Michele Bachmann was laying out a tough immigration policy recently when she veered off script to make a point that she said underscored the national security implications of a porous border.
“Fifty-nine thousand this year came across the border, as was said in the introduction, from Yemen, from Syria. These are nations that are state sponsors of terror,” the Minnesota congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate said, citing a report she had heard. “They’re coming into our country!”
There were two problems with Bachmann’s passionate assertion. Yemen is not a state sponsor of terrorism, according to the State Department. And the Border Patrol report to which Bachmann referred said that although 59,000 apprehended illegal immigrants came from countries other than Mexico, only 663 had ties to countries with links to terrorism.
Voters here frequently say they are drawn to support Bachmann’s presidential campaign by the litany of statistics and facts that stud her speeches. Yet what she says is often inaccurate, misleading or wildly untrue.
All politicians occasionally shade the facts to their advantage. The danger for Bachmann is that her misstatements are so pronounced and so numerous that they erode her effort to regain footing in the presidential race. (Asked for reaction, a campaign aide provided information unrelated to the statements in question.)
Some of her misstatements have registered as eye-rolling blips, such as when she confused actor John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy on the day she entered the campaign in June. Others have damaged her candidacy.
She won points in a September debate when she criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for supporting a proposed requirement that young girls be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease. But then Bachmann told a post-debate television audience that the vaccine had caused mental retardation, a conclusion drawn from a brief meeting with a weeping mother. Bachmann’s hit against Perry was lost in howls of dismay from physicians who said her untrue remarks would stunt vaccinations and endanger children.
On recent campaign swings through Iowa, she continued to trip over matters large and small.
- Someone rent Michele Bachmann a John Wayne movie (atlmalcontent.wordpress.com)
- Bachmann Plagued by Misstatements (politicalwire.com)
- Bachmann Claim on HPV Highlights Pattern of Misstatement (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Michele Bachmann’s Entire New Hampshire Campaign Staff Just Quit (businessinsider.com)
- Parody Of Michele Bachmann Sings Not Born That Way (pinkbananaworld.com)