrong when it comes to policy, it is quite another to paint someone with terms such as “anti-American”, “pals around with terrorists”, and “sees America differently than we do.” Judging from what I’ve seen in the campaigns this year, McCain (as well as some other republicans) are trying to portray themselves as people who can work across the aisle and bring both parties together. It’s hard to believe that will happen when we’re hearing things like this. Statements like Michele Bachmann’s undermine that greatly.

  • LOL

    What I like is that all sorts of rhetoric can be tossed out to deflect the topic, but nobody will deny the fact she’s a national embarrassment to Minnesota. Just like Michelle, you can change the subject by commenting about Ellison or asking topic-changing questions, but you can’t deny she’s an embarrassment. Thanks for proving my point. I’m out like Michelle’s credibility.

  • Laughing louder

    We don’t see Keith paraded domestically. But if he’s paraded internationally, but we don’t see it, somehow we do? You say it’s not true we don’t see Keith paraded, yet you contend he is. Well, let me re-phrase: I, meaning me, don’t see Keith paraded. That is true. If he is paraded elsewhere, it is wisely out of my view. That’s because his party is smart, Michelle’s is not.

  • Michele in Maine

    She’s been on Hardball several times. Each times I’ve been amazed at what she says and I have wonder what the people are like that voted her into office!

  • GregS

    Again, if this were a story about John McCain launching his political career in the living room of an unrepentant abortion clinic bomber, we wouldn’t be discussing the Congression Representative who called it into question.

    There is one set of standards in the press for conservatives and another for liberals.

    As for un-American, I hope we can at least agree that the Ayers family (Bill and Bernadine) are in trueist meaning of the word un-American.

    I mean, they did literally declare a state of war on Ameria in 1970.

    Would you launch your political career in the living room of a couple who had declared war on the United States?

    Think about it.

  • GregS

    Here is what Bernadine Dorn wrote in 2006.

    Her violent Marxism is still very much in evidence. Why isn’t the press reporting on that?

    Very simple — Marxist fundamentalism is hip, Christian fundamentalism is unhip, reporters like to think of themselves as hip.

  • Bob Collins

    //reporters like to think of themselves as hip

    I must remember this the next time I put on the corduroys (which will be this morning, actually).

    I figure it’s the best way to hide my anti-Americanism.

  • brian

    Greg,

    The reason people aren’t paying attention to the Ayers connection is that most people don’t think there is much of a connection. Un-American views don’t rub off because you sit next to someone on a panel, or even by sitting next to someone in their living room. I’m sure John McCain has sat in the living room and taken money from plenty of shady people. All politicians do. Talking about the Bill Ayers connection obviously isn’t working. Why keep talking about it? Do conservatives have nothing better to persuade the American people with?

    “we wouldn’t be discussing the Congression Representative who called it into question.”

    If all Michelle Bachmann had brought up was Bill Ayers, nobody would be talking about it. She implied that there are people with un-american views in Congress. That is what people are talking about.

  • GregS

    Bob, I think we are talking about those tight-fitting blue jeans, not the corduroy. 🙂

  • GregS

    Brian,

    I am sure that the people in your circle take violence lightly. I mean hey, what’s the big deal about a little war on America anyway.

    And no, John McCain doesn’t hang around the living rooms of people who plant bombs.

    He’s smarter than that.

  • Bob Collins

    Observation. The main talking point for the Ayers connection always mentions the word “living room.” Why? Where does that reference come from? Are we sure it wasn’t the kitchen, or the parlor, or the family room? Why does the reference always include mention of the “living room?”

  • JohnnyZoom

    >> Why does the reference always include mention of the “living room?”

    I think I saw a Mike Barone column in which he had an apparent quote of Obama describing the event and mentioning the living room. Barone isn’t above occasional myopathy but I doubt he would misquote like that. That leaves his source, did it get it right?

    But perhaps more importantly, did Obama really mean that room, or was it a generic reference for being at a really small and cozy get-together? At the end of the day, I don’t feel the mentioned room itself makes a lot of difference. The hanging of hats on small, made in passing, and, frankly, irrelevant, comments by rabid echo chambers is far from unprecedented. And goes both ways (ask Gov. Palin)

  • GregS

    From the blog in Politico written by Ben Smith.

    “Dr. Quentin Young and another guest, Maria Warren, described it similarly: as an introduction to Hyde Park liberals of the handpicked successor to Palmer, a well-regarded figure on the left.

    “When I first met Barack Obama, he was giving a standard, innocuous little talk in the living room of those two legends-in-their-own-minds, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn,” Warren wrote on her blog in 2005. “They were launching him — introducing him to the Hyde Park community as the best thing since sliced bread.”

  • GregS

    I note that FactCheck.org, though it claims to be “non-partisan” as late as October 10, 2008 neglected to mention this “launch” in the living room of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorn, even though it has been out there for anyone with a link to Google to see.

    I guess even FactCheck.org is pulling for Obama and spinning the facts to cover up his failure to level with the American people about who and what he is.

  • GregS

    More on the event. From the Obama-friendly Chicago Sun-Times

    “*The Ackermans, Sam and Martha, longtime Hyde Park activists in independent Democratic politics, also held an early event for Obama in their condo on E. Hyde Park Boulevard. (They have since divorced.)

    Sam Ackerman told me Tuesday when we exchanged e-mails that “as I recall, the event at Bill Ayers’ house (prior to ours) was a fund-raiser for Alice’s congressional campaign at which she also introduced Barack as the successor she would like to see elected.”

    If Ackerman’s recollection is correct–that the event at Ayers home was really for Palmer and Obama just piggy backed on it–then any argument that the Obama’s political career was launched in the Ayers home is moot.”

    ======

    Wait a minute. If the event was for Palmer, why hold an event for a RETIRING politician, if not to do exactly what she did — lauch Obama?

    Obviously, the spin-machine is in full-cycle.

    Obama should have done two things.

    #1 Stayed the hell away from terrorists.

    #2 if having failed #1, admitted it rather than relied on his surrogates and the press to spin it away.