WASHINGTON — Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman and U.S. Rep. John Kline dismissed Rep. Michele Bachmann’s calls for investigations into the Muslim Brotherhood as “over the line” in a conference call with reporters Friday.
Both Coleman and Kline, two Minnesota Republicans, said they didn’t doubt Bachmann’s national security concerns were genuine, but said she went too far by publicly calling for an investigation into Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
“I don’t think any of us doubt that Mrs. Bachmann is concerned about national security,” Kline said. “I think that she stepped a bit over the line when she went after individuals by name … we need to be focusing on jobs and the economy.”
“I have no doubt that Congresswoman Bachmann is deeply concerned about national security and that’s what motivated her,” Coleman said. “I also worked with Huma when I was in the Senate and so I have deep concerns when individuals are singled out like that. There’s a better way to deal with those issues.”
Bachmann roiled controversy by asking the inspectors general of a handful of federal agencies to investigate the reach of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic group, in the United States government. She specifically naming Abedin as someone whose background might indicate she’s influenced by the group. Bachmann has been criticized by Sen. John McCain and a series of high-profile Republicans over the last few weeks, including her fellow Minnesota Congressman Erik Paulsen.
Coleman and Kline were on an RNC press call to discuss the economy. Both pointed to slow economic growth and weak consumer confidence numbers as reasons to vote President Obama out of office in November.
Asked about Tim Pawlenty as a potential running mate for Romney, both Kline and Coleman, an adviser to Romney’s campaign, praised the former Minnesota Governor. Kline called him “absolutely my choice,” and Coleman said, “I’d love to have Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty move this country forward.”
The pair also said Minnesota could be a competitive state for Romney in November.
“I think Minnesota is more in play than we’ve seen in a very, very long time,” Coleman said.
Kline, fresh out of a business roundtable meeting in the 2nd Congressional District, said, “small businesses are worried, they don’t like all this uncertainly, they don’t like the policies they’ve seen from this president and they’re looking for something different.”
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org