According to a tweet from NBC News’ Jamie Novogrod, Bachmann responded to the recent raiding of the British embassy in Iran by saying that if she was President, she would close down the U.S. embassy there.
There’s just one problem: The U.S. has not had an embassy in Iran ever since the Iranian hostage crisis, when revolutionaries from the budding Islamic state held 52 Americans for 444 days. Indeed, frustration over this helped bring down Bachmann’s bete noire Jimmy Carter by defining his presidency as weak. The two countries have not had official diplomatic relations since that time. Furthermore, President Obama’s short-lived offer of outreach “without preconditions” was a critical part of Republican attacks against his foreign policy.
So, a gaffe it is, and one that’s particularly ironic coming after Bachmann’s recent media push in which she has tried to bill herself as a safe pair of hands, saying, “I haven’t had a gaffe.”
Update: The Bachmann team pushed back fairly quickly on this one, issuing a press release at 9:11pm Eastern. They claim her words were taken out of context, however neither the campaign nor anyone else has yet provided a transcript of her remarks. That would help clear things up.
Urbandale, Iowa - Bachmann for President Communications Director Alice Stewart has issued the following statement in response to Bachmann’s statements about Iran:
“Congresswoman Bachmann is a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence and is fully aware that we do not have an embassy in Iran and have not had one since 1980. She was agreeing with the actions taken by the British to secure their embassy personnel and was speaking in the hypothetical, that if she was President of the United States and if we had an embassy in Iran, she would have taken the same actions as the British. Her remarks are being taken out of context, given that she has spoken on this subject several times in the past 24 hours and made it clear that she knew we did not have an Iranian embassy. As she has previously stated, President Obama has taken his eye off of Iran, the most significant security threat in the region, and allowed them the luxury of time to move toward obtaining nuclear weapons. She will never allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons that would threaten our ally Israel and the United States.”
We’ve now got Bachmann’s exact words. Applauding the British for pulling their staff out of Iran she said, “That’s exactly what I would do. We wouldn’t have an embassy in Iran. I wouldn’t allow that to be there.” So the “hypothetical” argument advanced by her team sounds ropey at best.