LensCrafters v. Bachmann
April 13th, 2011
11:55 AM ET
4 years ago

LensCrafters v. Bachmann

Washington (CNN) – The optics don't look great for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. That is, if you're talking about her relationship with LensCrafters, the one-stop shop of eye care and eyewear.

The possible GOP presidential candidate supported her belief that Planned Parenthood should lose its government funding by telling a crowd in Iowa on Monday, "The executive director of Planned Parenthood in Illinois said they want to become the LensCrafter of big abortion in Illinois."

And it's not the first time Bachmann made the comparison. She made the same claim as early as September of 2008 and has stated that the comparison first came from a Planned Parenthood director in Illinois.

But what Steve Trombley, CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois, actually said is different than Bachmann's interpretation. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in June 2008, he stated, "I like to think of Planned Parenthood as the LensCrafters of family planning," while speaking of making family planning services more accessible.

Bachmann has been substituting the phrase "big abortion" for "family planning," but the eye care company has asked that she leave them out of her scuffle altogether.

LensCrafters hit back at Bachmann Tuesday, telling Roll Call, "She's using our name without our knowledge or permission." Julie Maslov, communications director for Luxottica Retail, the parent company for LensCrafters, said the company contacted Bachmann's office Tuesday and asked that she stop making the comparison.

Planned Parenthood also released a statement saying, "The continued misleading attacks on Planned Parenthood expose a cynical and coldhearted willingness to further a divisive political agenda even if it will deny women access to lifesaving cancer screenings and birth control."

A Bachmann spokesman confirmed that the three-term congresswoman would avoid using the company's name in the future.

LensCrafters has not responded to CNN's request for comment.


Filed under: 2012 • Michele Bachmann • Planned Parenthood
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. Bob C

    The people that take this women seriously are the real idiots. Please, people of Minnesota, come to your senses and give this moron the hook. She is making you look really, really stupid.

    April 13, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. cris

    omg will these twits please shut up. we're doomed...

    April 13, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Quinton

    How can a blatant liar continue to hold office. What else has she lied about? They should investigate her.

    April 13, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. Eric P

    BTW, Michele Bachmann knows 100% of everything she says is a lie. It's not about truth, it's about pandering to the ignorant and the stupid...just the types of people who comprise the majority of the conservative base in this country. These are regressive regligionist sociopaths who have found a niche. They'd absolutely go away forever if CNN and other news outlets just stopped giving them a fair chance to speak their minds. We all know what they think and most of us think they're crazy and dangerous. Take away the spotlight they absolutely require to live and they die off.

    April 13, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    CNN needs an entirely new column called "Stupid speeches from stupid poeple" – It wold take up most of their bandwidth the Palin, Bachman and Trump

    April 13, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Chris

    I think that if you are pro or con on abortion rights you have to agree that comparing Planned Parenthood to LensCrafters is a pretty fair comparison. PP has several things going for it in "the business". They have name recognition. A large "retail" footprint. If anyone is "Big Abortion" It is PP.

    April 13, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Tommy Jonq

    who's more dishonest, here? bachmann, for technically misquoting trombley (which is dishonest) or trombley deliberately covering up "abortion" with "family planning?" btw, did you know that abortion byproducts (not including abortion procedures) is a ten billion dollar-plus industry? in america alone? and did you know that, for the past forty years, "republicans" like bachmann and boehner and bush have promised, promised, promised, at the tops of their lungs to "do" Something about abortion? and did you notice boehner caved in, again, on abortion last friday?

    April 13, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. LouAz

    Hey, loose lips sink ships !
    I can read and write, sorta, I think I'll run for POTUS.

    April 13, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. The Other Dale

    If you want to rant about Planned Parenthood using the name Lenscrafters it still doesn't justify what Bachmann did. There's an old saying "two wrongs don't make a right" for a reason. Furthermore, the statement from Trombley was about family planning not abortion (there is a bit of a difference there, y'know) and was a one-off comment. Bachmann not only ties in Lenscrafters with abortion, but makes it an ongoing slogan. Big difference and a logical reason why Lenscrafters isn't happy about the connection being made by Bachmann. But , then again,I keep forgetting that Tea Partiers believe it's always someone else's fault when they do something stupid. What a bunch of limpwrist crybabies.

    April 13, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Joe - Wilmington, DE

    ...and I thought Bachmann was more intelligent than Palin. My mistake.

    April 13, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. marty

    By all means cease funding for abortions. Then there will be more government money to subsidize owners of family farms such as Michele Bachmann's, who has received upwards of half a million tax dollars.

    April 13, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. Cedar Rapids

    'So if I start an abortion clinic and then sell condoms under the guise of "family planning", can I get MILLIONS and MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars??? '
    Yeah because that is all that planned parenthood does, fool.

    'So why isnt LensCrafter saying the same thing to Steve Trombley? Bachmann is only repeating what someone else has said which is stated in the article.'
    Because he said it once in an interview 3 years ago which puts Lenscrafter in a positive light, and she deliberately misquotes its on more than one occasion as a sound bite and puts lenscrafters in a negative light. Really not that difficult.

    April 13, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Richard T.

    So many lie from this fool and truly wacko person. The GOP and TEA Potties know this but just lie for thier own benefit. Lairs!

    No federal funds are used for abortion services. The Federal government does reimbursement payments for specific medical and family planning service. The right wing nuts in Congress should already know this. Planned Parenthood's fund is cyloed and do not blend fed and other funds. This is common business accounting practice. I wonder why the business bought and paid for GOPers do not understand a basic business and Generally Accespted Accounting Principles.

    April 13, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Marjee123

    Guess she thinks if she ever got to be president it would be just like her job in congress. Flit around the world and bask in the money raising process and forget all about the US> You know like she does in her district in Minnesota. Worst district in MN for foreclosures, no jobs, no road or bridge fixing. Not even showing up to address the people in her district for months and months on end. too busy being a celeb. and thinking if she goes all out for the fringe she will win. got news for you Bachmann the people of this country are not as easily to fool as religious nut jobs in your district that vote for you.

    April 13, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. Doug

    I'm pro-choice but any objective person aka non-democrat would admit that Michelle is right on this one.

    We have seen the sick fetish that many of these Democrats have as witnessed by the discovery of what the Democrat Doctor in Philadelphia had in jars, his prized liberal posessions. It is also fact that these Democrats target inner city minorities, yet that is not racist, disgreeing with Obama on the budget is racist though.

    April 13, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Lk

    Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS and the gay agenda crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither...

    April 13, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. Brian Hartman

    I can understand LensCrafters wanting to be left out of the controversy, but I don't think it's her fault that Trombley used LensCrafters. And while he might have said "family planning" rather than "abortion" (we'll have to take his word on that, I guess), among the other things Planned Parenthood does, they provide abortions, so if they want to be come the LensCrafters of anything they do, they'll also become the "LensCrafters of abortion" (unless they stop offering abortions, which I don't think is in the cards).

    April 13, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. mike

    It just goes to show how low the republican party has gone and everyone knows it they are losing there base and the real nut jobs are the only thing they got and they look like fools trying to play up to them recalls are happening all over this country because they sold the voters a bill of goods and now they are doing the complete opposite trump is just one example along with Bachmann

    April 13, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Doug

    That Democrat Doctor in Philadelphia sure loved to collect his "family Planning" in jars, like so many other 'dem.

    April 13, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Angella Jones

    It is amazing how this LOUD-MOUTH woman:
    1. do NOT know America's history
    2. has a hard time speaking the truth
    3. and even more a harder time understanding what people say. It doesn't take a 5th grader to understand the comparison the CEO said – yet this woman is so DUMB she could not understand. Can she get any more dumb?

    April 13, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. JoeT

    Was wondering how many jobs would be created if the US Congress were to outlaw abortion. Notice how little culture war details didn't get many sound-bites in the last election? The independents better start having memory spans that reach further back than 2 years when 2012 rolls around.

    April 13, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. Brian Hartman

    Richard T.:

    Planned Parenthood does abortions. The federal government provides money for Planned Parenthood. It doesn't matter if the money isn't spent on abortions directly. If the federal government is providing money to help keep Planned Parenthood afloat, they're supporting abortions.

    April 13, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Rob Zamites

    This is only another example of the vitriolic and ignorant agenda the so-called "pro-lifers" bring to the table. Not only is Michele Bachmann a poor example of a U.S. Representative, citizens who claim to adhere to her diatribe reveal the slow decay of the collective intelligence of the U.S. population to allow such a woman to represent them in our Congress.

    April 13, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Ohio Man

    LoL.. has she ever gotten any of her fact right.. i think her and Palin and both sitting on the couch smoking something when they come up with this stuff they say and have it all twisted, but the sad part is that people believe it and will stand by it instead of fact checking to make sure they are making the right choice not just a choice that sounds good, but for some people that can't read all they can do is listen and believe what they hear.. aint that right "four and the door" :-)

    April 13, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If people can't get their facts straight, then why bother speaking? She needs to get her facts correct before opening her mouth or putting pen to paper/ typing on the keyboard. If I were in LensCrafters, I would go to court to have Bachmann stop comparing LensCrafters to Planned Parenthood. They don't do the same function and aren't compairable.

    April 13, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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