POLITICS -- July 28, 2011 at 7:18 PM EDT
Bachmann's 'Titanium Spine' Doesn't Bend Under Questioning
Rep. Michele Bachmann took to the podium Thursday in Washington at a sold-out National Press Club luncheon to restate her commitment against voting for a debt ceiling increase, but the surging Republican presidential hopeful also seized the moment to demonstrate a calm under fire when she fielded, and deflected, questions on controversies that have surrounded her campaign.
"I won't vote to raise the debt ceiling and I have the titanium spine to see it through," Bachmann told luncheon guests during a prepared statement before taking questions. "The problem is not the debt ceiling, but rather the debt."
She went on to say that every plan that has come out of Washington so far has been the wrong course of action because of "this flawed assumption that we must raise the debt limit." [Watch video of the event here.]
The representative from Minnesota lambasted President Obama for what she called his "scare tactics" aimed at the nation's veterans and senior citizens should the nation default on its bills. Bachmann stated more than once: "I do not believe for one moment we will lose the full faith and credit of the United States."
Bachmann even questioned the legitimacy of next Tuesday's debt ceiling deadline, saying: "Now there have been indications that the Aug. 2 deadline might not be accurate either. It seems like whenever we get close to a deadline the administration finds a way to move it."
When House Speaker John Boehner, the architect of a plan Bachmann promised to vote against, was asked at an earlier press conference to respond to these same "indications" he said, "I've heard that comment made from some of my colleagues. I disagree. I just don't think that with the fragile economy that we have, the last thing we need to do is be playing around with Aug. 2, and the unknown."
The interest of many at the luncheon was to see how Bachmann, a candidate who has not always been known to be the most rhetorically disciplined on the campaign trail, would fare during the question and answer session at the conclusion of her speech.
It appears her weeks on the campaign bus have prepared her well in the art of deflecting unwelcome questions. When asked whether she believes "reparative therapy" of homosexuals, a controversial psychological treatment her husband Dr. Marcus Bachmann is accused of using in his clinics, is effective, the congresswoman answered with a statement touting the longevity of her marriage and the pride she has for her husband, stating, "I am running for the presidency. My husband is not."
The next question she fielded asked about the $417,000 home loan from Fannie Mae that Bachmann and her husband received in 2008, just weeks before she called for the dismantling of the agency in Congress. She joked, "Now, unlike all of you, who I'm sure pay cash for your homes, there are people out there like myself who actually have to go out there to a bank and get a mortgage," before changing the topic away from her own personal loan and focusing the conversation on the need for a smaller government. "Fannie and Freddie were at the epicenter of the financial meltdown. What's important is that we dismantle several of these federal programs that everyone agrees are clearly out of control."
When asked what periodicals she reads, a question that famously tripped up Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2008, Bachmann answered with a smile, "I read everything, but I usually read the left first." She named The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post as examples.
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