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Bachmann campaign complains of debate questioning

Just minutes after Saturday night’s CBS News-National Journal Republican presidential debate, the Michele Bachmann campaign accused debate organizers of “outragous manipulation” by suppressing the number of questions she would receive.

A campaign spokeswoman had emailed organizers trying to set up a post-debate interview with a campaign representative. John Dickerson, the newly-named CBS political director, replied to the thread, which included the spokeswoman:

“Okay let’s keep it loose though since she’s not going to get many questions and she’s nearly off the charts in the hopes that we can get someone else”

The Bachmann campaign posted a screenshot of the email on Facebook and sent a copy to reporters. Campaign manager Keith Nahigian wrote:

“While Michele has been onstage at tonight’s debate demonstrating strong leadership on foreign policy and national security, we received concrete evidence confirming what every conservative already knows – the liberal mainstream media elites are manipulating the Republican debates by purposely suppressing our conservative message and limiting Michele’s questions.”

In the spin room after the debate, Nahigian was fuming about the email and reportedly said, “Jon Dickerson should be fired. He is a piece of s–t. He is a fraud and he should be fired.”

For her part, Bachmann said the incident is an example of media bias.

“I think it’s only respectful to allow the candidates to be able to speak and not intentionally ahead of time make a decision to limit candidates’ opportunity to speak to the American people,” she said, according to CNN.

In an email, a CBS spokeswoman classed the message in question as “a candid exchange about the reality of the circumstances — Bachmann remains at 4 percent in the polls.”

Devin Henry can be reached at

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Derek Wain on 11/13/2011 - 08:46 am.

    “An email from a CBS producer who predicted that Bachmann would not receive many questions from moderators Scott Pelley and Major Garrett.”
    The email is not a “supposed smoking gun” It proves that CBS intended their anti-Bachmann bias to do what they in fact did: ask Bachmann fewer (60%) questions than asked of Romney and Gingrich.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/13/2011 - 09:27 am.

    She she receive no more than 4% of the questions.
    I think that she got more than she deserves.

  3. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 11/13/2011 - 04:42 pm.

    Obviously, it’s Michele Bachmann and her campaign trying to manipulate the media here, not the other way around. The e-mail she’s complaining about is talking about only the possibility of scheduling Bachmann or a member of her staff for a post debate webcast. “Keeping it loose” means “keeping it tentative” about her being on the webcast i.e. keep the possibilities open because not many people in an web cast are going to be interested. It not talking about the debate number of questions she’s getting or going to get.

    “Liberal media” my foot. Even Limbaugh admits the media is not liberal now if it ever was. Bachmann is a loser now trying to get sympathy for being a victim.

  4. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 11/14/2011 - 12:55 pm.

    Michele Bachman seems actually to be right on this.

    Please see the piece by Eric Black on this topics and the comments that follow.

  5. Submitted by Derrick Schluck on 11/18/2011 - 02:48 pm.

    Maybe they were doing her a favor by letting Herman Cain, Mitt, Paul, and Ricky boy do all the talking in some grand plan to run themselves out of the race, it seems to be working so far.

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