You can say what you want about Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — but she won’t stand for anyone talking smack about her legislative body.
Bachmann gave an unsanctioned rebuttal to President Obama’s job speech in a Capitol Hill TV studio Thursday night in which she dismissed the address as so much warmed-over Obama rhetoric with little or no chance of success. She called it “just a retread of everything he’s put forward before that’s failed.”
But what really grinds her gears was what she called his blatant “insulting of Members of Congress” that came “almost right out of the gate” in his speech.
Obama said this (from the prepared text):
The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours. The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.
Did you catch it? Bachmann said contained in that early paragraph was a direct attack on the fine men and women of the House.
“It was interesting to me that if you look at the president’s remarks, almost out of the gate, the president began by insulting members of Congress,” she said. “He invited them to be a part of this address this evening…And yet he began with an insult — for a circus tent.”
“That isn’t what this is. I don’t consider the greatest, most deliberative body in the United States, the House of Representatives, a circus, a political circus,” Bachmann continued. “It isn’t at all.”
It’s worth noting at this point that past Obama addresses to joint sessions of Congress have included House members shouting “you lie!” at him; unbelievably long and drawn out public discussions about who will sit next to whom; public whining about the date and time of an address; and finally, Republicans deciding not to show up out of spite (and calling Obama “idiotic” for having the speech in the first place.)
Nevertheless, Bachmann says, the “circus” line was too far — and, she said, a sign that the President is not serious about changing the rhetoric in Washington and getting some jobs legislation passed.
Bachmann declined to take any questions about her flagging presidential campaign, saying she was giving the speech as a Representative from Minnesota’s 6th District, not a presidential candidate. She ignored a question about her candidacy from TPM after the press conference was over, with her staff directing all questions about her presidential bid to the campaign.