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Bachmann debate flap prompts 4-letter word from campaign chief

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under 2012 Presidential election Updated: November 13, 2011 - 10:44 AM

Last week, Michele Bachmann refused to bash the media when pushed by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly to do so.

 “The media does what the media does…I don’t complain about it,” Bachmann said on Nov. 7 . “I don’t rag about the media. That’s not my thing. It is a relationship that we have to have…I work with them.”

But on Nov. 12, her campaign manager Keith Nahigian had no such compunctions.

“We received concrete evidence confirming what every conservative already knows - the liberal mainstream media elites are manipulating the Republican debates," he said in a Facebook message on her campaign's page. "We need to show the liberal media elite that we won't stand for this outrageous manipulation."

The "outrageous manipulation" Nahigian was complaining about stemmed from an email CBS political director John Dickerson, which said in advance of the Saturday's night debate saying that Bachmann would likely get few debate questions because she was "nearly off the charts." CBS co-hosted the Saturday debate. Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart was inadvertently copied on the email.

After Bachmann's campaign complained about the sentiment post-debate, a CBS spokesperson responded: “It was a candid exchange about the reality of the circumstances--Bachmann remains at 4% in the polls," according to a tweet from Ben Smith of Politico.

Nahigian was unsatisfied with that response.

According to CNN, he went in the post-debate spin room, where campaigns work to get their messages to reporters, to say: "John Dickerson should be fired. He is a piece of [excrement]. He is a fraud and he should be fired."

(Candidates who are lower in the polls have long complained about their lack of air time during presidential debates. During Saturday's debate, candidate Jon Huntsman even joked that, it "gets a little lonely over here in Siberia" and candidate Rick Santorum responded "Tell me about it." Huntsman and Santorum, like Bachmann, have been in single digits in most polls.)

Meanwhile, Bachmann, on Meet the Press, underscored her long-running message that there would be "no surprises" in her background compared to other presidential candidates by mentioning her campaign's web site "NoSurprises2012."

The site is accompanied by a Twitter account @nosurprises2012. Although the account has been tweeting since Nov. 9, it was locked as of Sunday morning, meaning no one can follow it without pre-approval. 

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