Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign was in full crisis mode going into the weekend after the candidate went off-message by making what appeared to be a factually true statement.
While attending a fundraising reception sponsored by supporters of a key American Israeli lobbying organization, Bachmann observed that there seemed to be considerable support for Israel among Palm Beach County Florida residents.
According to event organizers, there was an audible gasp throughout the room when Bachmann remarked on how much she was in alignment with the Jewish community in south Florida regarding “their support for the “continued soverenity [sic] of the state of Israel, which there seems to be a lot of around here.”
Politifact.com, a fact-checking project operated by the St. Petersburg Times, evaluated her claim and announced that “there does seem to be a great deal of support for Israel in south Florida as it turns out. So we deem this statement to be true…in a stopped clock, blind squirrel sort of way.”
Bachmann’s campaign was taken by surprise when first contacted by reporters, including The Chicago Dope, to ask about what seemed to be her first factual gaffe.
Campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart said she could not confirm if the Minnesota congresswoman actually said something that could be classified as correct but that if she did, it would be completely out of character.
“We are very proud of having the highest percentage of inaccurate statements on Politifact,” said Stewart who pointed out that Bachmann’s scorecard rates her average statement somewhere between being “mostly false” to “false.” “It’s what our base needs to keep engaged with our campaign.”
While making fabricated claims is routine for the three-term Congresswoman and presidential candidate, having to defend a factually true comment is rare and is evidently causing some difficulties among her campaign staff.
Bachmann’s staff had just completed a successful spin on comments she made earlier in the week to a Waverly, Iowa crowd about the recent raiding of the British embassy in Iran, saying that if she were President, “we wouldn’t have an embassy in Iran. I wouldn’t allow that to be there.” Of course, the U.S. has had no diplomatic relations and no staffed embassy there since 1980.
“That was a piece of cake,” Stewart said. “We just said something about her being taken out of context like we usually do. But this thing about Israel, there must have been some mistake, I am sure.”
Bachmann’s former campaign manager Ed Rollins said that her staff is expertly trained to deal with the myriad of inaccurate claims and demonstrably untrue statements constantly made by Bachmann in speeches and interviews but were caught off guard having to corroborate a factually true statement.
“They were left dumbfounded with the possibility that she could say something that was concordant with facts,” Rollins said. He quit the campaign in September so as to avoid what he describes as a “never-ending shit-ton of cognitive dissonance.”
“Her campaign is a finely tuned machine. They might say that ‘of course she knows that Africa is a continent’ or that census data won’t actually be used to put people in internment camps or that they didn’t really mean that Obama released all the oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” Rollins said. “But if her mind-bogglingly stupid pronouncements feed her base with the red meat they desire, the campaign will just leave it out there and claim liberal media persecution. It’s brilliant, but too much for any thinking person to endure.”
The campaign later issued a statement to the media apologizing if anything she said was misconstrued as being accurate: “That was not her intent. It was more likely that she was commenting on how many Jews were in the room, who she adores given their eventual role in bringing about the glorious end-times according to her evangelical Christian Reconstructionist beliefs, heavily influenced by Dominionist theology.”
The campaign also said Bachmann would continue to ensure job security for fact checkers across the country with claims that she receives prophetic visions and divine instructions directly from God, that the HPV vaccine causes retardation or that the founding fathers “worked tirelessly to eliminate slavery.”
“Candidates are under a lot of pressure and they say a lot of things. When someone is as engaged with the voters as Michele Bachmann is, it was only a matter of time before she slipped up and made a factually true statement,” Stewart said. “Don’t you worry, I fully expect she’ll get back to her demonstrably false yet base-motivating assertions by Monday.”