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In a Townhall column yesterday, Bill O’Reilly opined on former President Bill Clinton’s seemingly glowing assessment of Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann, in which Clinton characterized Bachmann as a “compelling public figure” who comes across as “real.”

Noting that Bachmann “pretty much opposes everything Clinton believes in,” O’Reilly raised the question of why Clinton would think Bachmann is compelling. He concluded that “gamesmanship [is] in the air” — specifically, that Clinton’s remarks may have more to do with Sarah Palin, whom Democrats “loathe … so much that they are happy to see a candidate who is taking up some of her airtime.”

O’Reilly went on to suggest that Bachmann’s and Palin’s views “are almost identical on many subjects” and that the major distinction between the two Republican women “might come down to personality.”

O’Reilly might be putting too fine a point on personality differences between Palin and Bachmann. Studies conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics indicate that Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, in fact, have very similar personality types, with minor distinctions at the margins.

Palin has an ambitious competitor personality type, with a mixed Ambitious/self-serving and Dominant/asserting primary personality pattern and secondary features of the Outgoing/congenial and Dauntless/adventurous personality styles.

Click image for larger view

Michele Bachmann, like Palin, has an ambitious competitor personality type, with a mixed Dominant/controlling and Ambitious/self-confident primary personality pattern and secondary features of the Dauntless/adventurous and Outgoing/congenial personality styles.

Provisional Personality Profile -- Michele Bachmann (May 2011)
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The differences at the margins are primarily that Bachmann is more dominant and disciplined than Palin and that Palin is slightly more outgoing, self-centered, and attention-seeking than Bachmann.

The critical dispositional distinction between Bachmann and Palin is that Bachmann is substantially more ideological than Palin, with a strongly consolidated, deeply ingrained personal belief system. Stated differently, the ideological differences between Palin and Bachmann are greater than their personality differences.

Note: Sarah Palin’s personality profile has been more firmly established, based on an initial personality assessment conducted in 2009 and an independent follow-up study in 2010, which replicated the earlier findings. Michele Bachmann’s reported personality profile, in contrast, is based on a preliminary pilot study, conducted in spring 2011. A more intensive empirical analysis is currently in progress.

Sidebar: The Political Personality of Bill Clinton

The Political Personalities of 1996 U.S. Presidential Candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole (Aubrey Immelman, Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 3, Special Issue: Political Leadership, Fall 1998, pp. 335–366).

“High Hopes: The Clinton Presidency and the Politics of Ambition” by Stanley A. Renshon (Aubrey Immelman, Political Psychology, Vol. 18, No. 2, Special Issue: Culture and Cross-Cultural Dimensions of Political Psychology, June 1997, pp. 535–539).

Topical report

Why Bill Clinton Likes Michele Bachmann

Bill O'Reilly
By Bill O’Reilly
July 9, 2011


There is something strange in the air when former President Bill Clinton compliments tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann. Speaking on CNN last week, Clinton said he is not surprised the congresswoman is rising in the polls, because she is a “compelling public figure” and comes across as “real.”

Since Bachmann pretty much opposes everything Clinton believes in, the question becomes exactly why does he think she’s compelling. …

I sense some gamesmanship in the air, and I suspect it has to do with Sarah Palin. Most Democrats loathe Palin so much that they are happy to see a candidate who is taking up some of her airtime. …

Their views are almost identical on many subjects. But Bachmann, for some reason, seems to be easier for the Democrats to accept.

This might come down to personality [emphasis added]. Palin has a harder edge than Bachmann. …

Clearly, big liberal guys like Clinton are openly rooting for Bachmann to hold the tea party banner, and if you believe the polls, it has to be personal. Tactically at this point, Bachmann is more of a threat to the Democrats than Palin is. …

Full story


Related reports on this site

Dueling Divas: Bachmann vs. Palin (June 9, 2011)

Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann (Photo credit: Robyn Beck / AFP — Getty Images)

Michele Bachmann vs. Sarah Palin (April 6, 2011)

Michele Bachmann Personality Profile (June 13, 2011)

Provisional Personality Profile -- Michele Bachmann (May 2011)
Click image for larger view

Sarah Palin Personality Profile (July 3, 2009)

Click image for larger view

FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — July 10, 2010

“Rise of the New Right” — Part 4

“Who Runs the Tea Party?” — Just who is in charge of the Tea Party? Its rising stars. (05:00)

One year ago today, I featured Part 4 of “The Rise of the New Right: A Hardball Documentary with Chris Matthews,” titled “Who Runs the Tea Party?”

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — July 10, 2009

Michele Bachmann’s March of Folly

Bachmann - Sartell SummerFest ParadeRep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) at the Sartell SummerFest Parade, Sat., June 14, 2008, promising $2 gas with a “Drill Here, Drill Now” strategy of increasing supply. (Photo credit: St. Cloud Times)

Two years ago today, on July 10, 2009, I provided a comprehensive summary and documentation of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s extremist rhetoric, incendiary demagoguery, and misrepresentation since her 2008 reelection to the United States House of Representatives in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.

One Response to “Bill O’Reilly Opines on Bill Clinton, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Campaign for President Says:

    […] Bill O’Reilly Opines on Bill Clinton, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin (July 10, 2011) […]

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