Bachmann offers a new explanation: 'Urban legend'

  • Article by: KEVIN DI AZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 20, 2008 - 10:36 AM

In a TV appearance, the Minnesota congresswoman disputed reports about her preelection "anti-American" comments about Obama and accused Fran ken of trying to "stuff the ballot box" in his recount with Coleman.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann

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Rep. Michele Bachmann, appearing Tuesday night on Fox News' show with Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes, dismissed as an "urban legend" reports that she had suggested on a preelection cable show with MSNBC's Chris Matthews that then-Sen. Barack ABM and other members of Congress may be "anti-American" and that the media should investigate them as such.

Bachmann also accused Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken of trying to "stuff the ballot box" in his Minnesota recount struggle with GOP incumbent Norm Coleman.

Resident Fox liberal Alan Colmes, who read a transcript of Bachmann's "anti-American" quote from her appearance on MSNBC, offered to have her watch the video clip of her remarks on his own website. But the segment ended before Bachmann could fully respond.

During her appearance, Bachmann also derided Obama as "more of the same" over reports that many of his appointees will be recycled figures from the Clinton administration.

"I don't think any American sees this as change," Bachmann said. "It's back to the future."

But Bachmann, who has become a regular conservative commentator on television talk shows in recent months, reserved some of her sharpest barbs for the Senate race recount process in Minnesota, where Fran ken has sought review of some rejected absentee ballots.

"He wants to stuff the ballot box with rejected ballots," said Bachmann, adding that the dispute "calls into question what the record is and who's watching the books."

Her comments about the fairness of the recount seemed at odds with those of GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty as well as with Coleman himself. They have both expressed confidence in the recount process in recent days, though some campaign and GOP officials have criticized Franken's aggressive lawyering in the recount.

Bachmann's appearance also represented a change in tone from her most recent remarks about President-elect Obama. On Nov. 6, two days after the election, Bachmann was quoted in Politico saying she was "extremely grateful that we have an African-American who won this year." Although she supported Republican John McCain in the presidential election, she told Politico that Obama's victory was "a tremendous signal we sent."

Those remarks were widely seen as an attempt to soften her preelection criticism of Obama, including her remarks on Matthews' "Hardball" show that the Illinois Democrat "may have anti-American views'' and that reporters should investigate whether other Democrats may be "anti-America.''

Reminded of those remarks by Colmes on Tuesday night, Bachmann suggested, as she has before, that she was baited and trapped by the media, which created an "urban legend" about what she says she really said.

"What I said was, 'Do your job,'" Bachmann said. "That's what I said."

Kevin Diaz • 202-408-2753

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