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A toned-down Bachmann speaks at Values Voter Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Michele Bachmann, one of the GOP’s most outspoken Republicans with a penchant for making extreme claims, toned down the rhetoric today during an annual gathering of conservative political activists in Washington, D.C.

The event, known as the Values Voter Summit, which is an annual conference that brings together members of the GOP’s conservative Christian base, took place in the wake of reports that members of Republican leadership in Congress are struggling to moderate the party’s language.

While Bachmann touched on several hot-button issues for Republicans, such as funding for ACORN and the Democrat-led health care reform legislation, she seemed to steer clear of making any headline-grabbing statements. Gone, for instance, were the rallying cries to make a covenant and slit our wrists or to rip the guts out of freedom.

Instead, Bachmann kept her message fairly simple and short, and for those who were waiting to hear something sensational, slightly boring.

“It is really insulting when we hear that Republicans don’t have positive solutions,” Bachmann told the crowd on the topic of health care. “We have all sorts of positive solutions.”

Bachmann then highlighted a few measures in the Republican alternative to the Democrats’ health care reform bills, such as doing away with geographic limitations on health insurance options and not including a government-run public option.

“You [would] own your health care just like you own car insurance or home insurance,” Bachmann said.

Questions from audience
Bachman appeared on a panel with Republican Reps. Tom Price of Georgia and Chris Smith of New Jersey. The three answered questions from the audience on health care in a town hall-type format.

One audience member asked the panel about medical malpractice reform.

Bachmann referred to President Obama’s speech earlier this month to a joint session of Congress. In that speech, Obama acknowledged that “defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs.”

Obama proposed authorizing demonstration projects in individual states to test different ideas of reforming medical malpractice laws.

But Obama did not go far enough, said Bachmann, who called the malpractice reform “an issue whose time has come.” 

“The proof is in the legislation. The president made no mention that he would actually include tort reform in the legislation,” said Bachmann.

Later, an audience member asked whether the U.S. Constitution originally intended government involvement in health care.

(Bachmann has previously claimed that the Democratic health care bills before Congress are unconstitutional. Check out MinnPost’s fact check of that claim here.)

In her response to the question, Bachmann did not go as far as she has in previous statements. She said that the constitution does not include instructions for running health care, which is true.

“The government has come so far in instructing on health care,” Bachmann added. “What we want to do is try to change that model so that you own more of your health care [and] you own more of your choices.”

Bachmann then touched on the erosion of the private sector and the expansion of government bureaucracy.

In one of the last questions of the event, a woman stated to the hundreds of people in the room that she was ashamed to admit that she had had three abortions throughout her life.

Without missing a beat, in what could have been an awkwardly personal moment, Bachmann responded thusly:

“You are so beautiful… there is forgiveness. There is a way forward. Thank you for sharing your story.”

Cynthia Dizikes covers Minnesota’s congressional delegation and reports on issues and developments in Washington, D.C. She can be reached at cdizikes[at]minnpost[dot]com.

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Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Aaron Rothe on 09/18/2009 - 03:43 pm.

    Even her own party elders can’t believe the things that come out of her mouth.

    We need to support and help elect Maureen Reed to the 6th’s congressional seat.

  2. Submitted by david granneman on 09/18/2009 - 04:44 pm.

    i guess the writer is disappointed that michele did not say something that could be taken out of context and twisted to make her look foolish. the more i hear, the more i appreciate her wisdom. after all it is not easy to become the THE SECOND MOST HATED WOMAN IN THE UNITED STATES. it is not her party that is pilling a mountain of debt on our children. she is not taking over car companies, telling executives how much money they can earn or how they can travel and where they can travel. two months ago she request that congress needed to investigate the criminal organization -ACORN. at the time she was called “looney crazy racist” – it turns out how wise she was. michele is not preventing the developement of our own natural resouces which would provide jobs and properity to the united states. if we listened to her ideas we would be much better off.

  3. Submitted by Jeff Cagle on 09/18/2009 - 05:43 pm.


    Reporters and writers don’t twist the congresswoman’s words, just like they never twisted the words coming out of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Both have proven to most mainstream thinkers that they are erratic and a bit nutty when it comes to promoting conservative causes. The fact that Bachmann has toned down her rhetoric is a story in itself – especially given that she doesn’t mind making a name for herself with national media outlets and conservative radio.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/18/2009 - 06:06 pm.

    Value’s voting has very nearly been and end to our Republic. I hope more people are beginning to realize it’s not the governments function to promote one groups values over another. It’s probably be too much to ask that people also realize how stupid it is to vote based on judgments of ones character, instead of a candidates knowledge and ideas. Value and character judgments are prone to error, some people don’t seem to realize that believing in something that is infallible does not make one infallible. You judge someone to be a good Christian and vote accordingly only find out again and again that the people are thieves, cheaters, etc. You can lie about you values, you can’t lie about your record. Well you can lie about your record, in fact Bachmann does so on a regular basis, but people can veriry the record, no one verify what’s in your heart.

  5. Submitted by Terry Hayes on 09/18/2009 - 06:45 pm.

    I think I just figured out what Sister Michele’s true calling is–spiritual counseling! I hope she gets a chance to start full time, the sooner the better.

  6. Submitted by Dan Gerber on 09/19/2009 - 12:40 am.

    “You [would] own your health care just like you own car insurance or home insurance,” Bachmann said.

    I purchase insurance; whatever kind, it’s not
    something tangible that I “own” like a car or a house. I’m paying for a service to be part of a risk pool. The larger the pool, the lower the cost should be, right? 45 million people in the same large pool ought to be able to bring down costs considerably. I’d guess that the pool would grow larger, once the idea catches on! Saving your hard-earned money,
    what’s not to like about that?

  7. Submitted by Howard Miller on 09/19/2009 - 01:57 pm.

    Had a very similar reaction as Dan Gerber. I don’t “own” my insurance policy – it’s a services agreement, not a tangible asset.

    That sort of muddled thinking bothers me quite a bit about the Representative from the 6th. Rather like her wildly inaccurate statements about taxes and budgets, which seems pretty weird coming from someone who’s a tax attorney

  8. Submitted by Ambrose Charpentier on 09/19/2009 - 04:45 pm.

    Michele Bachmann’s “family business” (her terminology) – that is, her husband’s reparative therapy clinic for people who want to be ex-gays – does not offer health insurance for its employees. That means these people are forced to purchase individual coverage, which is more expensive and unavailable for those with pre-existing conditions. Fortunately in Minnesota these people can still get insurance through MCHA – a state-mandated program. Without this program they’d be SOL. Working for the Bachmann’s, they are probably already SOL.

  9. Submitted by david granneman on 09/19/2009 - 09:13 pm.

    you are all absolutely right. the single care insurance plan has worked quite well where ever it has been tried – canada, england, france, cuba.
    maybe president abama should hire the cuban health care ministry to fix our health care system.

  10. Submitted by jim hughes on 09/20/2009 - 05:47 pm.

    Come on guys, I know it must be endless fun covering a kook like Bachman, but it’s becoming overkill. By comparison, a calm reasonable person like Sen. Amy Klobuchar gets no ink at all.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/21/2009 - 09:54 am.

    The real irony of course Mr. Granneman is that the single payer systems you refer to, with the possible exception of Cuba, actually do outperform our system.

  12. Submitted by david granneman on 09/21/2009 - 10:07 am.

    you are right again paul – whenever the people around the world who seek the best medical care in world all flock to cuba. it’s too bad canadians live so far away from cuba otherwise they too would be flocking to cuba.

  13. Submitted by Virginia Martin on 09/21/2009 - 12:00 pm.

    Why is it that all of these people have so much to say about the terrible systems in other countries, like England, France, Switzerland, Cuba, never go there to see for themselves? Canada’s not very fare away.
    Oh, I know. The facts might interfere with their dogma.

  14. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/21/2009 - 01:29 pm.

    Ginny M: There seems to be some kind for need for America to be The Best Country In the World with The Best Health Care In the World and The Mightiest Military Power In the World. Too bad all these things cost us so much money while giving us very little back for it.

    These needs represent unexamined assumptions requiring us to be the world’s advisor, the entire world’s defender from harm, and the country with the most and best high-tech medical equipment. Why are we still stationing troops in
    Europe, for instance, 60 years after the end of WWII and never asking ourselves if Europe might be ready to pay for its own defense by now?

    Too bad we don’t honor what other countries have to teach us instead of kowtowing to both the military-industrial-congressional complex and the healthcare-industrial-congressional complex.

  15. Submitted by david granneman on 09/21/2009 - 05:56 pm.

    here is example of the excelent healthcare you get in uk taken from the uk newspaper article

    One in six NHS patients ‘misdiagnosed’
    As many as one in six patients treated in NHS hospitals and GPs’ surgeries is being misdiagnosed, experts have warned.

    bernice – being number two at anything is not fun

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