During an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was given an opportunity to set the record straight with regard to comments she made earlier this year lauding the nation's Founding Fathers for working "tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.”
ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked the conservative congresswoman to address the statement, noting that many of the country's Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, in fact had slaves and that slavery wasn't abolished until the Civil War. Here's an excerpt of the exchange that went down:
Bachmann: Well you know what’s marvelous is that in this country and under our constitution, we have the ability when we recognize that something is wrong to change it. And that’s what we did in our country. We changed it. We no longer have slavery. That’s a good thing. And what our Constitution has done for our nation is to give us the basis of freedom unparalleled in the rest of the world.
Stephanopoulos: I agree with that…
Bachmann: That’s what people want...they realize our government is taking away our freedom.
Stephanopoulos: But that’s not what you said. You said that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery.
Bachmann: Well if you look at one of our Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, that’s absolutely true. He was a very young boy when he was with his father serving essentially as his father’s secretary. He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery...
Stephanopoulos: He wasn’t one of the Founding Fathers – he was a president, he was a Secretary of State, he was a member of Congress, you’re right he did work to end slavery decades later. But so you are standing by this comment that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery?
Asked if she stood by her assertion that the Founding Fathers worked hard to end slavery given the facts, Bachmann said, "Well, John Quincy Adams most certainly was a part of the Revolutionary War era. He was a young boy but he was actively involved."
The remarks from the GOP hopeful come one day after she formally announced her candidacy for president of the United States in the key primary state of Iowa.
Earlier this year, Bachmann told a group of local New Hampshire Republicans, "You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord." However, the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired in Massachusetts, not the Granite State.
She told CNN on Tuesday morning, "I'm introducing myself now to the American people so that they can know that I have a strong academic scholarly background, more important I have a real life background."
In an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" on Monday night, Bachmann suggested that President Barack Obama "is threatened by [her] candidacy." She said, "He fears me. He sees me as a serious, substantive competitor. I think he sees that I have a very clear path to victory for the nomination. And, I think he wants to do whatever he can to diminish me because he thinks he'll have to see me in the debates. That's my intent, to take him on in the debates and to win and take the voice of the people that I serve to the White House."
Also on the program, Bachmann accepted an apology issued by "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace after he asked her if she's a "flake" on last weekend's edition of his show. Earlier in the day, the Tea Party favorite told ABC News' Jonathan Karl, "I think that it's insulting to insinuate that a candidate for president is less than serious. I'm a very serious individual."
Below, a video clip of Bachmann's appearance on Fox News.
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