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Michele Bachmann, Savannah Guthrie Spar Over 'Credibility'


First Posted: 04/06/11 01:32 PM ET Updated: 06/06/11 06:12 AM ET

WASHINGTON -- Earlier this morning, Minnesota Congresswoman and potential GOP presidential aspirant Michele Bachmann appeared on "The Daily Rundown" to chat with hosts Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie. Among other typical talking points, Bachmann expressed the desire to increase federal budget deficits dramatically by repealing the Affordable Care Act. But soon enough, the conversation turned to Bachmann's 2012 prospects. That's when things sort of got hilarious, as Guthrie gently probed Bachmann about her public statements that fact check organizations routinely judge to be "lies."

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GUTHRIE: We only have a few minutes left. Let's talk about 2012. You have suggested you're considering a presidential run. You certainly are somebody who can rile up a crowd. You can grab headlines. I want to play a couple of things you've said in the past, then ask you about it on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: That's the number of new drilling permits under the Obama administration since they came into office.

To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pumps for my babies.

Well, the president of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day.

In the 1970s, the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat President, Jimmy Carter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUTHRIE: Congresswoman, all the statements have one thing in common, that is that they were rated as "false" by PolitiFact. My question to you is, if you want to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate, do you feel the need to be more precise in your statements so that people recognize you are a person of substance?

BACHMANN: Well, I am a person of substance. I have a law degree. I have a post-doctorate degree in tax law. My husband and I have started two clinics. We own both of our businesses. We have been married 33 years. We have five biological children. We've raised 23 foster children. We together with--

GUTHRIE: Do you think you've been a little loose with the facts sometimes?

BACHMANN: We together with other parents started the first charter school in the United States for K-12 students. We--I have a very substantial background. Yes, it's important that we have accuracy, but take a look at President Obama's credibility. He's the one who said if we pass a trillion-dollar stimulus package, that we wouldn't see unemployment go above eight percent.

GUTHRIE: But Congresswoman--but Congresswoman, I asked about you in some of your statements. So--

BACHMANN: On every level, the president has not had credibility.

GUTHRIE: OK, but in the interest of personal responsibility, those were your statements that were ultimately deemed to be inaccurate. So my question is to you, how will you change your rhetoric so that people understand you are a serious person who has credibility on the big issues?

BACHMANN: Well, people know that I do have credibility on the big issues because here in Washington, D.C., I have said that I am not a part of the political establishment. I came here as an outsider. I've stayed an outsider. For five years I have fought against big government and against the political insiders. And I've stayed true to my convictions.

So there you have it. "Lack of credibility" is important to evaluate and hold people accountable to, as long as you're not applying that standard to Michele Bachmann, who has a law degree and is a person of substance who even carries her own set of keys and stuff!

Another fun moment came midway through the interview:

GUTHRIE: But Congresswoman, I kind of hear you saying two things, because on the one hand you just said you think the American people expect their politicians to be reasonable. At the same time, you said you, yourself couldn't stomach a compromise of anything less than the full $60 billion in cuts that the House Republican conference wants. Where's the compromise in that?

BACHMANN: Well, that's a dramatic compromise to come down to $60 billion. We're talking in the context of $3.5 trillion.

Yes, I was thinking the same thing: Michele Bachmann believes that anything short of cutting the entire budget is a "compromise?" She eventually walked this back and said coming down from the "initial offering" of $100 billion in cuts was a "tremendous compromise." (Bachmann is probably not aware that the House GOP dropped down from the $100 billion-in-cuts pledge entirely of their own accord.)

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