Bachmann's campaign implodes -- anti-Americans run wild

Jake Turcotte

That sound you heard? It's the sound of Michelle Bachmann's campaign falling apart.

The Washington Post's Chris Cizzilla summarizes it right in his blog entry today called, "Bachmann Goes Boom!"

Who is she?

Who is Michelle Bachmann? A Republican Congresswoman from Minnesota. She was in a relatively safe district. All signs were that she would win re-election. All she had to do was run out the clock.

Instead, she appeared on Chris Matthews' show "Hardball," which is the equivalent of running the ball when all you have to do is take a knee. She obviously does not know who Joe Piscarcik is.

Be cool

Matthews can get pointed on his program and may just egg you on -- wanting you to say something that will get repeated five billion times. But you don't have to acquiese. You don't have to give him a soundbite you'll regret. Or many soundbites you'll regret.

But in a pretty fair conversation (judge for yourself -- see video below) when the two were discussing Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers, Matthews said to Bachmann, "You believe Barack Obama may - because of this relationship - have anti-American views?"

"Absolutely. I'm very concerned that he [Obama] may have anti-American views," she said.

Digging deeper

But she didn't stop there.

Matthews asked her, "How many in the Congress of the United States do you think are anti-American? You already suspect Barack Obama -- is he alone or do you think there are others?"

You can't tell at this point if she knows she's already stepped in it. There doesn't appear to be a deer-in-the-headlights or as the saying goes this year, a moose-in-the-headlights reaction.

"The news media should do a penetrating expose ... on the views of the people in Congress and find out if they're pro-America or anti-America," she answered.


Her opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg was the immediate recipient of this interview raising more than $800,000 since that remark. That's Obama-like money.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Tinklenberg's fundraising efforts over the last few days have eclipsed the total amount of money he pulled into the campaign for the entirety of the third quarter.


As Cillizza points out, these remarks have changed the course of the race.

And, the Cook Political Report -- one of the most highly respected handicappers of Congressional races and The Fix alma mater -- moved the race (subscription required) from likely Republican to toss up yesterday.
Of the race, Cook House editor David Wasserman wrote: "Bachmann's comments likely changed the complexion of her reelection race overnight and helped to turn the race into even more of a referendum on her."

Crisis communications

Not afraid of television cameras, she went back on the air Sunday morning -- this time on appeared on WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, and was asked about her Hardball statement on Obama.

Not immediately backing down from the remark, she said the issue is about "the associations that Barack Obama has" before calling on the media once again to investigate Obama's views, relationships, and associations.

On an Obama presidency she said the public should expect tax increases, socialized medicine, a $40 trillion climate change tax, and the removal of the secret ballot during labor union organization votes.


But what about the anti-American views that she said Obama harbors?

"I'm not saying his views are anti-American," she said. "That is a misreading of what I said. I don't believe that that is my position. I'm calling on the media to take a look at what his views are. Because I think they've had an appalling lack of curiosity."

More clarification

She appeared on John McCaslin's "Inside the Beltway" radio program yesterday to further clarify her point of view.

"It is amazing to me how the wind tunnel and spin can go around and around in an echo chamber," she said. "And this is simply a lie. I did not question Barack Obama's patriotism, I did not say he was anti-American."

Remember him?

Governor Tim Pawlenty, a short-lister for VP a couple months ago, spoke out about the controversy yesterday and stood in the safest spot possible -- right in the middle.

"I don't think it's fair or appropriate to suggest that Barack Obama is anti-American," he said. "If you do a lot of interviews, eventually you are going to say something that you wish you had said differently. It's just the nature of talking all day."

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