Michele Bachmann’s early Saturday morning speaking slot at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington, D.C., did not mean the Minnesota Republican would go unnoticed.
By Tuesday morning, the Washington Post had run two Fact Checker columns granting her a total of eight “Pinocchios” – four for her claim that 70 percent of food stamp money goes to “bureaucrats,” and four more for her claim that President Obama’s White House has a $1.4 billion a year budget full of “perks and excess.”
Then, on Wednesday, CNN was still running footage of Bachmann’s run-in with correspondent Dana Bash (well, the interview was conducted at a brisk walk as Bash chased Bachmann down a hall). So much for a new low-profile.
On Tuesday, the encounter had become a long episode on Anderson Cooper 360’s Keeping Them Honest feature, complete with video of Bash trying to get Bachmann to explain her assertions about chefs on Air Force One, a pair of First Family movie projectionists, and a taxpayer-funded walker for the First Dog.
All of these, apparently, are standard operating procedure, no matter who occupies the White House. (One study found that the Bush administration spent more, and the dog walker is the White House gardener, who has walked dogs for past administrations as well).
The issues of White House perks and wasteful spending were part of Bachmann’s longer reprise of GOP criticism of Obama’s handling of the Benghazi attacks in September that left four Americans dead. Obama was “AWOL” during the incident, Bachmann charged.
Benghazi has become a pretty well-worn line of attack since the presidential election. Bash apparently wanted to ask Bachmann about her sensational new allegations about the president.
“The big point of the speech was about Benghazi,” a visibly annoyed Bachmann told the reporter, who was visibly struggling to match Bachmann’s rapid pace. “You want to talk about dog handlers?”
Bash, taken aback, protested, “But congresswoman, you’re the one who brought it up…”
By then Bachmann was headed off camera, but not out or range of more media buzz and controversy.