Account: Bachmann bodyguards rough up reporter, campaign gives its story
July 19th, 2011
06:26 PM ET
3 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. Andurill

    If you're chasing the woman that's harassment to me and he deserved what he got.

    July 19, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  2. Don

    Amateurs.....they will never succeed because they have no idea how to handle questions that aren't scripted with pat answers. I'm sure if someone asked her her middle name she'd have to run and hide.

    July 19, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  3. tomcar16

    Sweetheart, you have no shot of becoming President. Give it up and just go away! You're wasting people's time and money at a time when people have no time and money to waste.

    July 19, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. badcyclist

    Were the security goons wearing armbands? Brown shirts?

    To be fair, they did warn him not to be a reporter and ask questions and all that stuff.

    July 19, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  5. fbysea

    "But I'd like to be abundantly clear, my ability to function effectively … will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief." How reassuring! Was this a "gotcha" statement?

    July 19, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  6. conoclast

    Well, Brian Ross succeeded mightily, if dirty politics still rule, in that he's sown the seed. Run with it guys! "Debilitating"! You heard the word; that's all you need to hear, right? Never thought I'd be on Bachman's side of an issue...

    July 19, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. Al Boree

    This is why the poor gal gets her migraines. All these tough questions from the liberal media elites. Bachman should ignore these pesky reporters, take her "prescription" narcotic pills, take a nice nap and dream some pure Christian dreams while Hubby prays away the gay.

    July 19, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Jackc14530

    It is about time these reporters start to respect peoples right. They think because there reporters that they can go anywhere they want. They should the idiot up off the stage.

    July 19, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  9. Jackc14530

    They should lock the idiot up

    July 19, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. CTYank

    Really, what would you expect from these folks? Candor? Responsiveness to non-Fox reporter? Let's be real.

    The idea of Michelle as C-in-C is ludicrous and very scary; her putting the two in the same sentence is laughable and just shows how out-of-touch with reality she is. Hopefully Murdoch will be distracted by legal problems from touting her to his sheep; he might even refrain on his own because of her ignorance/arrogance.

    July 19, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  11. marty

    Maybe Michelle had a migraine when she made some of her horrendous statements. Migraines can very definitely inhibit one's ability to work effectively, they are not compatible with the pressures of a presidency. Mrs. Bachmann should cease and desist, drop the man-handlers and drop out of the race.

    July 19, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  12. GOP = Greed Over People

    " or address the question of whether or not Bachmann missed any House votes due to migraines."

    Obviously, she has or she would not have done so much to NOT answer the question.

    Perhaps, those migraines are caused by something other than stress, huh, Botox Bachmann?

    July 19, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  13. Migraine Sufferer

    If Ms. Bachmann truly suffers from migraines she in NO WAY needs to be leading this country. When I am having a migraine I am, for the most part, incapacitated as I lose vision and the ability to make decisions quickly and confidently. When I take my medication it puts me to sleep, as it should! The leader of this country must have the capacity and capability of making extremely important, split second decisions. What are we going to do, tell the terrorists to wait till tomorrow because our president has a migraine or she just took her medicine?

    July 19, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    "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."

    Why not just answer the question? It's a simple yes or no ...

    BTW, I've had only two migraines in my life, and trust me, they TOTALLY incapacitate a person. (Mine occurred both times shortly after giving birth, when I was dehydrated and had eaten too much salt; no underlying physiological condition, no need for preventive meds.)

    For someone to be on prescribed medication to "control" migraines, means Bachmann has them frequently enough that they are a problem – and they could potentially affect her ability as (hard to type this next without falling out of my chair from laughter) POTUS.

    End of story.

    July 19, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  15. Mike Dallas

    "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."

    Uh, little missy, the "abilitiy of the CIC' does not normally include lying in a quiet, dark room in a drug induced coma for the better part of a day or even days.

    July 19, 2011 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. wayne

    ....why didn't she just "pray him away"?

    July 19, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Here in Texas soul singer Patti LaBelle's bodyguards are facing criminal charges for the same thing Bachmann's bodyguards did and I believe in justice for all regardless who you are.

    July 19, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. Church

    Vote for her, and you will get more of this type of Gestapo behavior.

    July 19, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  19. rhumba

    Was she running away yelling, "Help, he's trying to kidnap me!"?

    July 19, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  20. straightsDs

    Having incapacitating migraines is the least of my worries with this one.

    July 19, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  21. BrianC

    Now imagine if ANYTHING close to this occurred with a Democrat or god forbid Obama. The Right wing blogs and faux would go ballistic.
    If Bachmann can't answer questions from the press...VALID questions about things that could very well impact her duties as president IN STRESSFUL SITUATIONS then she needs to reassess herself as a valid candidate.

    I'm really getting tired of the gop candidates who will not answer very valid questions from very credible reporters. It's obvious they are hiding things from the voters, important things that we should know baout anyone who is running for office.

    July 19, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  22. jimzcarz

    Not even worthy of a comment...

    July 19, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. Debbie

    Must be a TeaParty candidate thing. Remember when Rand Paul's people stomped on the head of a woman.

    July 19, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    this lady with migraine headaches will take that call at 3:AM with her finger on the red button? well i got my radiation suit!!

    July 19, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  25. David c.

    Remember, America, we're not as free as we might suspect!

    July 19, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
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