Michele Bachmann: Difference between revisions

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==Early life==
 
==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 [[Juris Doctor|J.D.]] degree from [[Oral Roberts University]] and an [[LL.M.]] degree in tax law from the College of William and Mary's [[Marshall-Wythe School of Law]].<ref>Minneapolis Star Tribune. [http://www.startribune.com/topics/politics/michele_bachmann.html "Michele Bachmann news, bio, blogs and issues"]. Accessed December 3, 2008</ref>
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Bachmann grew up in [[Anoka, Minnesota]], graduating from Anoka public high school in 1974. Her step sister, Helen LaFave, is a lesbian. She graduated from [[Winona State University]] and later received her [[Juris Doctor|J.D.]] degree from [[Oral Roberts University]] and an [[LL.M.]] degree in tax law from the College of William and Mary's [[Marshall-Wythe School of Law]].<ref>Minneapolis Star Tribune. [http://www.startribune.com/topics/politics/michele_bachmann.html "Michele Bachmann news, bio, blogs and issues"]. Accessed December 3, 2008</ref>
   
 
Bachmann has 5 children and was a paid foster care provider for 23 foster children.
 
Bachmann has 5 children and was a paid foster care provider for 23 foster children.

Revision as of 18:30, 13 August 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 & Mary Law School[1]
Occupation Attorney

Michele Marie Bachmann (born on April 6, 1956)[2] is the the United States House Representative of Minnesota's 6th congressional district and member of the Republican Party. 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.

Early life

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

Bachmann has 5 children and was a paid foster care provider for 23 foster children.

Bachmann's husband, Marcus Bachman, is a clinical therapist in Minneapolis and a Christian counselor whose practice reportedly includes "curing" gay people.

Early career

Educational activism

Throughout the 1990s Bachmann worked on a local level on various educational issues including charter schools, intelligent design, and School-to-Work policies.

In 1993, Bachmann joined with other parents in Stillwater to open New Heights Charter School. The oversight of New Heights soon encountered problems 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. 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. Along with other directors, Bachmann appeared before the Stillwater School Board to address the parents' concerns. Bachmann asked, "Are you going to question my integrity?" As the meeting continued, Bachmann and four members of her board resigned.[5][dead link]

Bachmann was also an outspoken opponent to Minnesota's Profile of Learning and School-to-Work policies. 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.”[6]

Minnesota State politics

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.[clarification needed] Bachmann 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. 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.

On November 20, 2003, Bachmann and Representative Mary Holberg proposed a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.[7] In 2004, Bachmann and a coalition of religious leaders announced plans for what was billed as a “Minnesota for Marriage” Rally.[8] 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[9] In April 2005, the State Senate rejected Bachmann’s proposed amendment again.[10]

In November 2004, Republican Senate Minority Leader Dick Day appointed Bachmann as Assistant Minority Leader in charge of Policy for the Senate Republican Caucus.[11] In July 2005, the Republican Caucus removed Bachmann from her leadership position. Bachmann cited “philosophical differences” with Day as the reason for her ouster.[12][dead link]

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 states she was called to run for the seat by God, and that she and her husband fasted for three days to be sure.[13]

Bachmann received support from a fundraising visit in early July 2006 from Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.[14] On July 21, 2006, Karl Rove visited Minnesota to raise funds for her election.[15] 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.[16]

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]

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.[17]

Religion in the 2006 campaign

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 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 also organized turnout drives in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey and Montana.[18]

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.”[19] 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.[20]

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.[21] CREW went on to file a complaint with the IRS against LWCC's senior pastor, Mac Hammond.[21][22] 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."[22][23] It was later reported that Hammond does not live in Bachmann's district and could not vote for her.[24] 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."

Fellow LWCC pastor Rev. Tim Burt said Bachmann had been invited to speak about "her spiritual journey" and "There was no intent for this to be a political event."[22] Asked about the IRS complaint, Bachmann's spokeswoman would only say "Living Word was so gracious to invite Michele to speak."[22]

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

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.”[25] 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.'"[26] When pressed by reporters, she said she had not come to any conclusion on the matter,[26] 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.”[27] 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".

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."[28] 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."[28] The bill passed the House by a 273-149 vote.[28] 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.[29]

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."[30] 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."[30] 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."[30] 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."[30]

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.[30] 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."[30] 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.[30] 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."[30] 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."[30]

Incandescent lightbulbs

Bachmann introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, to repeal the nationwide phase-out of conventional light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescent light bulbs. She argued that the government has no business telling consumers what kind of light bulbs they can buy:[31] "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."[citation needed]

Tort reform

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.[32]

Energy issues

During the summer of 2008 as national gas prices rose to over $4 a gallon, Bachmann became a leading Congressional advocate for increased domestic oil and natural gas exploration in ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf.[33] 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. The trip was setup by Arctic Power, an Alaskan lobbying group that advocates for ANWR development. The purpose of the trip was to receive a first hand account of emerging renewable energy technologies and the prospects of increased domestic oil and natural gas production in Alaska, including ANWR.[34]

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. 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.[35]

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. Bachmann criticized the bill over fear that the initial sum of money would be followed by subsequent ones without the companies making changes to revive their business. According to Bachmann, her alternative would set hard benchmarks for reducing their debt and renegotiating labor deals and would set up the financial assistance as interim insurance instead of a taxpayer-financed bailout.[36]

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."[37] 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."[37]

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."[37] 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."[37] 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."[37]

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."[38] "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."[39]

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."[40] 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."[41] 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."[42][43] 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."[44]

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."[45] 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."[46] 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."[47]

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 nearly $450,000 in new donations from over 9,000 donors[48]. In less than 72 hours, Tinklenberg received $740,000 in donations[49] and between Friday night and Monday afternoon he had received more than $810,000.[50] Tinklenberg said that he hears "in that kind of a call echoes of the House Un-American Activities Committee."[51] 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."[52] He also stated "She said what she said and her meaning could not be more clear."[53] 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]."[54] In response to her comments, Aubrey Immelman, a Republican who lost to Bachmann in the primary, reentered the race as a write-in candidate.[55][56] 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.[57]

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."[58] 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."[58] 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."[59] She also stated that her campaign is "desperate for financial help."[59] Two weeks after the election, Bachmann denied making the comments at all, telling Alan Colmes of FOX News Channel, "It's an urban legend that was created."[60]

2008 campaign for re-election

In 2008, Bachmann won re-election over her Democratic and Independence Party endorsed opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg. With all precincts reported, Bachmann won 46.41% to 43.43%.[61] Because Tinklenberg was running as a DFLer in the Democratic primary this allowed candidate Bob Anderson to run in the Independence party primary unopposed despite not having the Independence endorsement. Anderson received 10% of the vote.

At the beginning of the campaign, Bachmann was favored to win because of her incumbency and the heavy 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, calling his views anti-American, and called for an investigation into the patriotism and anti-American views of members of Congress, reinvigorated Tinklenberg's campaign and tightened the race. It also caused the NRCC to pull funding for Bachmann.

111th Congress

Committee assignments

Global currency

On March 26, Bachmann introduced legislation that would bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency. Current law prohibits foreign currency from being recognized in the U.S., but Bachmann's legislation would address concerns relating to the President's power to make and interpret treaties.[62] Earlier that month at a Financial Services Committee hearing, Bachmann asked both Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke if they would reject calls for the U.S. to move away from the U.S. dollar and they replied that they would reject such a call.[63]

Global warming

In regards to the science of climate change, Bachmann has taken to the floor to claim that since carbon dioxide is "a natural byproduct of nature", it is actually a harmless gas. She stated that because life requires CO2 and it is part of the life cycle on Earth it cannot be harmful. Bachmann is against the cap and trade carbon tax because "Carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural; it is not harmful...We're being told we have to reduce this natural substance to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occuring in the earth." [64]

Swine flu

On Monday April 27, in the midst of the 2009 swine flu outbreak, Bachmann stated on conservative media outlet Pajamas TV that the last swine flu outbreak in the U.S. occurred under "another Democrat President", Jimmy Carter, and that she was not blaming President Obama for the outbreak but that she found it to be an "interesting coincidence". Contrary to her statement, the previous swine flu outbreak occurred while Republican President Gerald Ford was in office.[65]

2010 Census

Michele Bachmann, in an interview with The Washington Times, said that she will only fill out the number of people in her house during the 2010 Census. She said the questions have become "very intricate, very personal" and she also fears that ACORN, the community organizing group that came under fire for its voter registration efforts last year, will be part of the Census Bureau's door-to-door information collection efforts. She is quoted as saying "I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home, we won't be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn't require any information beyond that."[66]

Three House Republicans on the subcommittee overseeing the 2010 Census are asking Michele Bachmann to reverse her decision to boycott the national population count, i.e. representatives Patrick McHenry (N.C.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) and John Mica (Fla.), members of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Achieves.[67]

Minnesota Star Tribune published (27 June 2009) an editorial in which it was noted that census results will determine the number of Minnesota seats in the House of Representatives. It was proposed that census results could theoretically produce one seat less than the current situation, and this could conceivably mean disappearance of Michele Bachmann´s own district.[68]

Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann introduced the American Community Survey Act to limit the amount of personal information solicited by the US Census Bureau. [69] According to Bachmann, the census asks too many questions. [70]

Allegations of inciting violence

On March 21, 2009, Bachmann did an interview with The Northern Alliance’s John Hinderaker and Brian Ward on WWTC 1280 AM promoting two forums she was hosting the next month in St. Cloud and Woodbury regarding President Obama's proposed cap and trade tax policy to limit green-house gas emissions. Bachmann said she wanted Minnesotans "armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back." She then told listeners that Thomas Jefferson told us that "having a revolution every now and then is a good thing." According to the Star Tribune her quote went viral across the internet. Bachmann's office quickly clarified that she was only speaking metaphorically, meaning "armed with knowledge."[71][72]

AmeriCorps

In 2009, Bachmann referred to the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, an expansion to AmeriCorps, a federal community service organization with the quote "What's even more concerning about it is his focus is on young people. The original language of the bill [Americorps] was mandatory service for government, right now, the language is voluntary, but just this last week, a Democrat colleague introduced a bill to make this mandatory. I believe when it's all said and done, this service - I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums. It's very concerning, it appears that there's a philosophical agenda behind all of this." There are no provisions for government sponsored political 're-education camps,' whether mandatory or voluntary.[73][74] Republican Senator Orrin Hatch called the bill "probably the most bipartisan bill we will see on the Senate floor this year." Nothing in the legislation was mandatory.[75]Bachmann's son, Harrison Bachmann, recently joined Teach for America (TFA), one of the programs under the AmeriCorps umbrella.

Jon Tevlin: Bachmann's son up and joins AmeriCorps By JON TEVLIN, Star Tribune

Last update: August 12, 2009 - 12:09 AM

Health Care

Bachmann has denounced a public health option as a "government takeover of health care" and compared it to Cuba. In 2009, she ranked eighth of 435 members of congress in campaign contributions from donors in the insurance industry. She received $50,900, more than any other of her industry donors.[76]

Political positions

Bachmann's positions include:

Some of Bachmann's local critics say she could be more accurately described as a Christian fundamentalist politician.[86] 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."[87]

In support of a constitutional amendment she proposed to ban same-sex marriage,[79] Bachmann said that the gay community was specifically targeting children and that "our children...are the prize for this community."[87] Bachmann has said that people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender suffer from "sexual dysfunction" and "sexual identity disorders."[88]

Bachmann supports the teaching of intelligent design in public school science classes.[89] 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.[90] 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.[91] 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.”[92]

Bachmann has been a longtime opponent of abortion. In 2006, Bachmann stated that she would vote to permit abortion in cases of rape and incest.[93] In the Senate, Bachmann introduced a bill proposing a constitutional amendment restricting state funds for abortion. The bill died in committee.[94]

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."[95] 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."[96] 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.[96]

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.[97][98] 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).[99] However, then Tax Chair Larry Pogemiller wrote in constituent correspondence that Bachmann had refused several opportunities for hearings.[100] In 2006, Bachmann proposed repealing Minnesota's alternative minimum tax. Repeal of the alternative minimum tax died in committee.[99]

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.”[101] She later came under fire from the Taxpayers' League for reversing her position and voting in favor of the cigarette surcharge.[102]

References

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  101. ^ Patricia Lopez, “Pawlenty proposes cigarette 'user fee'”, Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 21, 2005.
  102. ^ Taxpayers’ League of Minnesota, “Are High Cigarette Prices Making You Angry?”, 2005.

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