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

    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."

    A lot of migraine sufferers required down-time in a dark room.....or a order to restore themselves to a painless, clear thinking condition.

    If Bachmann is among that would be a disservice to the nation if she were to be in an office that often requires immediate decisions concerning national security operations. A President should be counted on to have a clear head at all times.

    July 19, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Bachmann constantly touts how she is a born again christian. I wonder how Jesus and his body guards would have reacted in a similar situation. Dodge a questions to avoid telling a lie? Doubt it. This woman is completely mad but I do hope she wins the Republican nomination for president. Her mouth and extreme idiocy will ensure her defeat and she will probably help a few Repub.House members and a Repub senator or two lose their seats as well. We will all be better off for it. Obama 2012.

    July 19, 2011 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  3. A disillusioned Republican

    What a surprise that Bachmann would have goons to keep mainstream reporters away from her.

    July 19, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  4. Paul Willson

    Now roughing up a member of the media bad idea. Now as to what was asking about. I honestly don't think migraines affect one that badly. And other POTUS had medical concerns, JFK's Addison & bad back, FDR worked out of wheelchair for his time at the White House, Lincoln had frequent depression s . Yet respectively JFK got USA through Bay of Pigs & Cuban missile Crisis and launched the space program, FDR got the nation through the depression, and WW II Lincoln managed the Union during the ACW. So I could see no hinnderance to Ms.Bachmann serving. Now if I could I wouldn't vote for her but not cause she has migrains . Lots of luck

    July 19, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  5. nowar

    same old wine in a brand new bottle. what ever happened about honesty and transperity? she spews her rhetoric and cuts and runs. this really makes me want to vote for her.

    July 19, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  6. JLO

    Is there video of this? That's the only way we'll know who is lying.

    July 19, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  7. Shannon

    so everyone is lying but Batty Bachmann. This woman is an ubelievable loon, and if she isn't heavily medicated she should be. Anyone who supports her, and her blatant racism and hate of anyone who doesn't think like she does, should hang their heads in shame. Come on America, we have to be able do do better than a woman who signs a pledge saying slavery is a good thing, or that hides behind bushes at gay pride events to spy on people she considers her enemy. Good Grief!

    July 19, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
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