On at least three occasions Michele Bachmann has announced that she is in the running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. On the one hand, she seems to be a legitimate grass roots pundit and a superb activist, but on the other hand, she may be in well over her head in the real world of politicians and candidates for high office.
Bachmann, a third term House member from Minnesota, ran into more than she could handle when she agreed to be interviewed by FoxNews anchor Chris Wallace last Sunday. Bachman opened with a mantra, saying, “The people know about me, they know I say what I mean, I’m a fighter…,” all good, but some would say lacking in substance. She went on, “I’m very sincere in what I say. And I will fight, whether it means taking on Washington, even sometimes my own party.”
Wallace saw an opening, and didn’t hesitate, “By implication, are you suggesting that Mitt Romney [is] not sincere?” Romney is shown in many polls as tied with Rep. Bachmann for the Republican nomination.
Bachman even at this early point began to show some flustering. “What I’m talking about is, what I’m going to do as president of the United States. And in the course of this campaign, I look forward to getting to know more people and explaining more about our plan.”
Wallace said, “All right. We’re going to talk about the other candidates a little bit later. But let me ask you about yourself…” At that point in the interview, Chris Wallace made some remarks, accusations perhaps, about a clinic run by Bachmann’s husband, and about a dairy farm in Wisconsin in which the Bachmanns have some interest. Before we review those remarks and accusations, we should further examine the rift between Bachmann and Mitt Romney, and we might preface that discussion of the Romney rift with a few insights.
Michele Bachmann’s very inception into the political world was founded on her feelings toward abortion, and the right to life of the unborn child. While in college at the William and Mary School of Law, she met and later married Marcus Bachmann. Marcus now runs a clinic with a staff of counselors and clinicians and devotes his life to children and young people with problems running the gamut of anger management, problems of adjustment, and even eating disorders. The Bachmanns now have 23 or more young people, teenaged girls, living as foster children in their home in Stillwater, Minnesota. They have five children of their own. Their home is defined as a “treatment home”, and they receive a daily reimbursement rate per foster child from the state.
Upon meeting Marcus, Michele was inspired to join the pro-life movement, opposing abortion and abortion providers. The Bachmanns prayed outside of abortion clinics, and counseled those considering abortion on other options. At that time, Michele and Marcus were working with and supporting Jimmy Carter, who went on to become a Democratic president. The Bachmanns became disenchanted with Carter over his support for legalized abortion, and they went on to vote for and later work for President Ronald Reagan. Mrs. Bachman gained attention from the media in 1991, when the couple took part in a protest of the appropriation of $3 million for a new morgue at a local hospital that performed abortions. Michele Bachman at the time made statements to the Star Tribune which brought her some notoriety.
In view of her strong views regarding abortion and the sanctity of life, it isn’t surprising that Rep. Bachmann became somewhat entangled when the Chris Wallace interview took a turn in that direction. Wallace brought up the fact that earlier that week, Bachmann had called Mitt Romney to task for saying he, Romney, would not sign a pledge on abortion. Wallace quoted Bachmann: “This is not the time for the Republican Party to up a candidate who is weak on the pro-life issue or has a history of flip-flopping over it.”
Wallace asked, “Question: Mitt Romney is weak on pro-life?”
Bachmann: Well, President Romney — not “President Romney…”
Wallace: Governor Romney.
Bachmann: Governor Romney had a history of varying his position on this issue. I think, clearly, we need a candidate who is pro-life. That’s reflective of our party. It’s reflective of my position throughout my life.