Michele Bachmann: Difference between revisions

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| alma_mater= [[Winona State University]],<ref name=EDU>{{cite web|title = BACHMANN, Michele - Biographical Information|publisher = United States Congress|year = 2008|url = http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=B001256|accessdate = 2008-11-30}}</ref> [[Oral Roberts University]]<ref name=EDU/>, [[College of William and Mary]]<ref name=EDU/>
 
| alma_mater= [[Winona State University]],<ref name=EDU>{{cite web|title = BACHMANN, Michele - Biographical Information|publisher = United States Congress|year = 2008|url = http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=B001256|accessdate = 2008-11-30}}</ref> [[Oral Roberts University]]<ref name=EDU/>, [[College of William and Mary]]<ref name=EDU/>
 
}}
 
}}
'''Michele Marie Bachmann''' (born on April 6, 1956)<ref name=name-birthdate>{{cite web|title = Elections 2008|publisher = Chicago Sun-Times|date = 2008-10-23|url = http://elections.suntimes.com/dynamic/external/pre-election/bios/55336.html?SITE=ILCHSELN&SECTION=POLITICS&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT|accessdate = 2008-10-24}}</ref> is the [[Republican Party (United States)|Republican]] Representative of [[Minnesota's 6th congressional district|Minnesota's 6<sup>th</sup> congressional district]]. She is the third woman and first Republican woman to represent [[Minnesota]] in Congress. She defeated her [[Democratic Party (United States)|Democratic]] challenger, [[Elwyn Tinklenberg]], in the [[United States House of Representatives elections, 2008|2008 election]] in a race that had gained national attention following her controversial televised call for the media to investigate members of Congress for perceived [[anti-American]] bias, including Democratic presidential candidate [[Barack Obama]].<ref>[http://www.startribune.com/politics/state/31812514.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUnciatkEP7DhUsr Minneapolis Star Tribune]</ref> The 6th congressional district includes the northern far suburbs of the [[Minneapolis-St. Paul|Twin Cities]] along with [[St. Cloud, Minnesota|St. Cloud]]. She won 50 percent of the votes in the [[U.S. House election, 2006|2006 election]], defeating [[Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party]] candidate [[Patty Wetterling]] and the [[Independence Party of Minnesota|Independence Party]]'s [[John Binkowski#John Binkowski .28Independence.29|John Binkowski]]. Bachmann served in the [[Minnesota State Senate]] from 2001 to 2007.
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'''Michele Marie Bachmann''' (born on April 6, 1956)<ref name=name-birthdate>{{cite web|title = Elections 2008|publisher = Chicago Sun-Times|date = 2008-10-23|url = http://elections.suntimes.com/dynamic/external/pre-election/bios/55336.html?SITE=ILCHSELN&SECTION=POLITICS&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT|accessdate = 2008-10-24}}</ref> is the [[Republican Party (United States)|Republican]] Representative of [[Minnesota's 6th congressional district|Minnesota's 6<sup>th</sup> congressional district]]. She is the third woman and first Republican woman to represent [[Minnesota]] in Congress. She defeated her [[Democratic Party (United States)|Democratic]] challenger, [[Elwyn Tinklenberg]], in the [[United States House of Representatives elections, 2008|2008 election]] in a race that had gained national attention following her controversial televised call for the media to investigate members of Congress for perceived [[anti-American]] bias, including Democratic presidential candidate [[Barack Obama]].<ref>[http://www.startribune.com/politics/state/31812514.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUnciatkEP7DhUsr Minneapolis Star Tribune]</ref> The 6th congressional district includes the northern far suburbs of the [[Minneapolis-St. Paul|Twin Cities]] along with [[St. Cloud, Minnesota|St. Cloud]]. She won 50 percent of the votes in the [[U.S. House election, 2006|2006 election]], defeating [[Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party]] candidate [[Patty Wetterling]] and the [[Independence Party of Minnesota|Independence Party]]'s [[John Binkowski#John Binkowski .28Independence.29|John Binkowski]]. Bachmann served in the [[Minnesota State Senate]] from 2001 to 2007. She is widely considered to be insane.
   
 
==Early life==
 
==Early life==

Revision as of 12:24, 28 March 2009

Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann, smiling.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th district
Assumed office
January 4, 2007
Preceded by Mark Kennedy
Personal details
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Marcus Bachmann
Residence Stillwater, Minnesota
Alma mater Winona State University,[1] Oral Roberts University[1], College of William and Mary[1]
Occupation Attorney

Michele Marie Bachmann (born on April 6, 1956)[2] is the Republican Representative of Minnesota's 6th congressional district. She is the third woman and first Republican woman to represent Minnesota in Congress. She defeated her Democratic challenger, Elwyn Tinklenberg, in the 2008 election in a race that had gained national attention following her controversial televised call for the media to investigate members of Congress for perceived anti-American bias, including Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.[3] The 6th congressional district includes the northern far suburbs of the Twin Cities along with St. Cloud. She won 50 percent of the votes in the 2006 election, defeating Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate Patty Wetterling and the Independence Party's John Binkowski. Bachmann served in the Minnesota State Senate from 2001 to 2007. She is widely considered to be insane.

Early life

Bachmann grew up in Anoka, Minnesota, graduating from Anoka public high school in 1974. She graduated from Winona State University and later received her J.D. degree from Oral Roberts University and a LL.M. degree in tax law from the College of William and Mary's Marshall-Wythe School of Law.[4]

Involvement in education

Establishment of New Heights Charter School

In 1993, Bachmann joined with other parents in Stillwater to open New Heights Charter School, the first K-12 charter school in the nation (City Academy High School in St. Paul, which began a year earlier as the first charter school in America, starts at an 8th grade level). In Minnesota, charter schools receive public tax money as tax-exempt nonprofits, and are overseen by a public school district. The oversight of New Heights soon encountered problems. Conflicts arose when a concerned group of parents and the school district questioned if money from public tax dollars was going towards inserting Christianity into the curriculum. Minnesota state law prohibits charter schools from using taxpayers' money for teaching religiously-motivated courses. One such parent, Denise Stephens, charges the board of directors of the school (which included Bachmann) with trying to set up classes on Creationism and advocating that "something called '12 Christian principles' be taught, very much like the 10 Commandments." According to Stephens, school officials also refused to allow the in-school screening of the Disney film Aladdin, feeling that it endorsed witchcraft and promoted paganism. With her directors, Bachmann appeared before the Stillwater School Board to address the parents' concerns. Feeling that the criticism was an unfounded personal attack, Bachmann stated, "Are you going to question my integrity?" As the critique continued, Bachmann and four members of her board resigned on the spot – reportedly viewing the whole controversy as stemming from anti-Christian discrimination.[5]

Bachmann denies the charter school involved any controversy on religious curriculum: "My original hope was that it would be a good academically grounded school. There was a disagreement in philosophy about how much we should be taking on at-risk kids."[6]

Opposition to "Profile of Learning" and "School-to-Work" policies

Two of Bachmann's biological children were homeschooled, although some briefly attended New Heights Charter School. It was only when Bachmann was trying to find out why she was having difficulty with the foster children placed in her care that she decided that these problems were the fault of the public school system: "It was the behaviors, trends, attitudes and aspirations (or, in the case of the latter, lack thereof) exhibited by these teens that began to prompt a parental curiosity and concern that would motivate her professional perspective to undergo a new call to consciousness. 'I began to realize as I studied aspects of their assignments that these attitudes and behaviors could be traced to their curriculum,' she explained."[7]

Bachmann soon gained attention in conservative circles with her outspoken opposition to Minnesota's Profile of Learning and School-to-Work policies.

The Profile of Learning was a program of graduation standards in Minnesota. The criticism leveled at its first segment was that it was administered starting at the eighth grade but only required sixth grade competency in math and reading for high school graduation. The other segment of the Profile of Learning was criticized for focusing "on attitudes, values and beliefs of students, rather than on transmitting knowledge".[8]

Minnesota's School-to-Work program was enacted so that Minnesota could get additional federal funds by complying with the School To Work Opportunities Act passed by Congress in 1994 and administered by the Department of Labor. The Act calls for "A program of instruction and curriculum that integrates academic and vocational learning... [with] Instruction in general workplace competencies, including instruction and activities related to developing positive work attitudes, and employability and participative skills."[9]

Opponents of School-to-Work, like Bachmann, see the program as an attack on the two-tiered educational system (where high school students may chose to prepare for either vocational or college preparatory classes to further their post-graduation education). In a 1999 column, Bachmann said: “School-to-Work alters the basic mission and purpose of K-12 academic education away from traditional broad-based academic studies geared toward maximizing intellectual achievement of the individual. Instead, School-to-Work utilizes the school day to promote children's acquisition of workplace skills, viewing children as trainees for increased economic productivity.” She also criticized its cost, seeing it as “a firmly entrenched, egregiously expensive feature of the current K-12 education system.” [10]

Gains support from social conservatives

In 1998, Bachmann's opposition to the "Profile of Learning" caught the attention of the social conservative groups Maple River Education Coalition (now called EdWatch) and the Minnesota Family Institute (MFI). Throughout her political career, Bachmann’s positions have either been informed by or paralleled those of these groups. Both EdWatch and MFI have been strong supporters of Bachmann throughout her political career.

Bachmann's speeches for public education reform increased her visibility in her local district and within the Republican Party of Minnesota.

"Intelligent Design"

While the foster children in her care were attending public schools in the Stillwater School District, Bachmann headed a drive to have intelligent design taught alongside the scientific theory of evolution in science classes. Mary Cecconi, a member of the Stillwater School Board in 1996, recalls: "She wanted to introduce Intelligent Design. And when you hear her talk about Intelligent Design, it makes sense. I believe in giving children all the information out there, too, so they can make their own decisions. But Intelligent Design wasn't even a school of thought, it wasn't even a viable theory."[5][6] It appears that Bachmann dropped this idea in the next stage of her political career, the run for a seat on the Stillwater School Board, for she "denies that she spoke of creationism in the campaign."[6]

Campaigns for school board while speaking for EdWatch

In 1999, under the advice of GOP regional leader Bill Pulkrabek, Bachmann put off her desire for a seat in the State Senate and ran for Stillwater school board. She lost the election, her single electoral defeat.[5]

Minnesota State politics

2000 election for State Senator

In 2000, Bachmann defeated Gary Laidig to secure the GOP endorsement for State Senator for Minnesota District 56. Both sides have different positions on how this was achieved. Bachmann, despite apparent opposition by state GOP leadership, went on to secure the Republican nomination. She then defeated Ted Thompson of the DFL and Lyno Sullivan of the Independence party in the General Election and took her seat in the Minnesota State Senate.

2002 General Election

In 2002, after redistricting, Bachmann was pitted against a fellow incumbent State Senator, Jane Krentz of the DFL. She went on to defeat Krentz in the general election for the seat of the newly drawn District 52.

Rallies at state capitol and Senate leadership promotion/demotion

During her tenure as state senator, Bachmann appeared at and sometimes helped to organize public rallies at the state capitol that received significant media coverage and raised her political profile. She soon established herself as one of the most socially conservative members of the State Senate.

In October 2003, Bachmann was a featured speaker at a “Ten Commandments Rally” at the State Capitol. During the rally, about a dozen speakers call for a return to biblical and Christian principles and for posting the commandments in public schools and buildings. Bachmann was one of three Minnesota legislators who participated in the event, which was broadcast live on evangelical radio station KKMS.[11]

On November 20, 2003, Bachmann and Representative Mary Holberg proposed a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.[12] In 2004, Bachmann and a coalition of religious leaders announced plans for what was billed as a “Minnesota for Marriage” Rally.[13]

On March 22, 2004, an estimated 3,000 people came to the State Capitol to attend the rally. It was the largest demonstration of the season at the statehouse and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty addressed the crowd, speaking in favor of Bachmann’s proposal. The 35 DFL members of the Senate who voted to keep Bachmann's proposal off the floor and instead return it to committee were immediately targeted by people from the rally. The demonstrators were given maps of the Capitol and urged to flood the senators' offices.[14][15]

Sarah Janecek, co-editor of Politics in Minnesota and a Republican activist, claimed that Bachmann had single-handedly ground the Senate to a halt with her demands for a vote on the gay marriage amendment.[16] The regular session of the 2004 Minnesota Legislature ended in a stalemate. Goals sought by both the Senate DFL majority and the House Republican majority, including a bonding bill for state construction projects and a balancing of the budget, were left undone.[17] Bachmann’s efforts to get the same-sex marriage ban on a Minnesota referendum ballot in 2004 ultimately failed.

In November 2004, Republican Senate Minority Leader Dick Day appointed Bachmann as Assistant Minority Leader in charge of Policy for the Senate Republican Caucus.[18]

Bachmann resurrected her proposal for a same-sex marriage ban amendment in March 2005. The earliest the same-sex marriage ban question could have gone on the ballot would have been in the 2006 election. When Bachmann was asked why the Legislature would be asked to vote on the question in 2005, she said: "We're bringing it up now because we hope to get a vote this year and get it over with." Senators Dean Johnson and John Hottinger claimed that Bachmann's reintroduction of the same-sex marriage ban was designed to solidify her conservative base as she bid for Republican Party endorsement for the Sixth District seat in Congress.[19]

In April 2005, the State Senate rejected Bachmann’s proposed amendment again. That same month Bachmann appeared at another State Capitol rally for a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. Though attendance was down from the previous year’s rally, speakers included Bachmann, Governor Tim Pawlenty and keynote speaker Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.[20]

In July 2005, the Republican Caucus removed Bachmann from her leadership position. Bachmann cited “philosophical differences” with Day as the reason for her ouster.[21]

2006 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives

Michele Bachmann

Mark Kennedy, the 6th District's congressman since 2001, announced in late 2005 that he would be running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mark Dayton of the DFL. Bachmann immediately entered the race for the house seat.

Bachmann received support from a fundraising visit in early July 2006 from Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.[22] On July 21, 2006, Karl Rove visited Minnesota to raise funds for her election.[23] In August, President George W. Bush came to town to keynote her congressional fundraiser, which raised about $500,000.[5] Bachmann has also received fundraising support from Vice President Dick Cheney.[24] None of these visits were made within her district, and most of her fundraising came from outside of her district.

The National Republican Congressional Committee put nearly $3 million into the race, for electronic and direct-mail ads against DFLer Wetterling. The amount was significantly more than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent on behalf of Wetterling. However, Wetterling outraised Bachmann nearly 2 to 1 in individual contributions.[5]

During a November 2005 debate sponsored by the Taxpayers League, Bachmann caused controversy by stating, "There is a movement afoot that's occurring and part of that is whole philosophical idea of multicultural diversity, which on the face sounds wonderful. Let's appreciate and value everyone's cultures. But guess what? Not all cultures are equal. Not all values are equal."[25]

According to Bloomberg.com news, evangelical conservative leader James Dobson was “trying to engineer a win for Michele Bachmann” in the 2006 campaign. Dobson's Focus on the Family operatives planned to distribute 250,000 voter guides in Minnesota churches to reach social conservatives, according to Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, a local affiliate of Dobson's group. In addition to Minnesota, Dobson’s group was also organizing turnout drives in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey and Montana.[26]

During a debate televised by WCCO on October 28, 2006, news reporter Pat Kessler quoted a story that appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and asked Bachmann whether it was true that the church she belonged to taught that the Pope was the Anti-Christ. Bachmann stated that her “church does not believe that the Pope is the Anti-Christ, that's absolutely false... I'm very grateful that my pastor has come out and been very clear on this matter, and I think it's patently absurd and it's a false statement.”[27] 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 Anti-Christ identified in Scripture.[28]

Bachmann came under scrutiny by the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) for speaking at Living Word Christian Center (LWCC), a large charismatic church located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.[29] CREW went on to file a complaint with the IRS against LWCC's senior pastor, Mac Hammond.[29][30] CREW took issue with Hammond's using church equipment and facilities to declare "We can't publicly endorse as a church and would not for any candidate. But I can tell you personally that I'm going to vote for Michele Bachmann."[30][31] It was later reported that Hammond does not live in Bachmann's district and could not vote for her.[32] CREW maintains that this was a violation of US tax law 501(c)(3) that says if a church wants to be exempt from paying taxes then "religious leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official church functions." In Bachmann's address at LWCC she said:

"God then called me to run for the United States Congress, and I thought 'What in the world will that be for?' and my husband said 'You need to do this,' and I wasn’t so sure, and we took 3 days and we fasted and we prayed and ...he made that calling sure And its been now 22 months that I’ve been running for United States Congress. Who in their right mind would spend two years to run for a job that lasts two years? You’d have to be absolutely a fool to do that. You are now looking at a fool for Christ. This is a fool for Christ. And in the midst of him making this calling sure, what has occurred now in this particular race is that this Congressional seat out of 435 in the country has become ... it has been one of the top five races in the country, and in the last week this has become one of the top three races in the country, you may have seen how God has in his own will, and his own plan, has focused like a laser beam after this scandal [involving Mark Foley] that came up about a week or so ago. He has focused like a laser beam in his reasoning on this race. The reason why this is one of the top three races is because this race will probably decide which way Congress goes this fall. We could talk more about what that means for this nation, what this means for defeating radical Islam, what this means for what the future of the family is going to be, what this is going to mean for the future of the freedom of religious expression."[31][30][32][33]

CREW characterized Bachmann's talk as "a stump speech wrapped in a sermon".[30] Fellow LWCC pastor Rev. Tim Burt denied this saying that she had been invited to speak about "her spiritual journey" and "There was no intent for this to be a political event."[30] Asked about the IRS complaint, Bachmann's spokeswoman would only say "Living Word was so gracious to invite Michele to speak."[30] The IRS complaint has not been resolved.

On November 7, 2006, Bachmann defeated opponents Patty Wetterling and John Binkowski, taking 50 percent of the vote to Wetterling's 42 percent and Binkowski's eight percent.[34]

110th congress

Committee Assignments

  • Financial Services Committee
    • Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises
    • Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

100-Hour Plan

Bachmann took several positions in opposition to the Democratic majority's 100-Hour Plan. Along with fellow Minnesota Republican, John Kline, Bachmann voted against legislation reinstating the PAYGO rules, which related to the federal budget process.[35] She voted against legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate for lower pharmaceutical prices[36] and against legislation to raise the federal minimum wage.[37]

Iraq War troop surge

Bachmann called for a full hearing of President George W. Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq in January 2007. She said “The American people deserve to hear and understand the merits of increasing U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Increased troop presence is justifiable if that measure would bring a swift conclusion to a difficult conflict.”[38] She "hesitated to give a firm endorsement, calling it instead 'a good first step in explaining to the American people the course toward victory in Iraq.'"[39] When pressed by reporters, she said she had not come to any conclusion on the matter,[39] saying she wanted more information. “I don't believe we have all of the information in front of us. As a member of Congress that's why I want to go to Iraq as quickly as I can. I want to get the best information in front of me.”[40] When a resolution opposing the surge was voted on in the House of Representatives on February 16, 2007, the resolution was approved 246 to 182, with Bachmann voting "No".

State of the Union Address

During the 2007 State of the Union Address, Bachmann was on the aisle in a very visible position in the Chamber and frequently greeted members going into the Chamber. During President Bush's exit from the Chamber, Bachmann clasped his shoulder for about 30 seconds while waiting for a photograph to be taken.[41] Bush signed two autographs for Bachmann and, finally, leaned into Bachmann for a kiss.[42] The encounter received significant press coverage the next day.

Alleged plan for partition of Iraq

On February 10, 2007, during an interview with St. Cloud Times reporter Lawrence Schumacher, Bachmann claimed to know of a plan, already worked out with a line drawn on the map, for the partition of Iraq in which Iran will control half of the country and set it up as a “a terrorist safe haven zone” and a staging area for attacks around the Middle East and on the United States, to be called “the Iraq State of Islam, something like that”.[43] On February 23, Bachmann issued a statement that said that she was "sorry if my words have been misconstrued." In the statement, Bachmann, who declined to be interviewed about what she said on February 10, said “It is difficult to ascertain Iran’s intentions towards Iraq.”[44]

Allegations of improper e-mail use

On March 14, 2007, Bachmann's press secretary, Heidi Frederickson, sent out an email from her government account urging supporters to "take just a moment of your time to write 50–100 words about why your support Michele," and that Bachmann "would appreciate seeing that in the paper."[45] The e-mails ran afoul of House rules regarding the use of congressional resources for campaigning. The e-mails asked constituents to send letters to local newspapers that praised Bachmann's record. Bachmann later said her office reported the incident to the House Ethics Committee.[46]

Opposition to higher education finance bill

On July 11, 2007, Bachmann voted against a bill that would raise the maximum Pell grant for college students from $4,310 to $5,200 by 2011, lower interest rates over five years on subsidized student loans to 3.4 percent from 6.8 percent, and raise federal student loan limits to $30,500 from $7,500. Supporters of the bill said "it would allow more students to attend college."[47] Bachmann said her opposition was because "it fails students and taxpayers with gimmicks, hidden costs and poorly targeted aid. It contains no serious reform of existing programs, and it favors the costly, government-run direct lending program over nonprofit and commercial lenders."[47] The bill passed the House by a 273-149 vote.[47] President Bush signed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 into law on Sept. 27, 2007, increasing the maximum Pell award from $4,310 to $5,400 by 2012. [48]

Member of Congressional delegation

In early July 2007, Bachmann joined a Congressional delegation visiting Ireland, Germany, Pakistan, Kuwait, and Iraq. While speaking to the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker at the embassy in the Green Zone, Bachmann reported that mortar fire warnings went off, "This recorded message played four times while we were there, asking us to move away from any windows, to get on the ground and move to the center of the building.(Crocker) stayed in his seat and kept talking with us the whole time. He never moved."[49] Because of security concerns Bachmann never met any Iraqis, left the Green Zone, or stayed in-country overnight. All members of the delegation were required to wear full body armor, including Kevlar helmets their entire stay in Iraq. Upon her return she said she "was encouraged by reports of progress from Crocker, Gen. David Petraeus and other personnel in Iraq linked to the surge."[49] She said the surge "hasn't had a chance to be in place long enough to offer a critique of how it's working. (Gen. Petraeus) said al-Qaida in Iraq is off its plan and we want to keep it that way. The surge has only been fully in place for a week or so."[49] Bachmann told reporters that she spoke of elements of the Minnesota Army National Guard with Petraeus, He mentioned how pleased he was with their performance, considering they're not regular Army units. He said he didn't believe they'd be redeployed anytime soon."[49]

Bachmann also spoke of the delegations visit to Islamabad, Pakistan to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz at the same time as the siege of Islamic fundamentalists at the Lal Masjid mosque elsewhere in the city.[49] She reported that "The group [of U.S. Legislators] had to travel in armored vehicles and was constantly accompanied by Pakistani military armed with machine guns...We were all able to see extremely up close and personal what it's like to be in a region where fighting is occurring. We constantly felt like we were in need of security."[49] On their return trip, they landed in Ireland due to mechanical difficulties, while waiting for the completion of repairs the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack took place in neighboring Scotland.[49] Bachmann told reporters upon her return that "the dangers posed by Islamic terrorism in Iraq, Britain and Pakistan justified the continued American military presence in Iraq."[49] She said "We don't want to see al-Qaida get a presence in the United States. Al-Qaida doesn't seem to show any signs of letting up. We have to keep that in mind."[49]

Repealing the future ban on incandescent lightbulbs

Bachmann introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, to repeal the nationwide phase-out of conventional light bulbs. She argued that the government has no business telling consumers what kind of light bulbs they can buy:[50] "By 2012, incandescent light bulbs will be no more," Bachmann said. "Fluorescent bulbs are more polluting because of their mercury content. We are working on a light bulb bill. If the Democrats can hose up a light bulb, don't trust them with the country."

She also said, "I was just outraged that Congress would want to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the American people. It struck me as a massive Big Brother intrusion into our homes and our lives."[51]

According to a report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service [52], the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL's) would actually reduce the amount of mercury in the environment, and the danger of mercury exposure from CFL's is minimal.

Consumer protection bill becomes law

On June 3, 2008, the President signed The Credit and Debit Card Receipt Clarification Act (H.R. 4008) into law. The goal of the bipartisan bill, introduced by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL), is to bring an end to frivolous lawsuits aimed chiefly at small businesses.[53]

Introduces legislation to track sex offenders

On July 17, 2008, Bachmann introduced legislation to track sexual predators using a database that had been previously off-limits. The Tracking Registered And Convicted Known (TRACK) Sex Offenders Act would give law enforcement access to the National Directory of New Hires.

The National Directory of New Hires (NDNH) contains records of all new hires, wage reports and unemployment claims in the United States. The database, already used to track down people who fail to pay court-ordered child support, could give law enforcement information on thousands of noncompliant sex offenders.[54]

Campaign for American energy independence

During the summer of 2008 as national gas prices rose to over $4 a gallon, Bachmann positioned herself as a leading Congressional advocate for increased domestic oil and natural gas exploration in ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf. [55]

She joined ten other House Republicans and members of the media on a Congressional Energy Tour to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, and to Alaska to receive a first hand account of emerging renewable energy technologies and the prospects of increased domestic oil and natural gas production in the barren, yet energy rich regions of Alaska, including ANWR.[56]

When the Democrats adjourned Congress for their month-long August recess without addressing the nation’s rising energy costs, Bachmann and House Republicans gathered on the House floor throughout the month to call on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold a vote on energy to combat sky-rocketing energy costs.[57] They spoke with tourists to the U.S. Capitol who were given very unusual access to sit in the House Chamber, a practice typically forbidden by House protocol, as Republicans one at a time told of their plan for American Energy Independence while lambasting the Democrats for refusing to act.[58]

Bachmann introduced four pieces of energy legislation in an effort to lessen the nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy, while also promoting renewable energy alternatives:

H.R. 6715 – Fast Track Shale Act The Fast Track Shale Act would open up U.S. federal lands that contain oil shale, cut red tape binding Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulations for commercial development of this shale, and set in place new research and development that will help foster a better process of extracting this form of oil.[59]

H.R. 6716 – Promoting New American Energy Act of 2008 The Promoting New American Energy Act would accelerate tax depreciation to 3 years for investments in newer, cleaner, more efficient energy technologies to make solar, wind, geothermal, etc., a bigger part of our arsenal of energy options more quickly. The basis for the bill is that a diverse arsenal of solutions will decrease our dependence on foreign oil and curb our gas costs.[60]

H.R. 6717 - Emergency Energy Cut the Red Tape Now Act of 2008 The Emergency Energy Now Act would give the Secretary of Energy the ability to open the ANWR, oil shale reserves, and the Outer Continental Shelf, and streamline the refinery process. And, if the price of oil exceeds $100 a barrel, the Secretary would be required to waive leasing and permitting regulations to open up these energy stores.[61]

H.R. 6953 – The GREEN Act The GREEN Act would authorize the President to review and approve oil and gas exploration, development, and production projects under existing Federal oil and gas leases, both onshore and offshore, and to limit administrative and judicial proceedings with respect to such projects, upon finding that such a project complies with all applicable Federal laws, and for other purposes.[62]

She also filed a discharge petition to release H.R. 6107, the American Energy Independence and Price Reduction Act, for legislative action. With 181 cosponsors, this bipartisan bill which opens the Costal Plain of ANWR and mandates that the Secretary of Interior issue leases no later than 25 months from the date of enactment, deserves consideration by the U.S. House. It would also limit the footprint of development by including environmental regulations and restrictions for drilling.[63] Once signed by a majority of House Members, 218, a discharge petition begins the process of forcing a bill out of a committee for action by the full House.

Opponent of Federal Bailout Programs

Bachmann opposed both versions of the “Wall Street” Bailout bill for America’s struggling financial sector.

She voted against the first proposed $700 billion dollar bailout of financial institutions, which failed to pass 205-228, and instead advocated a plan that would suspend mark-to-market accounting rules that force companies to take losses on devalued assets on an timetable to give investors more confidence. She also advocated for breaking up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, suspending the capital gains tax, and barring executives from excessive compensation or golden parachutes. [64]

Soon after, the U.S. Senate passed a financial bailout package that was later passed in the House. Bachmann once again reiterated her displeasure to what she saw as a “short-sighted” bill that didn’t address the root of the problem – the credit crunch. [65]

Bachmann also opposed the “Big Three” bailout for the American auto industry. The “Big Three” refers to Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors, who approached Congress to ask for roughly $15-billion to keep them operational into 2009. Hesitant to see more taxpayer money go towards what she saw as another under performing industry, Bachmann served up heavy criticism of the bill over fear that this sum of money was only the beginning and that the taxpayer would be hit up for billions more down the road unless the troubled companies actually changed their failing business model. Bachmann supported an alternative to help the American automakers stabilize their industry while they executed long-term restructuring and reorganization. According to Bachmann, her alternative would set hard benchmarks for reducing their debt and renegotiating money-pit deals with Big Labor and would set up the financial assistance as interim insurance instead of a taxpayer-financed bailout. Differing from the proposal that the majority brought before Congress, which she felt nationalized the auto industry, she believed her alternative would maintain an outlet for private investment in the American automakers.[66]

2008 campaign for re-election

Despite fallout from controversial statements that she had made, Bachmann defeated her Democratic opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg in the 2008 election.[67]

At the beginning of the campaign, Bachmann was favored to win because of her incumbency and the general Republican tilt of the district. In October, however, her television appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews, in which she questioned then presidential candidate Barack Obama's patriotism, and called for an investigation into the patriotism of Democratic members of Congress, reinvigorated Tinklenberg's campaign and tightened the race.

Political positions

Bachmann's positions include:

Some of Bachmann's local critics say she could be more accurately described as a Christian fundamentalist politician.[6] Appearing on the radio program Prophetic View In The News to promote her 2004 state capitol rally against same-sex marriage, Bachmann said that "God calls us to fall on our faces and our knees and cry out to Him and confess our sins. And I would just ask your listeners to do that now. Cry out to a Holy God."[76]

In support of a constitutional amendment she proposed to ban same-sex marriage,[70] Bachmann said that the gay community was specifically targeting children and that "our children...are the prize for this community."[76] Bachmann has said that people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender suffer from "sexual dysfunction" and "sexual identity disorders."[77]

Bachmann supports the teaching of intelligent design in public school science classes.[78] During a 2003 interview on KKMS Christian radio program "Talk The Walk", Bachmann said that evolution is a theory that has never been proven, one way or the other.[79] She co-authored a bill that would require public schools to include alternative explanations for the origin of life as part of the state's public school science curricula.[80] In October 2006, Bachmann told a debate audience in St. Cloud, Minnesota, that “there is a controversy among scientists about whether evolution is a fact or not...There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.” [81]

Bachmann has been a longtime opponent of legal abortion. In 2006, Bachmann stated that she would vote to permit abortion in cases of rape and incest.[82] In the Senate, Bachmann introduced a bill proposing a constitutional amendment restricting state funds for abortion. The bill died in committee.[83]

Bachmann is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2008, she opposed H.R. 5767, the Payment Systems Protection Act (a bill that sought to place a moratorium on enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act while the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve defined "unlawful Internet gambling").

In a 2001 article, Bachmann wrote extensively of her belief that the current governments of the United States and Minnesota had plans to end the American "free market economy" and impose a centralized, state-controlled economy in its place. She wrote that education laws passed by Congress in 2001, including "School To Work" and "Goals 2000", created a new national school curriculum that embraced "a socialist, globalist worldview; loyalty to all government and not America."[84] In 2003, Bachmann said that the "Tax Free Zones" economic initiatives of Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty were based on the Marxist principle of "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."[85] She also said that the administration was attempting to govern and run centrally-planned economies through an organization called the Minnesota Economic Leadership Team (MELT), an advisory board on economic and workforce policy chaired by Pawlenty.[85]

Prior to her election to the State Senate and again in 2005, Bachmann signed a “no new taxes” pledge sponsored by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota.[86][87] As Senator, Bachmann introduced two bills that would have severely limited state taxation. In 2003 she proposed amending the Minnesota state constitution to adopt the “Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights” (TABOR).[88] In 2006, Bachmann proposed repealing Minnesota's alternative minimum tax. Bachmann refused opportunities to have TABOR heard when these were offered to her by Tax committee chair, Larry Pogemiller.[89] Repeal of the alternative minimum tax died in committee.[88]

In 2005, Bachmann opposed Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s proposal for a state surcharge of 75 cents per pack on the wholesale cost of cigarettes. Bachmann said that she opposed the state surcharge “100 percent—it's a tax increase.” [90] She later came under fire from the Taxpayers' League for reversing her position and voting in favor of the cigarette surcharge.[91]

Controversies

Calls for armed revolution

On March 21st, in an interview with with The Northern Alliance’s John Hinderaker and Brian Ward on WWTC 1280 AM, Bachmann said "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us 'having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,' and the people -- we the people -- are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States."[92] in opposition to the White House-backed cap-and-trade proposal to reduce carbon emissions. Bachmann described herself as "a foreign correspondent on enemy lines."[93]

On Sean Hannity's radio show, Bachmann said "At this point the American people - it's like Thomas Jefferson said, a revolution every now and then is a good thing. We are at the point, Sean, of revolution. And by that, what I mean, an orderly revolution -- where the people of this country wake up get up and make a decision that this is not going to happen on their watch." and "But where tyranny is enforced upon the people, as Barack Obama is doing, the people suffer and mourn."[94]

Community Reinvestment Act

On September 26, 2008, Bachmann was criticized by the Congressional Black Caucus for reading an article that blamed rule changes in the Community Reinvestment Act for the economic crisis of 2008 on the House floor.[95][96]

However, a conservative commentator has echoed Bachmann's claim that the federal government required banks to lend to lower-income households and in poor neighborhoods to individuals who could not fulfill their long term mortgage obligations.[97]

Calling for the investigation of members of Congress

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. She spoke of Senator Barack Obama's association with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers. Bachmann stated "…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. His attitudes, values and beliefs with Jeremiah Wright on his view of United States, which is negative. Bill Ayers his negative view of 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 is the most liberal Senator in the United States Senate and that's just after one year of being there. …[With Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid] you have a Troika of the most leftist administration in the history of our country."[98] When asked if liberal views are anti-American, Bachmann said "The liberals that are Jeremiah Wright and that are Bill Ayers they are over the top anti-American, and that's the question Americans have. Remember it was Michelle Obama who said she was only recently proud of her country. And so these are very anti-American views. 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 that does not share those values. …I am very concerned that he [Barack Obama] may have anti-American views."[98]

In light of Sarah Palin's comment about "pro-America areas of this great nation", Bachmann was asked which areas are anti-American "I don’t think it's geography. I think it is people who don’t like America, who detest America and on college campuses a Ward Churchill another college campus a Bill Ayers, you find people who hate America and unfortunately some of these people have positions teaching in institutions of higher learning but you’ll find them in all walks of life all throughout America."[98] When asked about the Democratic Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader, Bachmann said "I am not going to say if they are anti-American or pro-American."[98] When asked by Matthews "How many people in the Congress of the United States do you suspect as being anti-American?" she replied "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."[98]

Later in the same show Chris Matthews got reactions from Katrina Vanden Heuvel, co-editor of The Nation, and Pat Buchanan. Vanden Heuvel said "I think what we just heard was a Congresswoman channeling Joe McCarthy... There is an... extremism unleashed in this nation which you just heard on this program, which could lead to violence, and hatred, and toxicity, and against the backdrop of the great depression we're living through...could lead, and I don't use this word lightly, to a kind of American fascism which is against the great values of this nation and which people like that are fomenting."[99] "I think you have a socialist [Vermont Senator] Bernie Sanders who is a left-wing individual he’s not anti-American. You have liberals who are not anti-American." When asked if he thought that there were any anti-American members of Congress he said "No, I don’t know of any." Buchanan contrasted these people with Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, and Ayers, whom he compared to a Ku Klux Klan church bomber.

Reaction

Political commentators soon weighed in on Bachmann's comments. Don Frederick, an editor at the Los Angeles Times, wrote that "before Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was done, she raised the specter of the days of Joe McCarthy."[100]

Minnesota's Senators shared their reactions to Bachmann's statements. Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar said that Bachmann's suggestion was "an outrageous thing to say," that "people were really outraged by what she said," and that "it really hurts us in terms of our national stature with the rest of the world."[101] Republican Senator Norm Coleman said that "I would not label his [Obama's] views as anti-American. Clearly, folks can look at past relationships, but in the end I have a different perspective than that."[102] Other Congressional leaders also took Bachmann to task, Representative Nancy Pelosi said "The Republicans are bankrupt in their ideas. They have no ideas about jobs and education and health care and eliminating our dependence on foreign oil. So what do they do? They question the patriotism of others. I think that a statement of the kind that Congressman Bachmann made dishonors the position she holds and discredits her as a person."[103][104] 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."[105]

Republicans also distanced themselves from Bachmann's comments. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said on NBC's Meet the Press that Bachmann's remarks played a key role in his decision to endorse Obama's presidential bid. He said, "this business, for example, the congressman from Minnesota who is going around saying 'let's examine all congressmen to see who is pro-America, and who is not pro-America.' We have gotta stop this kind of nonsense. Pull ourselves together, and remember that our great strength is in our unity, and in our diversity. That was really driving me, and put this on people like Mr. Ayers, are trivial issues, for the purpose of suggesting that Mr. Obama would have some kind of terrorist inclinations. I thought that was over the top. It was beyond just good fighting back and forth. I think it went beyond."[106] When former Minnesota Governor Republican Arne Carlson released an endorsement of Barack Obama on October 23, 2008, it was reported that he "also took aim at U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, saying that her controversial remarks of the past week suggesting that Obama may have anti-American views, had led him to endorse the Democratic nominee. After hearing Bachmann's comments, he said he telephoned former Vice President Walter Mondale, the Minnesota Democrat, to tell him of his plan."[107] Governor and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin also said she did not agree with Bachmann’s comments. "Well that's quite subjective. I would think that anybody running and wanting to serve in Congress is quite pro-American because that's what the mission is, to better this country, so I would question the intent of that."[108]

Bachmann's comments also had an impact on her re-election campaign. In the 24 hours after her appearance on Hardball, her opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg, received $488,127.30 in new donations[109] and a campaign urging Congress to officially censure Bachmann was launched with over 35,000 signatures in the first 24 hours.[110] In less than 72 hours, Tinklenberg received $740,000 in donations[111] and between Friday night and Monday afternoon he had received more than $810,000.[112] Tinklenberg said that he hears "in that kind of a call echoes of the House Un-American Activities Committee."[113] Minnesota Democratic Party Chairman Brian Melendez said "The last politician who used that term that carelessly was Joe McCarthy, and Michele Bachmann seems anxious to step into his shoes."[114] He also stated "She said what she said and her meaning could not be more clear."[115] Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Doug Thornell said "We’re going up on TV this week and next week and we’re spending over a million dollars [to support Tinklenberg]."[116] In response to her comments, Aubrey Immelman, a Republican who lost to Bachmann in the primary, said he would begin a write-in campaign.[103][117] On October 22, 2008, it was reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee canceled several hundred thousand dollars worth of television advertising time slated for Bachmann's campaign.[118]

Partial retraction

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."[119] Bachmann also said that she was led into the comment by Matthews, "Sometimes you make a decision about going on a show...I probably should have said no to Chris Matthews. I had never seen his show before, I probably should have taken a look at what the show was like...A trap was laid, but I stepped into it."[119] The next day she gave a radio interview with Mike Gallagher where she questioned Obama again: "What are Barack Obama's policies? Are they for America or will they be against traditional American ideals and values? And I'll tell you what, punishing tax rates, redistribution of wealth, socialized medicine, inputting censorship in the form of the un-Fairness Doctrine and taking away the secret ballot from the worker has nothing to do with traditional American values. That's why your listeners need to know. Otherwise the United States may be literally changed forever if Barack Obama becomes the next president."[120] She also stated that her campaign is "desperate for financial help."[120] Two weeks after the election, Bachmann denied making the comments at all, telling Alan Colmes of FOX News Channel, "It's an urban legend."[121]

After Obama's election, Bachmann said that she was "extremely grateful that we have an African-American who has won this year" and that Obama's election was “a tremendous signal we sent."[122]

Electoral history

See also

References

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  117. ^ http://www.startribune.com/local/31273994.html?elr=KArks8c7PaP3E77K_3c::D3aDhUoaEaD_ec7PaP3iUiacyKUU
  118. ^ http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/10/national_gop_pulling_financial.php
  119. ^ a b Pat Doyle (October 22, 2008). "Bachmann: 'I made a misstatement'". Star Tribune. 
  120. ^ a b Tim Pugmire (October 23, 2008). "Bachmann says America may be 'changed forever' if Obama elected". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  121. ^ "Obama Makes Attorney General Choice". November 18, 2008. 
  122. ^ Jim Rutenberg (November 8, 2008). "Harsh Words About Obama? Never Mind Now". New York Times. Retrieved 11/10/08.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

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