Account: Bachmann bodyguards rough up reporter, campaign gives its story
July 19th, 2011
06:26 PM ET
7 years ago

Account: Bachmann bodyguards rough up reporter, campaign gives its story

Washington (CNN) – Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign is giving its version of what happened at a campaign appearance on Tuesday amid claims that two Bachmann bodyguards "manhandled" a reporter who was trying to question the presidential candidate.

At issue is an altercation involving the Minnesota Republican and ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross at a campaign stop in Aiken, South Carolina.

"It didn't happen the way Brian [Ross] is describing it," Bachmann press secretary Alice Stewart told CNN. "He was repeatedly asked by our security people to stay off the stage and he jumped up on there anyway."

Bachmann was on stage for a political event and afterwards, she responded to a report that she has debilitating migraine headaches. A report in the Daily Caller earlier Tuesday was headlined, "Stress-related condition 'incapacitates' Bachmann; heavy pill use alleged."

"I'm prescribed medication that I take on occasion whenever symptoms arise and they keep my migraines under control," Bachmann said in response. "But I'd like to be abundantly clear, my ability to function effectively … will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief."

Ross was at the event apparently to ask the Minnesota congresswoman if she'd ever missed a House vote because of migraine headaches.

After Bachmann made her statement, she began to leave the stage without taking reporter questions. Time correspondent Michael Crowley described to CNN's Lisa Sylvester a dramatic account of what happened next.

"As soon as she finished the statement, they turned the PA system on really loud with the music playing so loud that it was really hard to even try to ask her a question if you wanted to," Crowley said. "But Brian [Ross], you know, started asking, you know, in a kind of dogged voice, 'Have you ever missed a house vote because of your migraine – have you ever missed a roll call vote.' And she ignored him and walked away quickly."

Crowley continued: "Brian started to chase after her, you know, just repeating the question the way a reporter does … but there was nothing particularly unusual about it. And then at one point, she kind of went behind the stage she was on – her car was parked there – and Brian sort of went around behind the stage as well."

Then the account turns especially dramatic: "A couple of guys really just came at him [Brian Ross]," Crowley said. "There were a few cops there and there were what looked to me like two bodyguards…and their hands were on him. They were…sort of manhandling and pushing him and you know at one point it looked like they were kind of holding him back, pulling him away from her as he was just trying to ask her this question. And she just ignored the question…And got in her car and drove away."

ABC News confirmed to CNN Crowley's account.

Bachmann's campaign described the situation differently.

"We were on a tight timeframe to get her back to [Washington] D.C. for an important vote on Cut, Cap and Balance," Stewart told CNN. "We were on a beeline to the car. And he [Brian Ross] jumped up on stage. We repeatedly told him not to do it. And he did it. And then he ran around a group of people – just repeatedly disregarded our request for him to stay back so she could get in the car and go to D.C."

Stewart did not address the specific account that two Bachmann bodyguards roughed up Ross – or address the question of whether or not Bachmann missed any House votes due to migraines.

"That's all I'm going to say," Stewart said.

Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Michele Bachmann
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Billy

    Proving, once again, she is not ready for prime time.

    July 19, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. Jake

    what happened!? they didn't show their proper Fox News or Evangelical credentials?

    July 19, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  3. DAK

    Then I would say she HAS missed votes due to headaches... If she hadn't, she'd be the first to say so. Silence speaks volumns in some cases.

    July 19, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. rhumba

    "But I'd like to be abundantly clear, my ability to function effectively … will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief." Was something left out of this quote? If not, it's a pretty dumb statement. Of course her ability to function effectively won't affect her ability to serve. Think about it.

    July 19, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. joe the plumber

    if this woman want to be president of this great country,she must ready to answers questions,how will she deal with world leaders if don't to take a questions from report?

    July 19, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  6. roro

    She doesn't want to answer any questions that are not pre-planned, so she pulled a Sharron Angle. Typical for these talking points dummies, who can only do zombie-like speaking points. Many times I've seen her asked a question, but her response is just something she's been trained to say over and over that has nothing to do with the question asked.

    July 19, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. frank in indiana

    Its the air in her head trying to escape. That's why sorority girls wear bows to keep the head inflated. Maybe her husband can pray them away. Or just tell her to get over it, and being obedient she'll be cured.

    July 19, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  8. Drogo, who bit the dust

    So CNN which version of the story is correct?

    July 19, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  9. KBinMN

    I wonder what would have happened if a reporter had tried to go behind the stage during Obama's presidential campaign? I'm guessing the reporter would have been handled much worse then in this case. Of course we didn't have reporters trying to destroy Obama's run for office now did we?

    July 19, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. RAY

    I hope she has goverment healthcare

    July 19, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. Just Talking Loud and Saying Nothing

    Migranes are not the reason for her diviseness, ignorence, hateful, uniformed, say anything about anyone,mean-spiritness, no answers, no solutions, no clueness but, it's a good try. I hope the mother of migrane kiss your forehead.

    July 19, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  12. StevePi

    What was that guys name who ran for governor of Alaska? Didn't his security pull a similar stunt? What is it with these wacko cons? they can't even answer a simple question.

    July 19, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    Yeah – get her lies ..... uh story ..... out there. Wouldn't want her to get a migraine and have to use her tax-paid insurance to spend days in a hospital over it.

    July 19, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. Russ

    Sounds like another Palin, just don't want to answer any tough questions unless they are already screened and the answers memorized. Oh, wait Bachmann has been doing this for years just like Palin. Or she changes the subject and answers a question that wasn't even asked. Yep, my idea of a Presidential candidate.

    July 19, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. Bashaleebee

    Another way she is not fit to be president. I worked with someone who suffered from migraines. That person was on disability half the time and when present, was miserable or incompetent. So many people wound up losing their jobs because of that person making their lives miserable. Not that that would be true of sweet Michelle.

    July 19, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  16. Embarrased Conservative

    So I guess the answer to his question is YES!!!

    July 19, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  17. Randy

    Time and ABC are both giving the same account on what happened and Bachmann's press secretary says it did not happen that way. That is 2-1 and I am going to have to go with Time and ABC's account of it. Bachmann comes off as not being an honest person and that goes for her campaign too.

    July 19, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  18. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    Oh my... I hope they didn't turn his collar up and muss his pretty hair! Such dangerous duty harassing candidates and being downright rude and inconsiderate. Have you ever seen them do this to Obama about his never ending stream of lies?

    July 19, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  19. Big D.

    Sort of like Tim Proffitt and his gang was protecting Ron Paul from that mad reporter that was trying to assault him . Remember when the two men were laying across the 98 pound SUPERWOMAN and Profitt had to go over and stomp on her chest to protect Paul ? No sense pressing charges about this though.All they would get is like Proffit, a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again.

    July 19, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  20. Calvin

    Security for candidate is the high priority. Therefore, Mr Brian must respect the request of stay away or when candidate does not want to answer his offended question. She is ligitimate a constitution while doing her campaign. It should be a lesson for media and specifically for Brian of ABC. Look at unfold britian scandal. It is a lesson and reporters are not above the law.

    July 19, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  21. samsmee

    " she has debilitating migraine headaches. A report in the Daily Caller earlier Tuesday was headlined, "Stress-related condition 'incapacitates' Bachmann; heavy pill use alleged." ...... Naw, I need a president that can be there when I need him, Go Obama 2012!!!!!

    July 19, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  22. its_all_a_game

    ... I know when i get a bad headache, I can lash out and bad make decisions... There is no way in hell I would ever vote for someone who is prone to such attacks... and especially if they're on pain killers to make it go away...

    Sorry, your cut.

    July 19, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. Fiona

    Severe migraines are debilitating, and they do incapacitate those who have them for hours or even days at a time. I am one of those. Ross's question was pertinent. some of the medications prescribed to "control" complicated migraine do dampen the intellect. I almost feel sympathy for Bachmann. Almost.

    As for Crowley, how can you be in the position you're in when you can't speak without saying "you know" and "sort of" and "kind of" so often? It's your job to speak precisely.

    July 19, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  24. AngryWombat

    Which means, yes, she has missed votes and role calls because of migraine headaches.

    Honestly, I don't like the woman. However, the only moment her migraines might lead to the downfall of the country is if she has a massive one MOMENTS before a general comes in with the FOOTBALL asking her to press the Big Red Button of Mutually Assured Destruction.

    This article is...pointless. I WANT MY TIME BACK CNN!

    July 19, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. Hical

    if Ross is going to insist on acting like a papparazzi ... then, he should expect to get less than respectful treatment.

    July 19, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
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