Bachmann began backing away from her comments on Sunday when speaking with WCCO’s Esme Murphy. She said that people “misread” her spoken comments on Matthews talk show.
On Monday evening, Politico published a letter from Bachmann asserting that what bloggers and the media heard her say on Matthews’ show wasn’t actually what she said. “I never questioned Barack Obama’s patriotism,” she said. “That’s false,” says Minnesota Public Radio’s Bob Collins. “Saying one is ‘concerned’ that he may hold anti-American views is a question. It may not be an answer, but it is a question.”
Collins did give her some credit. Bachmann wrote, “I never asked for some House Un-American Activities Committee witch hunt into my colleagues in Congress.” Collins says, “True, she asked the media to do it.”
Well-known bloggers were less cautious. Markos Moulitsas, founder of the progressive blog DailyKos.com, posted portions of her letter along with the Hardball video, concluding, “She’s blatantly lying to Politico.”
On Tuesday, the Star Tribune taped a video with Bachmann saying that “a trap was laid and I stepped into it” and that she didn’t know what Chris Matthews show was about. She said Chris Matthews brought up the term “anti-American” not her. (She used the term ten times during the interview.)
When pressed on her statement about Obama, she said, “I should not have said that. I regret saying that.” The Minneapolis paper did not ask Bachmann about her call for a media investigation of “pro-America or anti-America views” of Congress.
The St. Cloud Times editorial board caught up with Bachmann on Tuesday and asked her what she meant when she spoke of “pro-American or anti-American views” of members of Congress. She said, “What I meant to say is that I am not going to say if members are pro-American or anti-American. The media can go ahead and make their own inquiry. I’m not going to make that inquiry.”
Bachmann continues to deflect questions asking whether she believes members of Congress hold such views. She says it’s a “gross distortion” to suggest she called for such an investigation.