Former Bachmann aides have long expressed their frustration with her tendency to go off the cuff when speaking and throw out half-baked claims that are untrue. The LA Times documents several such incidents during the campaign over the last few months.
“Fifty-nine thousand this year came across the border, as was said in the introduction, from Yemen, from Syria. These are nations that are state sponsors of terror,” the Minnesota congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate said, citing a report she had heard. “They’re coming into our country!”
There were two problems with Bachmann’s passionate assertion. Yemen is not a state sponsor of terrorism, according to the State Department. And the Border Patrol report to which Bachmann referred said that although 59,000 apprehended illegal immigrants came from countries other than Mexico, only 663 had ties to countries with links to terrorism.
Hey, she was just rounding up. A lot.
Some of her misstatements have registered as eye-rolling blips, such as when she confused actor John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy on the day she entered the campaign in June. Others have damaged her candidacy.
She won points in a September debate when she criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for supporting a proposed requirement that young girls be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease. But then Bachmann told a post-debate television audience that the vaccine had caused mental retardation, a conclusion drawn from a brief meeting with a weeping mother. Bachmann’s hit against Perry was lost in howls of dismay from physicians who said her untrue remarks would stunt vaccinations and endanger children.
On recent campaign swings through Iowa, she continued to trip over matters large and small.
In Sioux Center, Bachmann said high corporate taxes and crushing regulations had made the United States less competitive than other countries, a mantra common among GOP candidates. But then she went further.
“If you want to have a business in China today, if you want to build a building, you just build it, you don’t go through all the permitting process that we do here,” she said.
Businesses have to apply for multiple permits in China. A 2008 World Bank publication found that China was among the most difficult places anywhere to obtain construction permits, ranking 176th of 181. The publication ranked the best and worst places, and the United States fell in neither category.
Heck, she can’t even quote her own supporters correctly:
An embarrassing correction also marked a recent Bachmann move on Capitol Hill. This month, she introduced a bill requiring any woman considering an abortion to undergo an ultrasound that pinpoints the heartbeat of the fetus.
“A study by Focus on the Family found that when women who were undecided about having an abortion were shown an ultrasound image of the baby, 78% chose life,” Bachmann said.
That prompted a news release from the conservative organization, which said that while it supported the legislation, it had produced no such report.
“We don’t have any ‘studies,’ and we don’t publish any percentages like that,” Kelly Rosati, Focus on the Family’s vice president of community outreach, said in a statement.
This is standard behavior for wingnuts, of course. You’ve all encountered them in your everyday life as I have, I’m sure.