Michele BachmannLawyer / Political Figure
Born: 6 April 1956
Birthplace: Waterloo, Iowa
Best known as: Minnesota Congresswoman and 2012 presidential candidate
Michele Bachmann is a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who came to national attention during the presidential election of 2008, after a television appearance in which she encouraged the media to "take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?" She was running for re-election in Minnesota's 6th district that year, and the remarks sent more than a million dollars in donations to her opponent in the race, but Bachmann won anyway. A former lawyer for the U.S. Treasury Department, Michele Bachmann began her political career in the 1990s as an advocate for charter schools and a critic of taxes. She was elected to Minnesota's state senate in 2000 and for six years made her name in local politics as an opponent of taxes, gay marriage and the teaching of evolution in public schools. Although a newcomer to national politics, Bachmann's congressional campaign in 2006 was strongly supported by the Republican National Committee, and she had help in her campaign from such luminaries as Karl Rove and then-president George W. Bush. Her re-election in 2008 looked like a done deal until her remarks about anti-American representatives in congress on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. In the same program she said candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama concerned her because of their "anti-American" views. Howling critics have called her the reincarnation of Senator Joe McCarthy (and worse), but Bachmann has a fan base of conservative "tea party" Republicans who don't mind her factual blunders and intemperate remarks. She announced in June of 2011 that she was running for the Republican nomination for president; she stayed in the race until January 4, 2012, when she dropped out after finishing sixth in the GOP Iowa caucus. She was reelected for a fouth term in Congress that fall, narrowly defeating hotelier Jim Graves. On May 29, 2013, she announced that she would not seek reelection in 2014.
Some of Michele Bachmann’s best-known moments: on the floor of the House of Representatives she said President Franklin D. Roosevelt caused the Great Depression by signing into law the “Hoot-Smalley Act” (she meant the Smoot-Hawley Act, signed into law by President Herbert Hoover); she predicted “re-education camps for young people” under Barack Obama, using Cold War phrasing that raised the specter of communism; she publicly used a coarse sexual metaphor to describe Obama’s domestic spending agenda (“We have seen an orgy… the government spent its wad….”); and she dismissed global warming by saying carbon dioxide is harmless because it’s “natural.”
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