I’m happy to say I don’t think that I’ve said anything inaccurate in any of the debates. And I’m extremely grateful for that. It’s a high-profile stage and so I’m grateful that I don’t think I’ve made a blunder.
–Michele Bachmann, on NPR’s Morning Edition (November 25, 2011)
Representative Michele Bachmann (Paul Sancya, Associated Press)
In an interview on Friday, Rep. Bachmann acknowledged that she is sometimes truth-challenged. “I wish I was perfection walking on air, but I’m not,” she told Steve Inskeep. “I’ve gotten things wrong. But I try very hard to get my facts right, and there’s times when I’ve said things that are inaccurate and I regret that.”
Then she made the statement above, that she’d said nothing inaccurate in the debates.
The Republican candidates for President have already held at least ten debates. Here are a few highlights and analyses of Rep. Bachmann’s performance during those sessions.
New Hampshire debate: June 13, 2011
“The CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, has said that Obamacare will kill 800,000 jobs.” The CBO never said the health law was killing jobs. After the debate, The Washington Post awarded this claim Three Pinocchios.
“Senior citizens get this more than any other segment of our population, because they know in Obamacare the President of the United States took away $500 billion — a half-trillion dollars — out of Medicare, shifted it to Obamacare to pay for younger people.” The Medicare savings in the health-care law are aimed at providers, not seniors; seniors will benefit from the law. People younger than fifty-five might face higher premiums under the Republican plan for Medicare. The Post found this statement worth Two Pinocchios.
Iowa debate: August 11, 2011
“In the last two months, I was leading on the issue of not increasing the debt ceiling.” Rep. Bachmann does not play a leadership role in Congress and had no involvement in the debt ceiling discussions, except rhetorically.
“The Congress gave Barack Obama a blank check for $2.4 trillion. What did the American people get in return? Twenty-one billion [dollars] in illusory cuts.” Rep. Bachmann’s reference to $21 billion in “illusory cuts” refers only to the impact on the deficit in the 2012 fiscal year. Over ten years, the deficit reduction amounts to $917 billion. (Incidentally, a blank check means there is no dollar amount.)
Reagan Library debate: September 7, 2011
“Obamacare is killing jobs. We know that from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.” She said it again! It’s still wrong.
“Obamacare took over one-sixth of the American economy. […] If we fail to repeal Obamacare in 2012, it will be with us forever and it will be socialized medicine.” This is not true, no matter how often candidates say that the health-care law represents socialized medicine or took over one-sixth of the economy. Socialized medicine is a single-payer system in which the government pays the bills and controls costs (much like Medicare).
“As a matter of fact, what he’s done is, he’s said in fact to Israel that they need to shrink back to their indefensible 1967 borders.” President Obama never said this. The Post gave Rep. Bachmann Four Pinocchios when she claimed it the first time. The President gave a speech in May in which he said the 1967 border should be a starting point for negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. He made clear he was not saying the lines should be Israel’s border. He was even thanked by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a speech to Congress.
Tampa debate: September 12, 2011
“President Obama embedded $105,464,000,000 in Obamacare in postdated checks to implement this bill.” Rep. Bachmann’s assertion of $105 billion “embedded” in the health-care law was a claim for which she earned four Pinocchios. Her charge that this money was “hidden” does not have credibility. The Congressional Budget Office analyzed money for these programs before the legislation was voted into law. Since then, the Obama administration has issued a new release every time it spent some of the funds.
Orlando debate: September 22, 2011
“I didn’t make that claim, nor did I make that statement. Immediately after the debate, a mother came up to me, and she was visibly shaken and heartbroken because of what her daughter had gone through, and so I only related what her story was.” Rep. Bachmann was trying to spin her way out of a problem because she had been attacked for saying the HPV vaccine was “potentially dangerous.” She made that statement before she mentioned the distraught mother.
New Hampshire debate: October 11, 2011
“It was the federal government that pushed the subprime loans. It was the federal government that pushed the Community Reinvestment Act.” The notion that the CRA, approved in 1977, had anything much to do with a lending crisis that flowered in 2007 and 2008 has been roundly discredited.
CNBC debate: November 9, 2011
“When you have 53% of Americans paying federal income taxes, but you have 47% of Americans who pay no federal income taxes, you have a real problem.” This “fact” ignores a key part of the federal tax system: payroll taxes. For many, payroll taxes are a greater part of their tax burden than income taxes. When all federal tax liabilities are included, it is clear that only a small percentage pay no form of federal tax. Rep. Bachmann is proposing a solution (making everyone pay at least the cost of two Big Macs) for which there is no problem.
CNN National Security debate: November 22, 2011
“This is one thing we know about Barack Obama: He has essentially handed over our interrogation of terrorists to the ACLU. He’s outsourced it to them. Our CIA has no ability to have any form of interrogation for terrorists.” The ACLU has been critical of President Obama for continuing Bush-era anti-terror policies. Rep. Bachmann is incorrect to say the CIA cannot interrogate terrorists. The CIA is part of the High Value Interrogation Group, established by Pres. Obama in 2009, which brings “together the most effective and experienced interrogators and support personnel from across the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense and law enforcement.”
“Almost every decision that the President has made since he came in has been one to put the United States in a position of unilateral disarmament, including the most recent decision he made to cancel the Keystone pipeline.” Pres. Obama did not cancel the Canadian oil pipeline. The State Department delayed the decision.
“It’s because Iran has announced they plan to strike Israel. They’ve stated as recently as August — just before President Ahmadinejad came to the U.N. General Assembly, he said that he wanted to eradicate Israel from the face of the Earth. He has said that if he has a nuclear weapon, he will use it to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth, he will use it against the United States of America.” Iranian officials have never said they have a nuclear weapon; they have denied having such a program. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said he would use a nuclear weapon against Israel. In fact, as examined by The Post, he may not have ever said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map. There is dispute on whether this was actually a mistranslation.
The record clearly shows that Bachmann has said many inaccurate statements during the debates, sometimes repeatedly.
Via The Washington Post.