By Mike Kaszuba
Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, in an interview Monday, was quick to say that she would not comment on Rand Paul, the controversial Republican Senate nominee in Kentucky.
"I'm not commenting on Rand Paul," she told reporters for the Star Tribune at the State Capitol. "I've got to focus on my race. . .I'm not going to focus on Rand Paul."
Had she been asked about Paul previously, Bachmann was asked. "No. . .no," she replied.
But last week, after Paul surprisingly won the Republican Senate nomination in Kentucky, Bachmann enthusiastically talked about Paul with FOX News commentator Sean Hannity. The TV interview apparently occurred before Paul created a stir by suggesting that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was too broad and should not apply to private businesses, such as luncheonettes.
Bachmann assessed the latest election results last week with Hannity, saying they showed that the American people were saying "we want to take our country back, and as a matter of fact I think that's what Rand Paul said last night after his stunning win in Kentucky, 'We're going to take our country back.'
"That's the good news. The American people just need to hold on, keep working for the next six months and we'll do exactly that. We'll put an end to this Obama agenda," she said.
A few moments later, Hannity asked her how Paul had won, given that the "entire Republican establishment" supported his opponent. "I think Rand ran away with it because he was very clear and up front from the beginning about his opposition to what was going on in Washington, D.C.," Bachmann, a Republican, replied. "And his views reflected those of the voters.
"He was angry about all of the spending, and he caught on with all of the folks in the Tea Party," she added. "He is tapped into a real sense of where the American people are at."
Gina Countryman, Bachmann's campaign manager, downplayed the issue. "Congresswoman Bachmann's position on the matter hasn't changed," she said Tuesday. "She has spoken about the Tea Party movement and its impact on races, but not on Paul's comments."