Michele Bachmann in debate: ‘I don’t do political speech’

Any public appearance by Our Favorite Congresswoman comes with a guarantee of good copy. But put her in a face-to-face debate with someone other than Sean Hannity … . Conrad Wilson of MPR reports: “The debate Tuesday was hosted by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce and centered largely on strategies for creating jobs on tax reform and changes to entitlement programs. …  Regarding entitlement reforms, Graves discussed getting rid of the wage base for Social Security. Currently, any income beyond $110,000 is not taxed by Social Security. Doing away with the base would bring more money into the system. On reforming Medicare, Graves said those with more money may need to share more of the costs of their care and that the overall costs of health care need to come down. Bachmann called Graves’ plan to cover the anticipated Social Security shortfall the ‘largest tax increase in American history’ and a job killer. Medicare is currently unsustainable, Bachmann said. ‘We have to reform the system for those that are 55 years and younger,’ Bachmann said. ‘And whether that’s changing age variables, there’s a number of variables that we can put in. That’s what we have to look at.’ Graves accused Bachmann of not answering how she would go about making entitlement programs sustainable, saying ‘we can’t do the political-speak any longer.’ ” You mean “job killers” and “variables” don’t cut it?

Mark Sommerhauser of the St. Cloud Times writes: “A sometimes-feisty crowd of more than 400 people jeered at several Bachmann comments, including her assertion that she doesn’t do ‘political speech.’ Discussion of the new Stillwater bridge, which is no longer in the 6th District after redistricting, gobbled up almost 20 minutes of the hour-long debate. … Bachmann cast the Simpson-Bowles plan as a massive tax increase. ‘With Jim Graves, add about 50 percent to your tax bill,’ Bachmann said. In a press conference after the debate, Graves called that claim wildly erroneous, while acknowledging he believes a tax-code overhaul should generate more tax revenue. When asked if the middle class should be affected by such a tax increase, Graves said he believes they should.”

Eric Roper’s Strib story says: “On entitlements, Graves said he would eliminate the $110,000 income cap on Social Security contributions. Bachmann said that would mean ‘the largest tax increase in American history’ and said Obamacare robbed money from Medicare. ‘You just heard some political speak there,’ Graves said. ‘Again, Michele doesn’t say what she’s for. She says what she’s against.’ Bachmann shot back, saying, ‘It’s insulting to say that these are political speeches. That’s one thing I do not do.’ … Graves appeared more confident than Bachmann’s debate partner in 2010, DFLer Tarryl Clark, but he may need a boost to win on Election Day. A Star Tribune poll earlier this month showed him trailing Bachmann by 6 percentage points, with 4 percent of voters undecided. Graves said a lot of polls are skewed because they only call land-line phones, and he thinks the race is ‘neck and neck.’ ”

The GleanLocal boy Tom Friedman of the New York Times files a column from beautiful St. Louis Park: “I thought it might be useful to look at this election through the window of my hometown of St. Louis Park. I have not been disappointed. I found in this little suburb of 45,250 people outside of Minneapolis — which was memorialized in the movie, “A Serious Man,” directed by the Coen brothers, who also hail from here — all the key trends impacting America. … When I was growing up, my congressmen were liberal Republicans (there was no other kind in Minnesota back then) in a Democratic district. No one thought anything of it. Today my congressman here would be Keith Ellison, an African-American Muslim and one of the most liberal Democrats in the House, while liberal Republicans in Minnesota today are as rare as a two-headed moose. The State House and Senate Republican caucuses today are dominated by the Tea Party and libertarian followers of Ron Paul. But here’s what’s telling. These G.O.P. hard-liners, while able to win their more conservative ‘exurbia’ and rural districts, are not doing well when it comes to overall state politics. Minnesotans have not wanted to entrust them with the governorship or national Senate seats, which is another way of explaining why Mitt Romney only gained ground on Barack Obama when he started to market himself as a moderate ready to work with Democrats.”

There are all sorts of facets to that dual stabbing in Minneapolis and subsequent arrest in Iowa. Abby Simons and Paul Walsh of the Strib report: “For more than a decade after she immigrated from Liberia, Beatrice Wilson regularly and enthusiastically attended services at Brookdale Covenant Church with her grandchildren in tow, including 14-year-old Peter, a quiet and respectful seventh-grader. But Associate Pastor Renee Franzen doesn’t recall the outgoing 57-year-old grandmother ever mentioning a son. Now relatives say her 22-year-old son, Ishmael Wilson Roberts, is in an Iowa jail, suspected of brutally stabbing his mother and nephew Peter to death early Monday in the family’s north Minneapolis home. What no one seems to understand is why. … Wilson’s family said she was their matriarch, taking in grandchildren, nieces and nephews and raising them as her own in the spacious, well-kept duplex in a quiet neighborhood northwest of downtown.”

A bit more on Tuesday’s Bill Clinton and Paul Ryan visits. Jennifer Brooks and Rochelle Olson of the Strib write: “After a brief airport photo opportunity and a Hudson, Wis., appearance where he thanked campaign volunteers for collecting donations for storm victims, Ryan made an unannounced dinner stop at O’Gara’s at Snelling and Selby avenues in St. Paul. Wearing a sharp red Wisconsin jacket, Ryan ordered a dark tap beer, posed for photos and shook hands with patrons while eating at the longtime Republican watering hole. One of the first people Ryan shook hands with at the bar was Tom Steward, who served as communications director for former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman. … The Clinton rally — which included DFL headliners Gov. Mark Dayton, former Vice President Walter Mondale, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum — gave the former president a chance to take a roundhouse swing at Romney. ‘Despite his 11th-hour conversion to moderate rhetoric in the debates, Gov. Romney has not changed his position on the fundamental issues or his fundamental argument against the president: ‘We left him a terrible mess, he didn’t fix it all. Fire him and put us back in,’ ” Clinton said.” Not a bad TV ad …

But let’s get this repealed … ASAP. Elizabeth Stawicki of MPR says: “An annual study of health care quality suggests a new payment system under the federal health care overhaul is improving care for seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. About a third of all Minnesota Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, which are run by private sector firms. The federal health care law requires Medicare to make higher payments to participating health plans that perform better on certain quality measures. The National Committee for Quality Assurance study found improvements in measures such as cancer screening and controlling high blood pressure, but saw the biggest gains in obesity screening.” The cost of diabetes alone …

The East Coast is getting 99 percent of the attention in the wake of Sandy the Superstorm. But John Flesher of the AP reports: “Cargo shipping was at a standstill Tuesday on the Great Lakes as superstorm Sandy churned waves up to two stories high, forcing crews to take refuge in bays and harbors and raising concerns about an economic blow if the shutdown is prolonged. … About 50 vessels in the U.S. fleet are operating on the lakes this fall. Nekvasil said some began heading shoreward Monday morning, and he knew of none that were sailing Tuesday. Canadian ships also were playing it safe, said Robert Lewis-Manning, president of the Canadian Shipowners Association, which has about 80 member vessels that travel on the lakes. ‘Everything’s come to a halt,’ Lewis-Manning said. ‘They were taking precautions well in advance. The waves are getting much higher than we’ve seen for a long time.’ ”

Another day, another judge and another shot at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union crusade. Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes: “A portion of a law giving Gov. Scott Walker veto powers over rules written by the state schools superintendent was struck down Tuesday by a Dane County judge, the latest in a series of legal skirmishes between the GOP governor and public employee unions. In the case, parents of students and members of the Wisconsin Education Association Council and Madison Teachers Inc. challenged the law approved last year giving Walker the power to veto administrative rules written by any state agency. In the decision issued Tuesday, Circuit Judge Amy Smith ruled that the law violated the state constitution by giving Walker that power over the state Department of Public Instruction, which is headed by state schools Superintendent Tony Evers. … The decision is just the latest by a judge in Dane County striking down parts of legislation passed by Walker and the Republican Legislature, including laws severely limiting collective bargaining for public employees and requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. Those lawsuits are continuing on appeal and this latest decision will likely be appealed as well.”

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/31/2012 - 01:46 pm.

    Michele is finally right!

    None of Michele’s hypocritical speeches contain anything that can be considered politically valuable. After years in congress she doesn’t have any meaningful accomplishments. She is the polar opposite of what the public wants in a public servant. The only person Michele serves is herself. She is the biggest spotlight seeker in congress and she does not have any value. Michele is a very sad commentary on the quality of the 6th district voters. Michele is full of platitudes and criticism, but no ideas that will serve all Minnesotan’s. Voter’s, it is your decision next week if you want someone representing you in congress who is guaranteed not to serve you. It is time for Michele to go find a job she is qualified for and that isn’t in public office.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/31/2012 - 02:52 pm.

    I’m So Sorry, Rep. Bachmann

    But your speech, ALL of your speech, is the very definition of “political speech” because you are, by virtue of your position in the US House of Representatives, a P.O.L.I.T.I.C.I.A.N.

    The fact that you can’t bring that undeniable fact into your own awareness, indicates, more than anything else, why you should not be in that position.

    I can only presume that you regard the things you say, inflammatory and, as often as not, demonstrably false as they are, to be above politics,…

    because you believe them to be the complete, unadulterated, absolute truth (all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding).

    Again, sorry to disabuse you of the notion, but you are as human as the rest of us. That being the case, you are no more able to comprehend absolute truth than any of us.

    (By the Meyers-Briggs Personality inventory’s classifications, each of us most easily apprehends only 1/16th of a complete perspective of what’s really going on around us and, as often as not, even within us).

    It should then have been your function as a legislator to examine the best available evidence and come to the best possible conclusions on government policies and procedures that you could discover, based on your own, very human and limited perspective,…

    then you should have entered into negotiation with others whose different personality types enabled them to bring other perspectives to the table.

    That you are inclined to jump to conclusions based on little or no evidence (especially when stating your conclusions gets you lots of attention and a spot on one or more “conservative” media outlets)…

    and coupled with that, the fact that you absolutely refuse to shift your position (or even acknowledge that what you have IS a position rather than absolute truth) even when unimpeachable evidence of your error is provided to you from multiple sources,…

    is ample testament to what it is about you that makes you completely useless as a political representative.

    I can only hope that the people in the sixth have the wisdom to step away from your attention-seeking, fear mongering, but essentially useless demeanor as their delegate to the US House and elect someone who is capable of considering actual evidence,…

    and coming to useful, if sometime imperfect compromises in order to best serve their interests.

    The people of the Sixth need and deserve an actual representative, not a mouthpiece whose primary interest is clearly nothing more nor less than self promotion.

    • Submitted by John Schuster on 10/31/2012 - 08:05 pm.

      Representative Bachmann

      I must say that Greg has done an excellent job and “hit the nail on the head’ when he describes Bachmann. I live in Woodbury and now I finally will have someone to represent me since Woodbury is no longer in her District because I feel that she will again be elected and I feel bad for those of “common sense” whom now will no longer be represented. Such an embarrassment. Thank you Greg for saying it oh so well.

  3. Submitted by Jay McHue on 11/01/2012 - 12:47 am.

    It’s pretty obvious the audience was manipulated

    The DFL packed the place with their people in order to heckle Bachmann over anything she said. Anything. These idiots were disruptive jerks. Bachmann had real answers. Graves did not (and the DFL bots clapped for his non-answers).

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