A collection of newsworthy information as reported from newspapers, magazines, and blogs.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The One Who Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

The United States Representative of Minnesota's 6th congressional district.  The 6th district includes the northernmost and eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities along with St. Cloud which is 65 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Bachmann states she was called by God to run for the seat, and that she and her husband fasted for three days to be sure.  She is currently running for reelection against Minnesota State Senator Tarryl Clark.

Bachmann is a member of a church that is part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, whose doctrine teaches that the Roman Catholic papacy is the Antichrist identified in Scripture.  Bachmann was involved in anti-abortion activism.  She and her then-fiance Marcus were inspired to join the pro-life movement by Francis Schaeffer's 1976 Christian documentary film, How Should We Then Live?. They frequently prayed outside of clinics and served as sidewalk counselors in an attempt to dissuade women from seeking abortions. 

On November 20, 2003, Bachmann and Representative Mary Liz Holberg proposed a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. In 2004, Bachmann and a coalition of religious leaders announced plans for what was billed as a "Minnesota for Marriage" rally. Bachmann’s efforts to get the same-sex marriage ban on a Minnesota referendum ballot in 2004 ultimately failed. Bachmann resurrected her proposal for a same-sex marriage ban amendment in March 2005.   In April 2005, the State Senate rejected Bachmann’s proposed amendment again.  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 Bachmann from her leadership position. Bachmann cited "philosophical differences" with Day as the reason for her ouster.

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 questions what Barack Obama's true beliefs, and values, and thoughts are...I am very concerned that he [Barack Obama] may have anti-American views." 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."

Some political commentators, including Don Frederick, condemned the statements, and Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar also condemned them. 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 called Bachmann's comments "embarrassing" and 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 Carlson said that the comments led to their endorsing 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 appeared to contradict herself when she stated "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.

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