Bachmann's history lesson for Obama
October 28th, 2011
06:36 PM ET
10 years ago

Bachmann's history lesson for Obama

Davenport, Iowa (CNN) - At a Friday campaign event in Iowa, Michele Bachmann detailed two of her biggest issues with the Obama administration.

To make her point, the Minnesota congresswoman stated that a proposed rule change by the Justice Department would have kept the Watergate tapes from being disclosed. She also said that President Obama has not heeded the warnings of history in his dealings with Iran and by the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

The Minnesota congresswoman spoke at length at a town hall in Davenport, launching familiar missiles against the administration's economic and foreign policies.

And yet it appears Bachmann could be expanding her arsenal of verbal attacks against the president to help her standing with conservatives. The Minnesota congresswoman is currently sagging in several national and state polls, her campaign has been criticized by former staffers who've bolted, and Bachmann is being urged to drop of out the race by one influential tea party sponsor.

During the town hall, Bachmann waded into the controversy surrounding a proposed Justice Department rule change regarding Freedom of Information requests.

"Right now, there's a rule that the Obama administration is pushing so we can no longer have Freedom of Information Act requests. The government would be allowed under this rule to say that documents don't exist, when they do," Bachmann said.

"Well, think back with me: anyone remember Richard Nixon? Anyone remember Watergate? Under this rule, that President Obama is proposing, the Nixon administration could say, 'What tapes? We don't know about any tapes. They don't exist.'"

Bachmann did not provide the audience with the context behind the proposed rule change, however. The Justice Department has pointed out the issue is not a new one - it has been policy since 1987. Then, Attorney General Ed Meese first explained, in a memo to the Department, why there are times when denying the existence of particularly sensitive information is the best alternative. It refers to three types of instances –records on informants, matters involving sensitive national security investigations, and ongoing criminal investigations - where the target has no knowledge they are under investigation.

At another point during the event, Bachmann reiterated her dismay over the president's dealings with Israel, accusing administration policies of putting "daylight" between the United States and its long time ally.
She continued to decry the president's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

"Iran is waiting in the wings to come in and dominate that area and have the influence in Iraq," the candidate said.

Bachmann continued: "The reason why I brought that up is because Iran is the main centerpiece of Middle East problems - because Iran seeks a nuclear weapon. Why? They seek it to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Just as recently as September, [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad the President of Iran, said that they will use that weapon to eradicate Israel."

"Now I think that history has shown us, go back to the 1940s and the late 1930s, when a mad man speaks you should listen to what that mad man is saying," Bachmann added.

–CNN Justice Producer Terry Frieden contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Michele Bachmann
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. AlaskaPalin

    Agree- we must take the madman at his word. We cannot fault obama on foreign policy- he speaks softly and wields his big stick. We must be assured that he has taken every element of irans nuke program into consideration. On Israel, he as candidate was willing to recognize Jerusalem as its capital to him this was non negotiable can anyone be more orthodox than that on Israel. Isn't it ironic that the secretary of state who was hawkish on iran is there to help with the 3AM calls. From mearsk alabama to ben ladin to gaddafi his call has been right. No lost of the lives of our finest and bravest. Is there a subtle undertone for political expediency that there might be some failure in his foreign policy- if there is it should be looked on as unpatriotic even treasonous for he his policy with its numerous adaptations has kept us safe so far. One might not vote for him but after 9/11 we all (americans) better hope that he as our president gets it right not only 100 percent but even preemptively all of the time. I personally will still vote for a gop candidate who will say of our president, 'on foreign policy so far 'barrack' so good'.

    October 28, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. giants

    bachmann is not telling you the real reason for the troop withdrawal.

    Basically, the Iraq goverment has refused to extend a long standing policy of protecting U.S. troops from legal prosecution related to peripheial war casulties. Therefore, in was in the best interest of our troops to pulled them out.

    October 28, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  3. John

    No wonder why the tea Party Is telling you to Quit. Because the troops In Iraq should never have been there In the First Place. Because they was send there on a Republican LIE. And you Republican keep sating that the Spending has to stop, But with you Republican you can spend all the money you want on wars. Michele Bachmann You are a IDIOT and that you shouldn't even be In Congress.

    October 28, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |

    Whom does this fatuos beeyotch thinks she's school? Oh, that's right, the Tea party branch and other low information voters. Mr. Pawlenty knew his campaign was over and gracefully bowed out. Crazy eyes (Bachmann) still does see the writing on the wall.

    October 28, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. NowYouCanGoHomeBachmann

    Just go home woman! Haven't you made fool out of yourself enough! And, by the way look yourself into the mirror before opening your mouth about President of United States!

    October 28, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  6. Tony

    History lesson from someone who is always getting her facts wrong?

    October 28, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  7. Unenrolled in Massachusetts

    How much longer will CNN be promoting this person. It is obvious that noone wants her to be president and the sooner the press stops reporting on everything she says, the better off w all will be.

    October 28, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. DocinPA

    Oh, please! I just read the headline for this report and broke out laughing!!

    October 28, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. VistaPoint

    Bachmann should first read history and hope to learn something from it. She probably does not know that Iraq and Iran fought one of the longest wars in history and millions of Iraqies died. Also, it is upto the Iraqi people to do what they want. Iraq is not our colony. The Russians tried to do that in Afghanistan and got their butt kicked. if we try to overstay the invite, we would have bloodier war on our hands.

    October 28, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. Stephen Daugherty

    Iran is coming to dominate, because we went into Iraq, a decision she supported, without doing the planning well enough to prevent a power vacuum.

    The funny thing about many things that folks like Bachmann say is that President Obama is often trying to clearn up the messes that their fellow conservatives and Republicans made in the first place. I mean, if Republicans are going to criticize what Obama is doing in bringing our troops home, I'd ask them, why the hell did Obama ever get the opportunity to decide the end of this war in the first place?

    Because they failed to bring the war to an end within the almost five years during which the Bush Administration had the opportunity to do so. If they had done their jobs right, Obama would not be the President taking this war to its uncertain conclusion.

    October 28, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  11. Texican

    thought they told you to leave.

    October 28, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  12. TB

    You cannot claim to be a "fiscal conservative' who wants to cut government spending, and at the same time advocate continuing to waste billions and billions of dollars on an occupation that we never should have started to begin with.

    You're either a fiscal conservative, or you are not. You cannot have it both ways.

    October 28, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. willard

    I heard that presdient obama are trouble with white house also he will be impeach soon

    October 28, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. Portland tony

    Well, at least, she sounds like she knows something ...too bad she's full of crap!

    October 28, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  15. Reggie from LA

    "Bachmann did not provide the audience with the context..." First of all she rarely supplies real context. She will gather up a bunch o' fun facts (MAYBE factual. Lady with retarded child HPV vaccine). Second she rarely offers solutions that are viable and spends a great deal of time bashing the President. If it were Herb Cain, businessman, it would be one thing. She is a Senator whose job is to move us forward. She is frequently and bitterly disrespectful and ego manically expects that everyone's with her. 3rd, for her and others, how long are we supposed to nurse maid Iraq?

    October 28, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. Keith in Austin

    Bozo needs to apoligize for the US more to the Iranians so they'll like him more. God help us with this community organizer in offive!

    October 28, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  17. 4merRepubCT

    So Bachmann thinks that something that has been standard practice since 1967 is a "new rule"? This is very, very scary..

    October 28, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  18. Tony in Maine

    Just when you think it can't get any more bizarre – Michele Bachmann decides she has a better grounding in history than Barack Obama. This is the woman who thought the Minutemen defended Concord, NH, against the British Army.

    October 28, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  19. Clwyd

    Michelle, heed the words of the Tea Party. " It is time for you to withdraw!' "Heed the words of your NH staffers and, "Get some mental help!"

    October 28, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  20. Steve

    And what if it's a mad woman that speaks? What do we do then?

    October 28, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  21. MG

    She is irrelevant from day one. It's just a matter of time before she throws in the towel.

    October 28, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    And when a "mad woman" speaks, we change the channel. We've heard the lies and innuendos before. They've been fact-checked and she gets a "Pants on Fire" for 99.99% of her statements.

    Why are so many republicans so PARANOID?

    October 28, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  23. chill

    The Fairy Tale Princess is at it again- making stuff up or somehow forgetting the rule was developed under Ronald Reagan to protect national security and criminal investigations. Bachman never lets facts get in the way of a good story. And there is more than one way to get daylight between two parties. Maybe it's the Israelis who moved. I don't get this slavish desire to be led around by the nose by the likes of Netenyahu.

    October 28, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  24. Publius Novus

    Apparently Bachmann does not know that the Freedom of Information Act does not now and never has applied to the Executive Office of the President. Ask Dick Cheney and the SCOTUS. Nor did it exist in its present form before July 4, 1975, several years after Dick Nixon revealed the existence of the tapes. I guess they didn't cover that at the Oral Roberts School of Law.

    October 28, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  25. DeeDee

    she is Right, when a mad woman talk you should listen to her. This woman is CRAZZZZZY

    October 28, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
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