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More flubs from Bachmann

By CALVIN WOODWARD
June 28, 2011

Michelle Bachmann: The mouth that roared (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Michele Bachmann’s claim that she has “never gotten a penny” from a family farm that’s been subsidized by the government is at odds with her financial disclosure statements. They show tens of thousands in personal income from the operation.

And, on a less substantive note, she flubbed her hometown history when declaring “John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa,” and “that’s the kind of spirit that I have, too,” in running for president.

The actor was born nearly 150 miles away. It was the serial killer John Wayne Gacy Jr. who lived, for a time, in Waterloo.

Those were among the latest examples of how the Minnesota congresswoman has become one to watch — for inaccuracies as well as rising support — in the Republican presidential race.

Bachmann’s wildly off-base assertion last month that a NATO airstrike might have killed as many as 30,000 Libyan civilians, her misrepresentations of the health care law, misfires on other aspects of President Barack Obama‘s record and historical inaccuracies have saddled her with a reputation for uttering populist jibes that don’t hold up.

She announced her candidacy Monday in Iowa with a speech typical for someone joining the campaign. It laid out the broad themes of her candidacy and mostly avoided the Bachmann bomblets that have grabbed attention — and often fizzled under scrutiny — in the long lead-up.

The more the political season heats up, the more that exaggerations and sound-bite oversimplifications emanate from the Republicans going after Obama — and from the Democrats playing defense. Still, Bachmann’s record on this score is distinct.

Examining 24 of her statements, Politifact.com, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking service of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, found just one to be fully true and 17 to be false (seven of them “pants on fire” false). No other Republican candidate whose statements have been vigorously vetted matched that record of inaccuracy.

A look at some of her recent statements and how they compare with the facts:

BACHMANN: “The farm is my father-in-law’s farm. It’s not my husband and my farm. It’s my father-in-law’s farm. And my husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm.” — On “Fox News Sunday.”

THE FACTS: In personal financial disclosure reports required annually from members of Congress, Bachmann reported that she holds an interest in a family farm in Independence, Wis., with her share worth between $100,000 and $250,000.

The farm, which was owned by her father-in-law, produced income for Bachmann of at least $32,500 and as much as $105,000 from 2006 through 2009, according to the reports she filed for that period. The farm also received federal crop and disaster subsidies, according to a database maintained by the Environmental Working Group. From 1995 through 2010, the farm got $259,332 in federal payments.

When asked about the subsidies and her income from the farm late last year, a spokesman for Bachmann said only that she wasn’t involved in decisions about the running of the farm.

Bachmann told The Associated Press on Monday that her husband became a trustee of the farm because his father had dementia before he died two years ago, and “oversees the legal entity.”

“Everything we do with those forms is in an abundance of caution,” she said, insisting she and her husband receive no farm income despite the forms reporting it.

___

BACHMANN: “Well what I want them to know is, just like John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa, that’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.” — Speaking to Fox News on Sunday.

Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa, nearly three hours away, and moved to California in his childhood. John Wayne Gacy, convicted of killing 33 men and boys, was born in Chicago, moved to Waterloo to work in his father-in-law’s chicken restaurants and first ran afoul of the law there, sentenced to 10 years for sodomy. He began his killing spree after his release, and his return to Illinois.

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BACHMANN: “Overnight we are hearing that potentially 10 to 30,000 people could have been killed in the strike.” — Criticizing Obama in May for the “foolish” U.S. intervention in Libya, and citing what she said were reports of a civilian death toll from a NATO strike as high as 30,000.

THE FACTS: The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, said in late April that U.S. officials have seen reports that 10,000 to 30,000 people may have died in Moammar Gadhafi’s crackdown on protesters and the fighting between rebels and pro-government forces, but it is hard to know if that is true. He was speaking about all casualties of the conflict; no one has attributed such a death toll to NATO bombing alone, much less to a single strike.

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BACHMANN: “It’s ironic and sad that the president released all of the oil from the strategic oil reserve. … There’s only a limited amount of oil that we have in the strategic oil reserve. It’s there for emergencies.” — On CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

THE FACTS: Obama did not empty all the oil from the strategic reserve, as Bachmann said. He approved the release of 30 million barrels, about 4 percent of the 727 million barrels stored in salt caverns along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. It’s true that the U.S. normally taps the reserve for more dire emergencies than exist today, and that exposes Obama to criticism that he acted for political gain. But the reserve has never been fuller; it held 707 million barrels when last tapped, after 2008 hurricanes.

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BACHMANN: “One. That’s the number of new drilling permits under the Obama administration since they came into office.” — Comment to a conservative conference in Iowa in March.

THE FACTS: The Obama administration issued more than 200 new drilling permits before the Gulf oil spill alone. Over the past year, since new safety standards were imposed, the administration has issued more than 60 shallow-water drilling permits. Since the deep water moratorium was lifted in October, nine new wells have been approved.

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Associated Press writers Brian Bakst in Waterloo, Iowa, and Dina Cappiello in Washington contributed to this report.

 

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12 Responses to More flubs from Bachmann

  1. Eddie Caplan

    June 28, 2011 at 8:20 am

    “[…] have saddled her with a reputation for uttering populist jibes that don’t hold up.”

    Now THERE’s an understatement. Her inability to know basic facts makes her unqualified to be President. Nevermind that she is promulgating a theocratic agenda, based on Biblical law instead of America’s constitutional freedoms.

    • Eddie Caplan

      June 28, 2011 at 8:30 am

      Just for instance, MB said, “…the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States….Men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country…”

      I guess she doesn’t know about the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, or that John Quincy Adams was DEAD before slavery was no more, or that Jefferson owned slaves.

      What an idiot. Is THIS who we want as President of the United States of America?

      • Carl Nemo

        June 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm

        “What an idiot. Is THIS who we want as President of the United States of America?” …extract from post

        Yes Eddie Caplan, she’s precisely the kind of candidate that our now devolved ‘Idiocracy” will possibly elevate to the highest office of their land and deservedly so. Our citizens have fallen asleep at the wheel so to speak and are more interested in ‘bread and circuses’ than the maintenance of their freedom. Seemingly they don’t realize that freedom is not free…! : |

        *****

        “In a Democracy, the people get the government they deserve” – Alexis de Tocqueville early 19th Century polticial thinker and historian

        *****

        For better or worse is the question…?

        Carl Nemo **==

        • Lillibet

          June 29, 2011 at 11:33 am

          Carl, Eddie, you just don’t understand that brains, knowledge and a functioning understanding of history are no longer necessary in order to run a nation on sound bites. The public do not understand that a failure to truly understand history in your bones is to subject the nation to multiple comminuted fractures of every bone in the body politic, if you are given the lead office. Or even an office near the top of the food chain.

          Michelle Bachmann is the perfect representative for her district. It is long on appearance, short on substance, after the family farmers and multi-generations of workers that toiled in the river edge industry were replaced by MacMansions. I grew up very near there, and when the area went from blue collar or green thumbs to what it is now, there was little to be said that could sway those that got their politics in Mega Churches and Uber-Conservative social clubs.

          In short, her Congressional district is an aberration in Minnesota. That aberration is a regret for many Minnesotan to this day. I know. I am one of them.

          …sigh…

          • Carl Nemo

            June 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

            Thanks Lillibet for the profile concerning Bachmann’s district; I.E., not representative of Minnesotans’ broader values and sensibilities, an aberration as you say.

            Minnesota happens to be the most literate state in the U.S. It must be their Nordic heritage and that reading is fundamental during those long winter nights. Iceland is the most literate country in the world as well as Scandinavia, so based on that, Bachmann seemingly is an aberration, relative to the greater population; I.E., the village idiot…no? / : |

            Carl Nemo **==

  2. Sailcat

    June 28, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Michelle certainly has a flair for ludicrous… what is clear is that while she’s pretty bright and capable, she’s also very shallow on US / world history, probably because she’s seriously unread. Kinda scary on its face to consider her as our Pres. In fact, the only thing scarier is the prospect that our current Pres could be reelected. Michelle v. Barack… I’ll take ludicrous.

  3. bmclellan

    June 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I think her injection into the race is a diversionary tactic so the inevitable winner although equally innocuous will seem less so.

  4. Carl Nemo

    June 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Good point Bryan concerning ‘bait and switch’ tactics concerning candidates.

    We’ve devolved to the point that the ultimate selection best demonstrates the old saying…”in the land of the blind, the man/woman with one eye is king/queen”…no? / : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  5. bmclellan

    June 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    I fully expect the other contenders to show up wearing T-shirts with the caption, I’m with stupid and lining up so the arrows point directly at miss two shoes..

  6. Fivebyfives

    June 30, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I’d go along with Lillibet’s thoughts on this one. However, I might toss in the possibility that the rise of candidates as Ms. Bachman is the consequence of a vacuum.

    A vacuum created in large part by President Feckless, who in his own words..is president of the United States and what he says has impact on markets, etc.”

    True. But a president’s comments and speeches also have a great impact on the disenfranchised. The great unwashed, the morlocks of this nation look UP for leadership, not in the Wall St. Journal. Obama’s silence, his “cool” has been a disaster for the body politic.

    Someday we may have to endure President Bachman extolling the virtues of the good old days when President Reagan and his Rough Riders stormed San Juan Hill in a wheelchair in the fight for the Chosin Reservoir during World War I.

    Whatever the political theater delivers within the next year or so, historians (if there are any left in the future) will rate the Obama presidency as a fart in a bathtub.

    • bmclellan

      June 30, 2011 at 10:57 am

      Yes, it is amazing how ones so full of themselves can be such utter voids.
      Well said 5’s..

    • Jeffrey King

      June 30, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      Does it really matter? For some reason or other the President has become more of a comedian than a leader. No candidate can campaign with any honesty without getting the post election orientation from the shadows that truly govern the world.

      The fears of some New World Order are naive. It’s been around longer than I have and I’m not brand new.

      The discuassion about fixing this problem is based on a thing called money, which is a man made fabrication to facilitate power.

      Let’s just be kids and call a Do Over. Governing with secrets and classified information and corrupt accounting practices is folly. I correct myself. Accounting methods change for convenience and the auditor is as suspect as the cookers of the books.

      Let’s all cash in our chips and call the bluff.

      I would pay you if Sally paid me but she can’t until Chuck pays her. What a stupid mess.