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Jul 23rd, 2011

With Michele Bachmann continuing her rise in GOP presidential primary polls, she’s become a target for attacks by elements in the Republican mainstream. The Daily Caller reports that Bachmann suffers from severe stress-induced migraine headaches that occur once a week on average and can “incapacitate” her for days at time.


Bachmann fights off right-wing hit job (MSNBC “The Ed Show,” July 20, 2011) — Website alleges Congresswoman pops pills for migraines; Karl Rove and Tim Pawlenty pile on. (03:13)


Bachmann’s newest headache (MSNBC “The Last Word,” July 20, 2011) — Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is trying to squash concerns from within the Republican party over her ability to serve in the White House. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart joins Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss the issue of health concerns in candidates. (05:52)



Stress-Related  Condition ‘Incapacitates’ Bachmann; Heavy Pill Use Alleged

Republican presidential  candidate U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference on June 17, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

The Daily Caller
July 18, 2011


In late July 2010, Rep. Michele Bachmann’s then-communications director, Dave Dziok, told his boss that he planned to take a new job with the public relations firm Edelman.

Dziok had worked for Bachmann for two and a half years, a relatively long period by the standards of her office, and was leaving on good terms.

Staff turnover can frustrate any employer, but Bachmann responded more dramatically. Dziok’s departure triggered a debilitating medical episode that landed the congresswoman in urgent care.

“Within 24 hours she was in the hospital,” a former aide says.

Bachmann was admitted to a Washington, D.C. hospital on Friday, July 30, and released that same day. She flew home to Minnesota to recuperate, missing a scheduled campaign event with Sen. Roy Blunt. …

It was, according to three people who have worked closely with Bachmann, not an isolated event.

The Minnesota Republican frequently suffers from stress-induced medical episodes that she has characterized as severe headaches. These episodes, say witnesses, occur once a week on average and can “incapacitate” her for days at time. On at least three occasions, Bachmann has landed in the hospital as a result.

“She has terrible migraine headaches. And they put her out of commission for a day or more at a time. They come out of nowhere, and they’re unpredictable,” says an adviser to Bachmann who was involved in her 2010 congressional campaign. “They level her. They put her down. It’s actually sad. It’s very painful.”

Bachmann’s medical condition wouldn’t merit public attention, but for the fact she is running for president. Some close to Bachmann fear she won’t be equal to the stress of the campaign, much less the presidency itself.

“When she gets ‘em, frankly, she can’t function at all. It’s not like a little thing with a couple Advils. It’s bad,” the adviser says. “The migraines  are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills. …

To staff, Bachmann has implausibly blamed the headaches on uncomfortable high-heel shoes, but those who have worked closely with her cite stress, a busy schedule and anything going badly for Bachmann as causes. …

On the evening of May 13, 2010, Bachmann flew to Los Angeles for a series of political and fundraising events. In part because of complications with her flight schedule, Bachmann’s mood plunged. During the entire six-hour flight, she was desperately sick from headaches.

Her husband, Marcus Bachmann, met his wife at LAX and ushered her to a nearby urgent care center. Though Bachmann managed to attend several events in California, including an appearance before a California chapter of the Eagle Forum and a fundraiser in Palm Springs, she struggled through the weekend, in pain throughout.

On October 19, 2010, Bachmann fell apart at a Greenwich, Conn., fundraiser at the home of Craig Stevenson, CEO of Diamond S Shipping. She was put in a bed at Stevenson’s home and later checked into an urgent care facility near LaGuardia Airport.

Back in February 2006, Bachmann checked into the hospital for what a press release called “an appendicitis attack,” according to an archive of her website. “Michele felt very well immediately after the surgery but then suffered from complications, including nausea and intense migraines,” the press release reads.

Of particular concern to some around her is the significant amount of medication Bachmann takes to address her condition.

The former aide says Bachmann’s congressional staff is “constantly” in contact with her doctors to tweak the types and amounts of medicine she is taking. Marcus Bachmann helps her manage the episodes.

Sources who spoke to The Daily Caller said they did so because they are terrified about the impact the condition could have on Bachmann’s performance if she actually became president. They also worry that the issue could blow up in the general election campaign, giving President Obama an easy path to re-election.

“It’s a careful choice of words I used: ‘incapacitated,’” the adviser says.

“As president, when she’s in crisis management mode, is she going to have the  physical ability to withstand the most difficult challenges facing America?” the  former aide asks. …

Two sources independently provided detailed accounts of Bachmann’s condition. A third source confirmed that Bachmann frequently suffers from debilitating headache episodes.


Related report

Daily Caller blows Michele Bachmann migraine story
Rep. Michele Bachmann and the Daily Caller’s Tucker Carlson (Photo credit: AP / Gage Skidmore)

Daily Caller blows Michele Bachmann migraine story (Alex Pareene,, July 19, 2011) — Michele Bachmann is unfit to be president because she’s a demented religious nutcase and a far-right extremist. But she seems to have managed her migraines well enough to make it this far. … Full story



What Doctors Have to Say About Bachmann’s Migraines

Candidate says migraines wouldn’t affect her as president; expert says they could be ‘huge problem’


Bachmann denies ‘incapacitating’ migraines (NBC “Today,” July 20, 2011) –While U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is surging in the presidential polls, concerns are being raised about her health and how it might affect her campaign and possible presidency. Bachmann speaks to the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce at Christ Central Ministries in Columbia, S.C., on Monday, July 18. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports. (03:07)

By Rita Rubin

July 18, 2011

Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s acknowledgment that she suffers from migraines has sparked debate about whether her headaches should keep her out of the White House.

At least 36 million Americans are thought to experience migraines, and three-quarters of them are women. Migraines are often described as intense, throbbing pain in one part of the head accompanied by extreme sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. Some people experience an “aura,” such as flashing lights or a temporary loss of vision, before the onset of a migraine.

Bachmann says her migraines are controllable, but news reports say that, over the years, Bachmann has missed hours or even days of work because of debilitating migraines. She has not released information about the frequency of her headaches but says she takes prescription medication on occassion when she starts to develop symptoms. …

Even if they’re not chronic, “migraines could be a huge problem for somebody who’s president,” says [Houston neurologist and headache specialist Dr. Randolph] Evans, adding that about half of all migraine attacks are debilitating enough to force a sufferer to lie down.

Plus, he says, common migraine triggers, such as stress, travel, changes in sleeping or eating patterns, are practically part of the president’s job description. And topiramate, an anti-seizure drug commonly prescribed to prevent migraines, causes cognitive impairment — difficulty finding the right word [emphasis added; see video below] or problems with short-term memory — in about 10 percent of patients, he says. …

Full story

Michele Bachmann: “I may not always get my words right”



One Year Ago — July 23, 2010

North Korea Threatens ‘Sacred War’

One year ago today, I reported that North Korea threatened to launch a “sacred war” against the United States and South Korea at “any time necessary,” based on its nuclear deterrent, in response to so-called “reckless” military exercises by the allies.


Two Years Ago — July 23, 2009

Obama Meets Maliki in U.S.

Two years ago today, on July 23, 2009, I reported that President Barack Obama, in a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the White House, said the United States would stick to its status-of-forces agreement with Iraq and remove all its troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.


Three Years Ago — July 23, 2008

Campaign Against Michele Bachmann: Day Nine

Three years ago today, on July 23, 2008 — the ninth day of my 2008 campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District — I issued my position statement on national security.

4 Responses to “Bachmann Migraine Hit Piece”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Bachmann, Pawlenty Pour It On in War of Words Says:

    […] Bachmann Migraine Hatchet Job (July 23, 2011) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Newsweek Cover Photo Flap: Bachmann Looking Good Says:

    […] Bachmann Migraine Hit Piece (July 23, 2011) […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Campaign for President Says:

    […] Bachmann Migraine Hit Piece (July 23, 2011) […]

  4. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Rick Perry Hurts Michele Bachmann in GOP Primary Says:

    […] The revelation in July 2011 that Michele Bachmann suffered from migraine headaches risked raising doubts in voters’ minds about her physical fitness to become commander in chief. […]

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