One thing is certain about Rep. Michele Bachmann: She certainly knows how to raise some eyebrows.
The Tea Party favorite of Minnesota announced Wednesday in a video that she would not seek another House term in 2014, insisting it has nothing to do with concerns about being re-elected (she narrowly won last year) or recent inquiries into the finances related to her failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination. She also took the opportunity to take a jab at her detractors, declaring: “I fully anticipate the mainstream, liberal media to put a detrimental spin on my decision. But I take being the focus of their attention of their disparagement as a true compliment of my public-service effectiveness,” she said.
Bachmann became a polarizing figure, garnering plenty of attention for continual clamoring, including repeated calls to repeal Obamacare, insisting climate change is a “hoax,” and suggesting the Muslim Brotherhood could be infiltrating the U.S. government.
As Bachmann prepares to exit stage right, here’s a look back at some of the Minnesota lawmaker’s more outlandish moments.
1. Obamacare will ‘literally’ kill women, children—In March, Bachmann commemorated the third anniversary of Obamacare by declaring the law will “literally” kill Americans. “Repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens,” Bachmann said on the House floor. The failed Republican presidential candidate added, “Let’s not do that. Let’s love people, let’s care about people. Let’s repeal it now while we can.” During her tenure, Bachmann repeatedly brought up the “death panel” talking point on Obamacare, a false notion that the government would anoint such a panel to decide when old people should get more costly care and when we should stop treating them.
2. Benghazi, 9/11 are ‘judgment’ from God—In May, Bachmann said she sees the attacks of 9/11 and those against the U.S. mission in Benghazi as the wrath of God. At a prayer event arranged by conservatives at the U.S. Capitol to promote a “national Day of Prayer and Fasting, she insisted: “Our nation has seen judgment not once but twice on September 11 and that’s why we’re going to have ‘9-11 Pray’ on that day,” said Bachmann. “Is there anything better that we can do on that day rather than to humble ourselves and to pray to an almighty God?” She added, “It’s no secret that our nation may very well be experiencing the hand of judgment.”
3. HPV vaccination may cause ‘mental retardation’—In September 2011, Bachmann came out swinging at her then-fellow GOP presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who mandated sixth grade girls in his state be vaccinated against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease. She suggested the vaccine may cause “mental retardation,” a notion that has largely been dismissed by the medical community. “I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate,” recalled Bachmann on NBC’s Today. “She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter. It can have very dangerous side effects. … This is the very real concern, and people have to draw their own conclusions.”
4. Climate change is a ‘hoax’—In a 2008 speech at the Sherburne County Republican Nominating Convention, Bachmann said, “The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.” In 2011, while on the campaign trail in South Carolina, she repeated her earlier claim, insisting man-made climate change is a “manufactured science.”
5. Links Dems to the swine flu crises—In April 2009, Bachmann argued Democratic presidents and the swine flu crises were somehow linked. “I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under Democrat President Jimmy Carter,” she said. “And I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.” As Think Progress pointed out, the last outbreak of swine flu in the U.S. actually occurred in February 1976, when Republican Gerald Ford was president.
6. The Muslim Brotherhood could be infiltrating the U.S. government—Last summer, Bachmann—along with some Republican colleagues—sent letters to several inspector generals questioning whether the Muslim Brotherhood could be infiltrating the U.S. government. She even claimed that Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide was no exception. Arizona Sen. John McCain called Bachmann’s remarks “specious and degrading.”
7. We must ban porn and gay marriage—In July 2011, Bachmann became the first presidential candidate to sign a pledge calling for banning all forms of pornography and gay marriage. The pledge, pushed by the Family Leader, an influential Christian conservative group, also requires fidelity between spouses. At the time, a spokeswoman for Bachmann said the social conservative did not hesitate to sign off on the promise. “She has been married for over 30 years and has a strong marriage and faith,” said spokeswoman Alice Stewart.
8. Terri Schiavo is a ‘healthy’ woman—In 2006, not long after Terri Schiavo died, Bachmann characterized the woman–who kicked off a national debate about prolonged life support after being diagnosed by doctors as being in a persistent vegetative state–as “healthy.” “There was brain damage, there was no question. But from a health point of view, she was not terminally ill,” said Bachmann.
9. Misplaces the Revolutionary War—It was the shot, or perhaps, gaffe heard round the world. In 2011, Bachmann muddled her history when she told a crowd in New Hampshire: “What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord.” Too bad those battles took place in Massachusetts.
10. The American media must investigate ‘anti-American’ lawmakers—In 2008, Bachmann told Hardball’s Chris Matthews that she wanted reporters to probe Democratic members of Congress, including Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress…and find out are they pro-America or anti-America?”