LensCrafters v. Bachmann
April 13th, 2011
11:55 AM ET
3 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. PJ

    This lady is not a good example for Parenthood – My belief
    is that her parents failed in a very dramatic fashion.

    April 13, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Joe The Plumber

    What's a "big abortion?" Was Bachmann referring to elephants?

    April 13, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. greg

    I agree with mike...if they pro-lifers really believe in what they say, then there shoudl not be a single child in the country waiting for adoption. It's so easy to get your moral lift from telling someone else how to behave–far harder to actually walk the talk. So where are you, pro-lifers? Because life doesn't end at brith...though you would not know it by way you express your politics.

    April 13, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. shawky

    Didn't folks in Minnesota elect Jesse Ventura as their governor? I am not surprised they elected Bachmann as well. Something is wrong there.

    April 13, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. John Sharp

    Bill,

    Lens Crafter is making her stop because she is repeatedly using the phrase. The gentleman from Planned Parenthood only made the comparison once.
    They want her to stop future use of their company in this analogy. They don't need to do that with the executive from Planned Parenthood because he never made the comparison again.

    April 13, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. thomas

    We as a Nation are doomed with such ignorant and arrogant leaders consumed in spin and denial ,"Michele Bachmann" !
    Barbour / Bachmann 2012

    April 13, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. Dennis Olson

    I have voted against this idiot twice now, but the problem is her district is so spread out and diversified, not racially, economically. There is a very greedy, wealthy, ultra conservative, religious faction near Stillwater and near St Cloud that continually vote for this unintelligent woman. To my knowledge she has never answered a direct question since being elected. Recenly in Rome a fellow American bus passenger living in Italy said to me "are you people in Minnesota nuts" regarding her reelection. I said yes we are! How else can you explain this woman getting elected to anything.

    April 13, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. EatRunDive

    I'm sure that her remarks “were not intended to be a factual statement"

    April 13, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. shootmyownfood

    Why oh why does anyone think abortion is the purview of anyone but the parents? Planned Parenthood provided me with birth control in the '80's, but never an abortion. By providing birth control, they probably effectively kept me from the possibility of abortion. How can this be a bad thing? Along with cervical cancer screening, family planning is a fabulous service provided by Planned Parenthood. Abortions are a last resort, not what anyone plans to do prior to being impregnated. And sometimes, alas, birth control fails.

    April 13, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Chris in SC

    Palin part duh...just running her mouth.

    April 13, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Michael in Houston

    just another repub making her very own special kind of stupid remarks displaying how limited she is and of course telling every woman what she can and cant do with her uterus. Gad, these people are so deeply in need of new material

    April 13, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. Tony

    I don't know about her vision, but Michelle is hobbled with the inability to think or speak clearly.

    April 13, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. stevetall

    This isn't the only problem with Michelle Bachman's vision. Unless you're the pregnant woman, shut up about abortion. You have no right to tell someone else what to do with their body, whether you agree with what they're doing or not. Politicians have much more important things to do than try to legislate morality.

    April 13, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. Little Tin God

    Every time this dimwit opens her mouth, more lies and innuendo come out. I really, REALLY hope that she is in the thick of the GOP scrum for the nomination. Right now the only thing missing from the current crop of GOP potentials is the white face makeup and the big, red, rubber nose.

    April 13, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. JoeT

    Underlying most of this pro-life nonsense is the notion that promiscuity should be punished by childbirth. In that sense, children are not seen as blessings, but as a divine punishment. This is consistent with a pathological desire to then punish the poor and their children for failing to have money, which they would have if the were part of the elect.

    April 13, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Babs

    Really? Funny, but it seems to me that the people that do the most screeching about "Big Abortion" are, for the most part, wealthy women and white men. My daughter found cancer in time because of planned parenthood. She is on birth controll because of planned parenthood. I myself found out about my first pregnancy because of planned parenthood. It's sooooo much more than this pin head would have people think.
    This one's a real keeper, GOP. Please let her run for POTUS. It would just make my day.

    April 13, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. Gary

    In response to "Bill" who I am sure is eluding to the liberal bias of the eyeglass industry. Maybe it is because 1. He did not use it in an inflammatory way and 2. only used the analogy once.

    April 13, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. Tony

    Her kids must wear bags over their heads when they go to school.

    April 13, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. drp

    The GOP, Tea Partiers, and extremist religions for some reason only focus in on the abortion services at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is all about its name. They provide all sorts services for birth control usually at a rate a woman/man can afford. I do not think abortion is a choice that anyone likes. But without access to birth control abortion is the answer for any number of reasons (unwanted preganancy, lack of money to support a child, possible drug-affected baby, genetic issues that would cause a child to be severely disabled, and more). Planned Parenthood is about choice for all people.
    I have written to my Senators in Georgia to relay my concerns about cutting funding for Planned Parenthood. Even though I made the same statements as above, these Senators are h*ll bent on focusing in on the abortions Planned Parenthood provides. They have such tunnel vision on this issue...it is totally embarassing.

    April 13, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. wake up America

    This woman is a sick puppy!

    April 13, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. big~tuna

    It is truly stunning how many of these republican prez runners have begun to believe their own pr machines.
    sarah seems to have come to the realization she will never be anything but a joke bit player who
    made some good $ off the suckers..
    donald needs to get together with michele, ƒuckabee, mit the twit and many others to draw the same conclusion.

    April 13, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. Mikey

    I think this psycho liar gets this stuff when Christ comes to her in a dream and tells her it's true.

    April 13, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Jen

    Oh I think CNN keeps giving these liars a platform in order to highlight their incompetencies, lies and distortions of the truth.

    Bachman knows what she's saying -she's just hoping you won't find out she's lying.

    Good Job CNN! Keep these articles coming.

    April 13, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. demetri

    The issue with Bachman is that she is deliberately misinterpreting Mr. Trombley's words with misleading and offensive attacks against Planned Parenthood dragging LensCrafters into it. This not childs play although she is behaving like one. There is no truth in her comment except the names of the partiies involved. Also her comment is meant to incite, by using "abortion" which PP does not provide and relate it to what LC does. Just because it maybe a simile or a metaphor does not make it right.

    April 13, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. normajean

    This woman is dangerous. She says whatever comes into her tiny brain and unfortunately because some people are seduced by a pretty face, they will believe what she says. She has already been caught in any number of political and historical gaffs that you all would be screaming about if the president said them, yet you accept what this misinformed liar throws out. Isn't it time the rest of you exercise your god given rites to read,think,listen and learn?????

    April 13, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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