LensCrafters v. Bachmann
April 13th, 2011
11:55 AM ET
7 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. hjfarmer

    Why is this news and it is not news-worthy to note what Pelosi said at Tufts University which was that Republicans should take back their party "so that elections shouldn't matter so much because we have shared values..." Funny it seemed that the 2008 election mattered so much that she passed a health care bill which the majority of Americans still do not like–and we had to pass it so we could see what was in it.

    April 13, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. mike

    Did you ever wonder why we still have homeless children in this country when we have all these pro lifers running around forcing women to have children and when it comes time to adopt them they are no where to be found I am a taxpayer and I don't want to be paying for unwanted children in this country to all you pro life idiots when you start taking responsibility for every child that doesn't have a home in this country including there medical needs then I will listen

    April 13, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Bob in PA

    Lets go back to high school children. We all remember similes and metaphors don'y we ?

    April 13, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. steven harnack

    Silly me. I thought the comment that would draw condemnation was the call to hold the President of the United States hostage to the ultra-right wing agenda.

    April 13, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Mark

    I wonder wheer she gets her moraltiy from? The bible? That same document that states in so many passages that those who have should help those who don't have. That same document taht speaks of fogiveness and love. Michelle is a Christian fraud. As she gets close rto running, she will be under a lot more scrutiny. Her lack of intelligence will be out there for all to see. She will be embarrased and humbled.

    April 13, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |

    This country is in big trouble because stupid people follow, believe the lies, and vote for ignorant people like this woman Bachmann.

    April 13, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. rs

    Another Republican Tea PArty Candidate- another big lie.

    Republican/Tea Party- unsuitable for America or Americans.

    April 13, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    "I like to think of Planned Parenthood as the LensCrafters of family planning." Bachmann, without batting a fake eyelash, changes "family planning" to "abortion."


    Typical of Bachmann who, like her fellow Republicans, love to blatantly lie in support of their beliefs.

    Just like Senator John Kyl the other day saying that Planned Parenthood spends 90% of its budget on performing abortions – when in fact, PLANNED PARENTHOOD SPENDS 3% OF ITS BUDGET ON ABORTIONS.

    What a pack of LIARS!

    April 13, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. BamaWhig

    There's a basic contradiction in the conservative argument on abortion that I think they choose to ignore. It's that when the government gets involved in abortions, that's bigger government. That's federal intrusion into the lives and choices of its citizens. That's less freedom for you and I and it's done in the name of Conservatism. If you really want a smaller government, stop using the government as a stopgap for your failures at home and at church with your children. If you raise them well, they won't seek out an abortion, even if it is an available option.

    April 13, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. umm

    Tommy Jonq – Have you ever heard of a little thing called Birth Control? THAT is "family planning".
    And frankly, since Federal dollars do not pay for abortions, it's really none of your concern what a woman chooses to do in planning her life!

    April 13, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Bachmann needs to study Americans past and current history which is among her many gaffes. If she continues to appear on stage and just talk about President Obama and doesn't have knowledge of this country makes her look pretty foolish when she says "taking our country back" to a history she knows nothing about.

    April 13, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "big abortion"

    Is that supposed to be like "Big Oil"? These people are sick. Go ahead and search the intertubes for some audio of Glenn Beck making fun of Lawrence O'Donnell getting choked up while reading a woman's email that talks about breast cancer screenings etc. I guarantee you it will have you ready to put your fist through the wall, but it's a PERFECT example of what these people believe. The sheer callousness in the conservatives' belief system and ideology with respect to abortion and women's rights in general is beyond appalling, and their willingness to purposefully and forcefully spread misinformation and misrepresentations, falsehoods, fabrications, steretypes and generaly bigotry about it...just so they can satisfy a voting block, instead of doing the responsible, altruistic and truly moral thing, which is to spread the truth, the statistics that show what Planned Parenthood really does and why it's important, the facts about why it is an absolute necessity that women have these services available, including the right to choose. But no. It's more profitable for the Bachmans the Becks the Palins and especially the "news" media to allow backwards flat-planet thinking to get equal shrift with sanity and fact-based rational decision-making about social policy.

    April 13, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Dave

    This idiot wouldn't know a fact if it came up and bit her. She's just another useless right-wing slob who spends too much time running her mouth and no time engaging her brain.

    April 13, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. 2 Old 2B Afraid

    How nice for Michelle Bachmann that she never had to depend on Planned Parenthood for some of her medical needs. I guess when you've always had insurance (and now taxpayer funded) plans that cover mammograms, pap smears, unexplained bleeding, birth control and hubby's viagra, her ignorance is expected.

    April 13, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    "I'm from NYC where we don't sleep with our first and second cousins."

    Correct – you sleep with your house pets.

    April 13, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. Poser

    But what Steve Trombley, CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois, actually said is different than Bachmann's interpretation.

    Bachman's interpretation? No. She's lying. Come on CNN. When the GOP folks step up the microphone and make statements that are blatant lies, call them out on it.

    April 13, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Roscoe

    She needs more than glasses to see from where her head is located. Let the freak show continue......

    April 13, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. GaryB

    I hear Michelle Bachmann wants to be the LensCrafters of misinformation.

    April 13, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. ingrid

    Doug...family planning is located in areas with low incomes that often do not have affordable access to good health care. I am glad that you are pro-choice. As you know, only 3% of Planned Parenthood does is for abortions the rest is for tests, contraceptives and education. Federal Funding does not cover abortions.

    April 13, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. rjf

    The Republican slate of potential candidates (& Palin) are an amazing demonstration of the triumph of style over substance. In practically every speech, they all parrot the same idiocy: "Obamacare is evil, no new taxes, cut spending." It's incredibly sad how far the party of Lincoln- he of the "better angels of our nature" & "malice toward none and charity for all"- has fallen, as evidenced by this bumper crop of bigoted malcontents.

    April 13, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Lizzie

    Why do the Republicans allow people like this to speak for them? This constatnt lying and dumbing down of America is appalling. She comes from that ilk that wants to see women barefoot,pregnant and baking cookies. She does not represent any women that really work for a living. And to take this discussion one step further, none of these idiots, like her and Palin should be allowed to speak on foreign soil or to visiting diplomats as reprentatives of the American public. With people like this spewing ignorance and after Bush's presidency, it is no wonder people hate Americans.. As a career, workng woman, I hate what these idiots are doing to this country and selling all these lies, hatred and other assorted crap in the name of Christianity, should be a punishable offense.

    April 13, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Alina77

    Lies brought GOP back to power in 2010, why should they stop?? Kyl, Bachmann, every time they are opening their mouth you feel like this people truly believe that you are brainless idiot, other wise why would they continuing to do that?? Because we are buying it.

    April 13, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. ART

    If this moron decides to run and gets the nomination anyone who makes under $250,000. a year who votes for her is just as stupid as she is. She had the audacity to say the 1% of the wealthiest pays 40% of taxes in this country, but what she isn't saying is these are the people who use every tax break available to pay as little as 10% of their annual earnings compared to a smuck like me who pays 35% of mine,.and MIchele thats not acceptable.

    April 13, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. BamaWhig

    Also: Bachmann is a liar. Calling them stupid (while perhaps true) is also excusing their behavior. It's putting a dismissable reason onto unforgivable acts. Bachmann (above), Kyl (90% abortion rate), Palin (Death Panels, Crosshairs) and others need to not be treated as idiots, but as propagandists who are intentionally lying to the public. If politicians feel like their words are being validated by the voters and not just by media personalities (who they can dismiss) then we might see a little more truth out of them.

    April 13, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. linda iowa

    When will the right wing hate mongering stop?

    April 13, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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