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Michele Bachmann re-enters public eye with some bipartisan words but also more attacks on Obamacare

She praised her working relationship with Gov. Dayton but lashed out at President Obama on health care, the environment and immigration.

Rep. Michele Bachmann greets an attendee of the I-94 West Chamber of Commerce meeting in Elk River.
MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann emerged from her blackout on public appearances Friday with more warnings on the problems of Obamacare and an acknowledgement that the unrelenting pressure of congressional campaigning was part of her decision to not seek another term. 

At a speech and question-and-answer session at the I-94 West Chamber of Commerce meeting in Elk River, Bachmann showed no signs of stress over the legal problems of her failed presidential campaign and appeared to want to put controversy behind her.

She spoke of working in bipartisan fashion on the group’s goal to expand I-94 west of Highway 101.  

 “I had a wonderful working relationship with our governor, Mark Dayton, to get the bridge built in Stillwater. I think we can work with Governor Dayton. I encourage all of you to work with him, work with our senators,” she told the group of 50.  “This is not a partisan issue in any way.  This is as bipartisan as you can get.”

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She also sympathized with another Chamber complaint, the Affordable Care Act.

“The No. 1 reason we are failing to see more jobs being created is because of the president’s health care plan,” she said.  

She attacked Obama’s decision this week to modify some requirements as “the arbitrary nature of what the federal government is doing in decision-making.”

Bachmann said later in a brief interview that one of the highlights of her term of service is alerting the nation to the potential problems of the president’s health care plan.

“I made Obamacare an issue [in her presidential campaign],” she said. “That’s why even the president is admitting it’s not working and the chief author is calling it a train wreck.”

Minnesota should be the model for substitute legislation, she said. “Minnesota has been a leader in innovation — the Minute Clinics — very effective.  We want to be nimble, innovative and always cost-effective.”

Bachmann was not without the sweeping generalizations that have caused her problems in the past.

“We have a problem right now with granting amnesty to illegal aliens,” she said on one hot-button issue. She cited studies that showed that jobs are lost and wages depressed because of the president’s policy of “ongoing rolling amnesty with no possibility of deportation.”

On the environment, she accused Obama of a “magic wand trick” for enforcing his policy on cap-and-trade emissions. “The cap-and-trade agenda just this last week shut down a coal-fired plant in Ohio,” she said. “You’re going to see that repeated over and over and over again.”

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But after concluding her speech and posing for pictures, Bachmann offered a more pensive tone. The pace of a member of Congress had taken a toll, she said. 

“We’ll have a break in August, and I’m hoping I will have some time to think about it a little more, about what my next move is going to be,” she said. “I just want to have a space of time so I can think. That’s one of the problems and hazards with Congress  — that you go at such a fast pace, it’s tough to even think sometimes. That’s not good.

“Not being in Congress or running for Congress, that frees me from doing parades, from doing fundraising.  I was very involved in both of those activities. I’m relieved of the necessity of doing those, so I’ll have that time.”

And she insisted that her family has been the source of her strength. “My husband has had some health challenges, so I’ve tried to be very careful with him,” she said. “What’s worked well for us is that we’re tag-teamers. We’ve really swapped roles throughout our marriage. That’s worked really well.”

Her voice, she promised at the start of her speech, will continue to be heard.

And she will make good on that promise as soon as Sunday, when Bachmann is scheduled to re-join the morning talk shows with a 9 a.m. appearance on ABC News’ “This Week.”