Michele Bachmann may pride herself on being one of the most conservative members of Congress, but she’s known to be fairly liberal in her interpretation of the facts.
Her latest round of whoppers came during a speech she gave at CPAC this past weekend. She waxed on about wasteful government spending, especially the $1.4 billion a year she said goes to “perks and excess” for the president.
The outlandish claims inspired Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler to refute her not once, but twice. She earned the infamous maximum rating of “Four Pinocchios” both times, and even inspired Kessler to write, “There really aren’t enough Pinocchios for such misleading use of statistics in a major speech.”
When pressed on some of those CPAC speech facts by CNN reporter Dana Bash this week, Bachmann literally ran from the truth. Asked about the factual inaccuracies, she responded, “The big point of my speech was about Benghazi. This was an absolute disaster.”
Patricia Murphy, of Citizen Jane Politics, isn’t surprised that Bachmann ran. “I have chased her [for interviews on Capitol Hill], she’s really very quick,” she said on PoliticsNation Wednesday. “If she doesn’t want to answer a question, it’s just not going to happen.”
“She’s more fast and loose with the facts.”
While Murphy argues that Bachmann would be better off if she’d at least “start off” with “facts that are true,” not everyone agrees.
Bachmann is “the raw uncut id of the conservative movement,” according to Salon’s Alex Seitz-Waldman (who has his own take-down on Bachmann’s recent mishandling of the facts).
By his measure, it’s not in Bachmann’s interest to let the truth get in the way of a good story. ”It’s really about fundraising,” he explained, noting that Bachmann often hits up her supporters for money after she’s called out for inaccurate statements.
“It’s this bizarre world where there’s no incentive for her to be right,” he said.
Bachmann certainly needs to keep fundraising. After winning reelection by a razor thin margin this past year, she’s become a top target for Democrats in 2014. That’s prompted her to spend a lot more time in her home district this year.
The whopper-laden CPAC speech turned out to be her first major appearance of 2013, and as Murphy pointed out, the more Bachmann talks, the more work fact-checkers will have to do. “There are not enough column inches to fact check that entire speech at CPAC.”
That’s one way to keep the economy going.