WASHINGTON — Sparks flew when Rep. Michele Bachmann and Kathy Griffin ran into each other at Wednesday’s Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner, as the comedienne called the darling of the Tea Party Right a bigot to her face.
The event is one of several annual D.C. galas where the press break bread and mingle with politicians and celebrities. Vice President Joe Biden keynoted this year’s dinner, telling the sort of relatively-polite political jokes these things are known for.
Safe to say there was a bit less comity when Griffin and Bachmann chatted.
“I asked her if she was naturally a bigot or if that’s just the way she legislates,” Griffin told a crowd at a Thursday rally aimed at overturning the military’s Don’t ask, don’t tell policy. She later discussed the exchange with Joy Behar on her CNN Headline News show.
Griffin said Bachmann responded by saying, “That’s a good question, I’ll have to think about it.” Vid of Griffin’s side of the story is below:
Bachmann’s side of the story is a little different — “I think she took some liberties with the conversation,” spokesman Dave Dziok said.
Dziok said Bachmann approached Griffin to say “You look great tonight,” when the comedienne took the opportunity to launch into her attack. Bachmann, he said, “just tried to dismiss it and walk away.”
Griffin said a Bachmann staffer was holding a flip cam, recording the altercation, though Dziok said any such camera operator didn’t come from Bachmann’s office — the only person at the dinner from Bachmann’s office was Bachmann, he said.
It’s no secret that Bachmann is one of the most reviled members of Congress among those on the left (while one of the most loved by those in the Tea Party Right), and she’s taken many barbs before. In January, Pennsylvania Democrat Arlen Specter told her to quit interrupting him and “act like a lady” during a debate on health care legislation (he later apologized).
In fairness, Bachmann isn’t afraid to dish out the zingers. Among the most recent example is her calling out the “treason media” for in her view not thoroughly reporting on the deem-and-pass process that’s likely to be used to pass health care in the House.