U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann found out Sunday that with the spotlight comes more scrutiny.
As she readies for the formal launch of her presidential campaign Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, the Minnesota Republican found herself on back-to-back television news programs deflecting questions that she’s a “flake” and that she has benefited from government assistance programs.
Riding high from her No. 2 showing in an Iowa poll – going neck-and-neck with leader Mitt Romney – Bachmann was confronted by new reports that she and her husband gained from government farm subsidies as wells from public funds for their Christian counseling clinics in the Twin Cities.
As she has maintained in the past, Bachmann said the hundreds of thousands of dollars in farm payments for a family farm in Wisconsin went to her in-laws, not her. Some $30,000 in state and federal money for their counseling practice was training money for their employees, she said.
"My husband and I did not get the money," she told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.
Wallace, who pressed on a series of inconsistencies and gaffes in her past public remarks, later apologized for posing the question, “Are you a flake?”
Taken aback, Bachmann responded “that would be insulting to say something like that,” and listed a series of personal, professional, and political accomplishments.
In a Wallace Unplugged segment later, the Fox News host acknowledged that the network had received a number of complaints and apologized. “I didn’t mean any disrespect,” he said.
On CBS News’ Face the Nation, Bachmann revisited her infamous 2008 remark that she was concerned that President Obama – then a presidential candidate – may have "anti-American views.”
On Sunday, for the first time publicly, Bachmann walked back that statement. "I don't question the president's patriotism at all," she said on CBS. "There are a lot of things I wish I'd said differently."
But Bachmann also pressed the attack on Obama, accusing the president and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner of engaging in “scare tactics” by warning of a catastrophic national default if Congress does not raise the debt limit. The government, she said on CBS, could continue to pay its creditors while diverting funds for ongoing federal programs.
"I have no intention of voting to raise the debt ceiling," she said.
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