Her tone was bright. “Thank you for giving me this opportunity,” she said.
Michele Bachmann was on the phone. That alone was unusual. The Minnesota congresswoman generally does not speak to journalists doing stories about her, at least not to journalists from what she refers to as the “mainstream media.” She and her communications director had granted a brief interview on the condition there would be no questions about her reelection race. She began by spending a few minutes reflecting on what she regarded as her key accomplishments.
“What I hear from my people back home is, ‘Thank you for speaking up,’ ” she said.
No other House member in recent memory has risen so swiftly on the basis of speaking up. Although only in her second term, the Republican Bachmann is already better known than many senators in her party, widely popular with conservatives and “tea party” supporters. She has labeled the Obama administration a “gangster government” and expressed concerns that the president might harbor “un-American” views. At once revered and reviled, she is a talk-show producer’s dream, a fundraising juggernaut. Along with a few firebrand conservatives including Florida Republican senatorial hopeful Marco Rubio, she has built a large army of small donors.
Now she voiced frustration with what she regarded as the “media’s focus” on her “language.” She listened to a question about comments she had made regarding a federal program designed to expand the national number of community volunteers, a measure authored by the late Massachusetts senator and liberal lion Edward Kennedy and signed into law by President Obama. She was asked about her charge that the program would lead to political “reeducation camps” for its young participants.
Read More: By Michael Leahy, Washington Post