Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann, in the middle of a political dustup for suggesting that Barack Obama and others who serve with her in Congress might harbor "anti-American views," this morning said it was her TV network questioner who initiated that characterization.
Appearing today on KMSP-TV, Channel 9, the east metro House member said her comments Friday on MSNBC's "Hardball" during an interview with host Chris Matthews were "completely misconstrued."
"I did not suggest the word 'anti-American,' " she said. "I said the media should look into [Obama's] views," adding that the national press has "appalling lack of curiosity" about where the Democratic presidential candidate stands on the issues.
On Friday, Bachmann was asked by Matthews whether she believes that Obama may have anti-American views. She replied, "Absolutely. I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views."
She also told Matthews that the national media should scrutinize all members of Congress about whether they hold "anti-American views."
This morning, Bachmann went on to explain that she is concerned about the prospect of having a "radical liberal in the White House" in Obama combined with liberal Democrats in control of Congress.
Bachmann added that what she believes are Obama's most extreme positions are a health care plan akin to "socialized medicine" and a tax proposal that would "spread the wealth around."
Friday's Matthews-Bachmann exchange grabbed national attention Sunday as former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, a newly declared supporter of Obama, denounced Bachmann's comments.
Today, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee revealed plans to spend $1 million trying to defeat Bachmann. The committee's TV ads will start airing Tuesday.
Also today, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, campaigning in Bloomington on behalf of west-metro Democratic congressional candidate Ashwin Madia, said that Bachmann's statement "dishonors the position that she holds and discredits her as a person."
On Sunday, Elwyn Tinklenberg, Bachmann's Democratic opponent, said that her remarks ignited a surge of contributions to his campaign that will allow him to fund greater media exposure for his candidacy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482