Alec Hamilton, Assistant Producer, WNYC News
Alec Hamilton is an Assistant Producer in the WNYC newsroom. She produces Morning Edition and starts her work day very, very early.
Minnesota Republican Representative Michelle Bachmann let it be known that she is forming an exploratory committee to feel out a run for president, by posting an exclusive story leaked to CNN about her plans on her Facebook page.
While refraining from making any formal announcement, Bachmann told the people signed up as “friends” of her Facebook page that she had “read a little something on CNN,” linking to the article. The CNN article quotes an unnamed source as saying that Bachmann has been “telling everybody early summer” is when she planned to announce her candidacy, but the source feels it may happen even sooner.
Bachmann was in Iowa this week, where she addressed an adoring rally of home-school supporters, and told ABC's Jonathan Karl, "I'm in!" She then deftly expanded her statement into "I'm in for 2012 in that I want to be a part of the conversation in making sure that President Obama only serves one term, not two, because I want to make sure that we get someone who's going to be making the country work again. That's what I'm in for," adding, "But I haven't made a decision yet to announce, obviously, if I'm a candidate or not, but I'm in for the conversation."
It is unknown how Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite, would withstand the scrutiny brought on by a presidential candidacy.
Bachmann has struggled under pressure previously. Her State of the Union response on behalf of the Tea Party was ridiculed for a bizarre production decision which left Bachman disconcertingly addressing viewers just above and to the right of their faces. A self-styled expert in the founding fathers and the Constitution, she mislocated the battle of Lexington and Concord as having happened in New Hampshire, rather than Massachusetts.
Bachman has said that the United States is becoming “a nation of slaves”, though she also seemed to downplay slavery, telling the group Iowan’s for Tax Relief that, historically, all who arrived in the United States were treated the same. “It didn’t matter the color of their skin!” She then went on to praise the founding fathers for their tireless work to end slavery, leading CNN anchor Anderson Cooper to speculate that the comments were either a “deliberate rewriting of our history, or signs she has a shaky grasp on our history.”
These are not her biggest issues. She is on camera saying “Guess what? Not all cultures are equal!” and blaming cable television and multicultural diversity for civil unrest in France. She also said she had knowledge of a secret plan by Iraq to annex Iran and turn half the country into a “terrorist safe haven zone” called the “Iraq State of Islam.” Though she later she retracted that, sort of, saying her comments had been “misconstrued”.
Bachmann also received wide coverage for her claim that President Obama’s trip to Indiana last year cost $200 million a day, a number that was disputed by the White House and quickly proven to be a fabrication.
Bachman, who has fostered 23 children in addition to raising her own five biological children, has said her Christianity lead her to run for office, which she first won in 2007.
You can hear a story about the rally in Des Moines on Iowa Public Radio's newsroom website.