Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
In a recent article (“Bold, conservative Bachmann hints at ‘Mrs. President’ Future,” Aug. 15, 2009) in WorldNetDaily, Drew Zahn quotes U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann as follows:
“I attended my caucus, not intending to run for office,” Bachmann told WND. “I had on jeans and a sweatshirt with a hole in it and tennis shoes. But the people said, ‘Michele, you need to run,’ and I did.”
The WND report continues:
Bachmann went on to beat out Minnesota’s longest-sitting state senator in the 2000 Republican primary and then defeated her Democratic opponent in the general election. Six years later, she overcame millions of dollars in Democrat campaign spending to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and, in an exclusive interview with WND, Bachmann hinted her underdog campaigns may even lead to the White House.
Bill Prendergast, responding to the WorldNetDaily article in an Aug. 17 Daily Kos diary titled “Michele Bachmann, God and false witness,” exposes the prevarication in Bachmann’s account of her entry into politics:
[Bachmann] has stated publicly that throughout her life, God has come to visit and instruct her to take a particular course of action. Sometimes these visits come in the form of visions, other times they are messages, and on some occasions she claims to have had conversations with the Lord. (Yes, she has claimed this publicly, while running for office, and there is video.)
Here’s the video:
The WND article is another example of Bachmann lying to people. But this is a special case, because her audience at WorldNetDaily is made up of evangelical conservative believers in Christ. And Bachmann has done that before. It was captured on video by an anti-Bachmann activist, and posted to YouTube. …
In 1999, Michele Bachmann, a resident of Stillwater, Minnesota, began to explore the possibility of winning political office. She met with a local Republican powerbroker named Bill Pulkrabek.
Bachmann told Pulkrabek that she wanted to challenge the incumbent GOP State Senator Gary Laidig for the Republican nomination, and run for State Senate herself. Bachmann had built up some credibility with local evangelical conservatives (protesting at a hospital that would provide abortions, etc.) and believed that she should be the Minnesota State Senator.
At the meeting, Pulkrabek told her not to challenge Senator Laidig. He advised instead to make her entry into politics as a candidate for the local school board. The Stillwater school board race was traditionally non-partisan, but Pulkrabek had come up with a plan to run a slate of five GOP-endorsed candidates that year. Bachmann took his advice and ran as a partisan GOP candidate that year.
During the campaign she appeared on local evangelical radio to promote her candidacy and that of her fellow Republicans. All of them lost and, to this day, that’s the single electoral defeat that Michele Bachmann has suffered.
But her campaign and her evangelical radio exposure raised her profile with local evangelical conservatives, and Michele came back and challenged Senator Laidig for the State Senator nomination. She appeared at the Republican nomination event with a number of fellow conservative evangelicals, outnumbering Laidig supporters and taking the nomination away from him.
If you read the WorldNetDaily account of how she got into politics, you will find that it tells a very different story from what actually happened. You will see Bachmann claiming (as she regularly claims) that her political career began with her challenge to Laidig. She does not mention her partisan campaign as a GOP candidate for a failed run at a school board seat.
Now that’s not necessarily a “lie”; you might call that deceptive “spin or omission” aimed at deceiving the evangelical Christian readers.
Here’s the lie:
Michele Bachmann, candidate for the United State Congress, testifying for Jesus Christ at a Minnesota church, October 14, 2006:
“And in the midst of all this, as if we didn’t have enough to do, He called me to run for the Minnesota State Senate. I had no idea, and no desire to be in politics. Absolutely none.”
Now that’s a lie, as [it omits] the established account of Bachmann’s partisan political activity and campaigning prior to her Senate run.
To many people that might not seem like a such a serious 0r important lie. But it is; it’s very important. Throughout her career, Bachmann has claimed that she represents personal devotion to Jesus Christ, Christian values, and to be acting on instructions from God. Yet here she is, lying in church, to fellow conservative Christians — in the name of Jesus Christ.
This lie — and where and how it was told — tells us that the devotion Bachmann claimed and still claims to have to the Christian faith and Jesus Christ is false. Evangelical Christians say they believe that the name of God is sacred, that it violates a core commandment to make wrongful use of that name — but Bachmann has no problem doing that: falsifying the circumstances surrounding the beginnings of her political career in church, before a congregation of believers, while testifying for Jesus Christ. …
She’s told many, many lies — before and since, and I’ve recorded them since at least 2003 — but I found this one particularly breathtaking, given the circumstances of the telling. And to this day, she’s telling Christian audiences a false account of how she got into politics. …
To recap: When Bachmann spoke at Pastor Mac Hammond’s Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minn., on Oct. 14, 2006, just three weeks before she was first elected to Congress, she bore false witness to Christians, in church.
To reiterate, Bachmann said: “And in the midst of all this, as if we didn’t have enough to do, He [God] called me to run for the Minnesota State Senate. I had no idea, and no desire to be in politics. Absolutely none.”
That statement is a patently false, because a year before running for State Senate, Bachmann had run as a partisan GOP-endorsed candidate for a seat on the Stillwater School Board upon the advice of a political operative to whom she had expressed her personal ambition to run for State Senate.
Watch the embedded video above to see Michele Bachmann use God’s name in vain and bear false witness before unsuspecting believers in a Christian church.
6/24/11 Update: Related report
Mrs. Bachmann posed for a Christmas card photo with her husband Marcus and her five children. (Photo credit: Rick Busch / The New York Times)
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg
June 22, 2011
STILLWATER, Minn. — Nearly two decades ago, a stay-at-home mother and onetime federal tax lawyer named Michele Bachmann felt a spiritual calling to open her clapboard home here to troubled teenage girls.
“We had our five biological children that God gave to us, and then he called us to take foster children into our home,” Mrs. Bachmann told a Christian audience in 2006. “We thought we were going to take unwed mothers in,” she continued, adding, “We took 23 foster children into our home, and raised them, and launched them off into the world.”
Today Mrs. Bachmann is Representative Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican, first elected to the House in 2006, and now a candidate for her party’s nomination for president. In Washington, she has grabbed the spotlight as a staunch fiscal conservative and brash Tea Party leader. But a look at her life here shows that it was her role as a mother, both to her biological children and to her adolescent foster daughters, that spurred her to seek public office.
Mrs. Bachmann’s political awakening began with her deep disenchantment with the public school system. She helped found a charter school that briefly ran afoul of the state when some parents contended that its curriculum was infused with Christian teachings, and her first run for office was a failed bid for the local school board.
Her career has been deeply interwoven with her evangelical Christian beliefs — opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage were central to her agenda as a state legislator. …
The Rev. Marcus Birkholz, the pastor at Salem Lutheran Church, which Mrs. Bachmann attended for years, calls her “a lady with energy and a heart” whose uncompromising “support for the unborn” extends beyond fighting abortion. …
Mrs. Bachmann has offered few details about her foster children, and for privacy reasons their names have never been made public. Both the congresswoman — who has said she was inspired by foster parents in her church — and her husband, Marcus, a psychologist who runs a Christian counseling center here, declined requests for interviews. But she did give her brother, Dr. Paul Amble, a forensic psychiatrist who teaches at Yale, permission to speak. …
Mrs. Bachmann, whose biological children now range in age from 17 to 29, worked until her fourth child was born. (Her youngest, Sophia, is headed to college this fall, while the eldest, Lucas, is a medical resident at the University of Connecticut, pursuing a specialty in psychiatry.) …
The Bachmanns were licensed by the state from 1992 to 2000 to handle up to three foster children at a time; the last child arrived in 1998. They began by offering short-term care for girls with eating disorders who were treated through a program at the University of Minnesota, said George Hendrickson, the chief executive of PATH Minnesota, the private agency that handled the placements.
While Mrs. Bachmann may have envisioned herself caring for unwed mothers, as she said in 2006, Mr. Hendrickson, who worked with the couple for four years, said that to his knowledge, none were pregnant.
He said the Bachmann home was “technically considered a treatment home,” which offered a higher level of reimbursement. (The current rate is $47 a day, Mr. Hendrickson said.) That designation required a higher standard of care from parents who had the educational and emotional capability to handle “serious mental health issues.” Dr. Bachmann’s training was an asset.
Minnesota law permits foster care records to be destroyed after seven years, and the Bachmanns’ files are gone, so Mr. Hendrickson could not say how many children they took in. Some stayed a few months, others more than a year.
Critics point out that the couple had not “raised” the children, as Mrs. Bachmann has said. But, Mr. Hendrickson said, “From our agency’s perspective, I thought they did a very nice job.” …
Mrs. Bachmann cut her political teeth on an issue that concerns nearly all mothers: education, beginning with her controversial work with the charter school, New Heights School, established in 1992 by Dennis Meyer, a local religious figure. … Mrs. Bachmann, whose own children had been home-schooled, enrolled one child and joined the board. …
Denise Stephens, who led parents in challenging the religious emphasis, said teachers complained to her that they could not teach “Native American spirituality” or even yoga, and that one who wanted to show the Disney movie “Aladdin” was told she could not because it involved magic. …
The tensions came to a head when state and local school officials warned the school that it was at risk of losing its charter. In December 1993, after a tumultuous public meeting, Ms. Stephens said, Mr. Meyer and Mrs. Bachmann left the school. …
Mrs. Bachmann immersed herself in the minutiae of Minnesota’s graduation requirements. She worked with a conservative researcher and began giving talks in church basements. People who attended said they were mesmerizing — and packed. Mrs. Bachmann would wave a copy of the Constitution, said Mary Cecconi, then a school board member, blending her message with talk of the founding fathers and inalienable rights.
“It felt like we were in a tent, like a revival,” Ms. Cecconi said. “It was obvious Michele was the star.”
She drew the attention of Bill Pulkrabek, a Republican county commissioner, who said she “had kind of an aura.” He persuaded her to run for the school board on a Republican slate in 1999, even though such elections had always been nonpartisan. …
Mrs. Bachmann lost. But the next year, she knocked an incumbent Republican state senator out of his job. Her political career had begun.
By Frank Bruni
July 23, 2012
What I find most fascinating about Michele Bachmann — and there are many, many more where she came from — is that she presents herself as a godly woman, humbly devoted to her Christian faith. I’d like to meet that god, and I’d like to understand that Christianity.
Does it call for smearing people on the basis of flimsy conspiracy theories? That’s what Bachmann just did to Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, by essentially suggesting she might be a mole for the Muslim Brotherhood [link added].
Does it endorse scaring young women away from immunizations that could spare them serious illness? Bachmann did that during her memorable presidential campaign, when she blithely drew an unsubstantiated link between a vaccine for the human papillomavirus and mental retardation.
Does it encourage gratuitously divisive condemnations of Barack Obama as “anti-American,” one of many incendiary phrases in her attacks against him in 2008? And does it compel a war against homosexuality waged with the language and illogic she uses?
She has said that gay men and lesbians are dysfunctional products of abuse and agents of “sexual anarchy,” and when the singer and songwriter Melissa Etheridge was battling breast cancer years ago, Bachmann helpfully chimed in: “This may be an opportunity for her now to be open to some spiritual things, now that she is suffering with that physical disease. She is a lesbian.”
Bachmann’s concept of Christian love brims with hate, and she has a deep satchel of stones to throw. From what kind of messiah did she learn that? …
My aim here isn’t to re-litigate Bachmann’s crimes against reason and decency, all widely documented.
It’s to wonder why we accept her descriptions of herself, and in turn describe her, as a deeply religious woman. That grants too much credence to her particular, peculiar and highly selective definition of piety. And it offends the many admirable people of faith whose understanding and practice of religion aren’t, like hers, confrontational and small-minded.
Bachmann is an evangelical, and has spoken rhapsodically about the experience of being born again. After that moment, she said, “I absolutely understood sin, and I wanted no part of it.” She plunged into politics nonetheless. …
Bachmann’s on to something: dangerous fundamentalists have indeed set up camp deep inside the capital. She can find one in her office. She need only look in the mirror. …
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago Today — August 31, 2008
At the entrance to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds: Paddy (2), Matt (11), Pam, and Tim Immelman (13).
One year ago today, on the 48th day of my campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination as House of Representatives candidate in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I visited the Minnesota State Fair with my family.
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