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. Liz the First

    This woman giving President Obama a lesson in anything would be like me trying to give Einstein a lesson in physics.

    October 28, 2011 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  2. beevee

    Just when I was beginning to feel sorry for her being outplayed by Perry campaign and some in Teaparty, the madam of the midwest opened her mouth criticizing the president. Now I don't feel sorry for her. Whyd does she put on so much make up and the fake nails ? It shows no class.

    October 28, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  3. Dee

    Bachnman needs to learn the present, past and history. Israel is not someone to be reckoning with when it comes to nuclear weapons and its military force, they can hold their own. They are not afraid of Iran I can't believe that she is in Congress and don't know this the US will always be a friend to Israel.

    Ahmadenajad may act crazy but he is well aware of the military power of Israel in that region.

    October 28, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  4. Jake

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. Here's a perfect example of a republican candidate's campaign imploding. Bachmann's ship is sinking fast and this last volley of tirade is all she has left. In a week or two from now she'll be as obsolete and nonexsistent as palin and we could all use the silence. Ok, who's the next to get booted off the island?

    October 28, 2011 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  5. AB

    This article is total nonsense. Michelle Bachmann is desparate and is trying to regain traction in her failed campaign. She has no history lesson for Obama and is need of a history lesson herself–She needs to look at what happened to Hillary Clinton and John McCain when they ran against Obama. Bachmann is on her way out of the race. She just does not know it yet!!

    October 28, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  6. joe

    It has also shown when an insane woman speaks we should not listen.

    October 28, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  7. MaryM

    Bachman, no one cares what you think. Just pack it up and go home. You are your campaign are toast.

    October 28, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  8. skarphace

    That is quite ironic that Bachmann thinks she can give history lessons to anybody.

    You need to keep puckering up those lips, lady. A VP slot is all you can hope for at this point. Of course, she would spell doom for any candidate, much like Palin did in 2008.

    October 28, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  9. ruemorgue

    The idiot has a point. Peace in our time !!! Who said that and when?

    October 28, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  10. idknothing

    Thats it girl... you know how to get elected! 75% of the voters wanted out of Iraq, but you are much smarter. Please keep spouting out your stupidity to your stupid followers. I am almost sad that you won't be the republican candidate, it would be so much fun to see you put in your place.

    October 28, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  11. CaliforniaBC

    Yeah Bachmann is the LAST person qualified to give historically referenced advice to ANYONE.

    October 28, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  12. seneca

    Obama is just following the agreement GW Bush made that detailed that we would have all our troops out by dec 31 2011. So if you want to call someone a fool for planning to get our troops out by that date then you should point fingers at GW Bush.

    October 28, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  13. Melo-D

    I will never forgive the people of MInnesota for electing this dingbat. You can't tell me there is no one better than her available to run for office in MInnesota. Come on!

    October 28, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  14. mnguest

    can someone please just make her go away? I hear Alaska is nice....

    October 28, 2011 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  15. zip

    I think she should be able to spell history before she teaches it.

    October 28, 2011 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  16. Matt in Austin

    > She continued to decry the president's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

    Obama did not decide to withdraw from Iraq.

    Bush signed an agreement with the Iraqis stating that we would withdraw all forces from Iraq no later than Dec 31, 2011. This was announced at the same press conference where the Iraqi reporter threw a shoe at Bush. Look it up.

    Frau Bachmann needs a history lesson of her own.

    October 28, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  17. John in Brooklyn

    Ms. Bachman fails to remember is that the primary reason that the US went to war in Iraq was NOT because of an immediate threat from was because of the so-called immediate threat of Saddam's WMD program, which turned out to not only be nonexistent but, in fact, largely fictionalized by the Bush administration. As such, the entire Iraq effort for the past decade SHOULD have been to find a way to extract ourselves from a war zone that was justified on false logic and evidence. Fortunately, the current President gets that...and the fact that she DOESN'T demonstrates her lack of qualification to BE President.

    October 29, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  18. craig

    Hmmm. More spin, half-truths, and outright lies. If her base is really dumb enough to believe all this then...well, it's sad. New (or maybe not so new) campaign program for Bachmann: If you can't produce a good program, lie about the other guy!

    October 29, 2011 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  19. Ron

    She has not heeded the warning of history either: stupid is as stupid does.

    October 29, 2011 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  20. Paul H.

    Michele Bachmann, a woman who said the first shots in the American Revolutionary War were fired in New Hampshire, a woman who does not know the difference between Elvis' birthday and the day he died, is going to give a history lesson to President Obama; the leader of the 'free' world? With people like Perry, Palin, Trump, and Cain, the GOP has raised ignorance to a virtue; a prerequisite for being a 'leader' in the Republican Party.

    October 29, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  21. len

    She is teaching history? She is mostly wrong on her history,but then she is an idiot

    October 29, 2011 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  22. Bryan

    Don't worry Michelle, we're "listening" to what you're saying...

    October 29, 2011 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  23. Wise1Speak


    Iran was off U.S. and Israel’s radar until Chicken Hawk Cheney decided to attack Iraq over WMDs that were never found. You see, Iraq and Iran were natural enemies that kept each other in check, and the whole world benefit from there indefinite stalemate.

    But in his infinite wisdom (not), Chicken Hawk Cheney decided to take out Iraq and thereby alleviating the balance of power that kept Iran in check. Thanks to Bush and Chicken, Ahmadinejad has been dancing in the end zone while preparing his nation so it will not be the next Iraq. Bachmann needs shut up and get off the stage until she learns her foreign policy A-B-C's.

    October 29, 2011 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  24. Marry

    …as if Ms Bachmann has ever said anything of any relevance since she opend her mouth…

    October 29, 2011 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  25. Jaison

    do these people remember what goes on in their day jobs? as a member of congress she should know the president had to remove all combat servicemen by january 2012 by law. bush did this while still in office. there is an agreement between the us and iraq. i'm pretty sure obama tried to renegotiate it but the iraq gov did not want to. so we have to be out.

    October 29, 2011 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
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