Fact-checking Bachmann

Politico is carrying a rebuttal today from Rep. Michele Bachmann on her appearance on Hardball on MSNBC last week.

Fact checking here is pretty easy.

“I never called all liberals anti-American,” the piece is titled. That’s true. She didn’t. She was even asked specifically whether Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were unamerican. She declined to say they were. But she also declined to say they weren’t.

“I never questioned Barack Obama’s patriotism.”

That’s false. Saying one is “concerned” that he may hold anti-American views is a question. It may not be an answer, but it is a question.

“I never asked for some House Un-American Activities Committee witch hunt into my colleagues in Congress.” – True she asked the media to do it.

  • This is a shameful and biased distortion of what Rep. Bachman said. And we have *always* been at war with Eurasia.

    Big Brother gon’ git ya …

  • Paul Loveland

    It’s a thoroughly accurate description of what she said. If you watch the video, the exchange went like this:

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

    BACHMANN: Absolutely. I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views

    It’s on video. You can’t deny she said it. And she is clearly raising a question as to Obama’s patriotism.

  • MR

    The full official transcript isn’t available yet, but one money line is here

    at Hardball

    It sure sounds like she said about what Bob claimed…

  • JohnnyZoom

    Bob parsed it pretty well in another thread, and answered most of the rebuts here in the hypothetical there.

    A useful skill this certainly must be, to be able to firmly say one thing to one audience while at the same time allowing oneself the technical freedom to point out that, no that’s not what I said, to another audience. I should have been a politician; I do that more than once on my job and I’d be out the door.

  • The interview looked to me like she was trying to smear feces without getting poop on her hands. What does “may” have anti-American views mean? She wanted to maintain some deniability.

    Her repeated mentioning of his “friends” or “associates” as evidence of his anti-American views. Guilt by association. She need not level any accusations outright, just suggest them. Again, she could deny the smear.

    Cheap, Congresswoman. Cheap.

  • Mike R

    According to the rebuttal Bob linked to, Bachmann knows her constituents are actually concerned about real issues like the economy.

    That being the case, why is she wasting our time talking about investigating “un-American” representatives, and holding press conferences about how terrible the media is, instead of talking about real issues?

  • Bob Collins

    I think you’ve hit on the potential significance, Mike R. That Bachmann is pushing back, signals that the interview has been political damaging.

    At the same time, however, it was interesting to note — as David Brauer did today — that she wouldn’t make herself available to the Pioneer Press to talk about the issue, but wrote her piece for Politico.

    So I guess the question is whether she’s concerned — if she’s concerned at all — about her fate in the 6th District, or on the national stage?

  • mike C

    I listened to entire interview onMidday.She clearly stated what she is reported to have said, and she clearly demonstrated her stupidity, bias and disregard for the issues that are important in this election. Hopefully the 6th district will send her home and we can end this embarassment to the state

  • To be more serious about this:

    If she said, “I’m sorry, I mis-spoke. I should have been more careful. What I meant to say was …” and then some lame excuse, it would be OK. As it now stands, I do think that she will be un-elected and probably has hurt Coleman’s close race in the process.

    The issue here is pride – a willful arrogance that has her making very stupid statements and then trying to pretend they never happened. We know from Ventura that making stupid statements alone isn’t a big deal, but Shakespeare made a living out of the kind of hubris Bachman is displaying.

  • MR

    Bachmann has made a habit in her career of saying/doing something stupid and then trying to claim that she was misquoted, and she’s always gotten out of it. This time though, it seems that she crossed the line (and was videotaped doing it).

  • Listen to the ENTIRE exchange. Michelle Bachman clearly and repeatedly was asked, and clearly and repeatedly focussed her responses directly on Obama and clearly and explicitly linked “leftist” and “liberal” with “anti-American.” She was asked pointed questions (the show is called Hardball), and she took great pains to answer slowly and definitely. She wanted people to hear that Liberal=Leftist=Anti-American=Obama and then to “draw their own conclusions.” I don’t think she was being misunderstood or that what she said was in any way unclear. My conclusion after listening to the entire thing: Michelle Bachman is anti-Minnesota…actually that’s a joke. But her comments are very closed-minded, I don’t respect her after hearing this interview, and I do not think the media is misinterpreting her statements by saying that she was trying to call liberals and people who have “leftist” views are, in her words, “anti-American.” It seems that the failing tactic of the RNC right now is to try to divide the country and capture votes based on the fallout from the wedge they are trying to drive between voters. While I see Obama as trying to win, I do not see him as trying to divide the country, and I see his approach as very American and I’d be proud to call him our president.

  • Ove

    It is about time that some one said, “if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck- it’s probably a duck!”

    This partisan incumbent has finally been noted as being the ideolog she is. Her fear mongering tactics hiding behind a smile may have gotten her elected last time, but after only one term she has a record of hate driven votes that she can not run away from.

    Attention is finally being given to “what” she is saying instead of “how” she is saying it. This is a glimmer of hope that America “might” be waking up and demanding accountability from its representatives.


  • bsimon

    It appears to this observer that Rep Bachmann is now getting the scrutiny she should have received in her last race. Her somewhat peculiar views are nothing new; her Friday statement is not at all surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention. That doesn’t seem to include the majority of voters in the 6th, who now are given the opportunity to undo the mistake they made in ’06.

  • Betsy W

    Ms. Bachmann is an embarrassment to to this state, and to me, personally, as a Minnesota citizen, and she has been ever since I first heard of her. It’s terribly unfortunate for the state and the country that we have (it’s hard to even write this) “elected officials” spouting off the way she does.

  • I wrote a song in ’04 about being labeled Unamerican for believing in and practicing American values (specifically dissent, a hallmark of democracy). It’s called “(Didn’t Know I Was) Unamerican and it seems as relevant today as when it was written.

    Didn’t Know I Was Unamerican

  • Bob Collins

    // clearly and explicitly linked “leftist” and “liberal” with “anti-American.”

    We’ve been over this many times now and there are a fair number of people who’ve said I’m wrong when I say she didn’t say liberals are unAmerican. They’ve all said “listen to the interview.” I’ve listened to the interview, I’ve posted the transcript.

    What I need now is for the people to say she DID say that to post the quote in which she did.

    Of course, I’m not saying she doesn’t believe one thing or another, I’m saying what she actually SAID. The two might be very different.

  • JSmith

    Actually Bob, she did say it, although indirectly. She slyly used various argumentative fallacies such as “begging the question” (also this) in order to attempt to convince those that would be swayed by these types of arguments to believe the unstated position through implication.

  • hughie

    It’s embarrassing to have something this stupid coming out of someone purporting to represent Minnesota. Sigh.

  • Monique

    Isn’t it interesting how Bachmann is looking more and more like Sarah Palin? And talking like her, too?

  • What part of “Absolutely” wasn’t absolute in her statement?

  • Bob Collins

    //Actually Bob, she did say it, although indirectly.

    Then she hinted at it, suggested it etc. She didn’t say it and that’s why she could — technically can say she didn’t say it. What she can’t say is she didn’t hint at it.

    //What part of “Absolutely” wasn’t absolute in her statement?

    Any answer that doesn’t fit the question is irrelevant, so I guess the answer is “all of it.” The question she said “absolutely” to was do you think Obama MAY have unAmerican views. The word “may” is not an absolute.

    See, this is why old headline writers — and there aren’t many left — have a commandment that says NEVER put the word ‘may” in a headline: because if something MAY… something also MAY NOT.

  • Dana Sparks

    How sad and embarrassing – Alaska has Sarah Palin and we, in Minnesota, have Michele Bachmann! Hardly the role models we want for our daughter. Well, hopefully, neither will be in the spotlight much longer!

  • CommonSenseRambler

    I guess this proves you just hear what you want to hear.

    I heard she was concerned. I heard she wanted the media to look into it. I heard her challenge the media to do their jobs. I heard she thinks there is a possibility (based on solid evidence).

    I did not hear she said any of the things many bashers claim she said. She never said Obama or any other lawmaker was or is anti-american. She carefully made sure to NOT say those things and repeatedly said that is NOT saying she believes that, only that she is concerned and the media should investigate.

    It’s time to get off your high horse and learn to listen. You are putting Mathews words in Bachmanns mouth.

    Not too smart

  • Pesky


    So then, I can say to my boss tmorrow; “Boss, You MAY be an idiot. Someone should look into it.” and that’s all okay?

    Clearly, Bachman meant to imply that she thought there was reason to believe Obama was anti-American. If not, why should “the media” look into it?

  • Don Evanson

    A hearty thank you to Representative Bachmann for her forthright comments and handling of Chris Matthews on Hardball. The mainstream media has largely misrepresented the dialogue, but that is to be expected of its extreme bias to the left.

    It is right that she raises questions about the views of Obama and of members of Congress. There are too many that blame America first, rather than to celebrate its goodwill.

    Hopefully those that are able are making contributions to her campaign to counter the effect of the reportedly largely online contributions to her opponents campaign. Online contributions to leftist candidates, especially those to the Obama campaign are largely suspect as to their source, many of which are reported to be exceeding legislated contribution limits and many from foreign nationals, both serious illegalities. The left has gone mad with the funds generated through the largese of our system of democratic capitalism that they despise.