For Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign, a misfired e-mail saying she was unlikely to get many questions at Saturday's Republican debate confirmed what it already believed.
"We received concrete evidence confirming what every conservative already knows -- the liberal mainstream media elites are manipulating the Republican debates," campaign manager Keith Nahigian 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."
'Nearly off the charts'
The "outrageous manipulation" Nahigian was complaining about stemmed from an e-mail by CBS political director John Dickerson sent before Saturday's national security debate, which was held in South Carolina.
Dickerson e-mailed colleagues that he hoped to "get someone else" other than the Minnesota congresswoman for an online show after the CBS News/National Journal debate. The e-mail said that Bachmann was "not going to get many questions and she's nearly off the charts" -- an apparent reference to her standing in many polls.
Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart inadvertently was copied on the e-mail.
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."
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 [expletive]. 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 event, 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.
Moderators Scott Pelley and Major Garrett turned to Bachmann a half-dozen times during the 90-minute debate, less often than they did to Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, who have held the advantage in recent polls. Several times during the debate, Bachmann attempted to interject when she was not called upon. The tactic, which she has used in previous debates, sometimes worked and sometimes failed.
On Sunday, meanwhile, on NBC's "Meet the Press," Bachmann underscored her long-running message that there would be "no surprises" in her background compared to other presidential candidates by mentioning her campaign's website NoSurprises2012.com.
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 preapproval.
The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report. Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Twitter: @rachelsb