MEMO: The Consequences of Crazy, Volume 1: Michele Bachmann’s Presidential Bid

“There’s a woman who came up crying to me tonight after the debate. She said her daughter was given that vaccine. She told me her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine.”

– Michele Bachmann, FOX News, September 12, 2011



On August 13th 2011, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann secured a victory at the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, temporarily vaulting her to frontrunner status in the Republican presidential race. Almost exactly one month later, following a debate with her fellow primary contenders, Bachmann claimed in an interview that the HPV vaccine caused mental retardation.

Michele Bachmann is no stranger to controversial statements. She rose to national fame by calling for an investigation into her congressional colleagues to determine which Members of Congress were “anti-America.” But her decision to run for President moved her from fringe political bomb-thrower to one of the preeminent members of the Republican Party. And with that came an increased scrutiny which she was unable to withstand. These are the consequences of being crazy.

Just ask “B-1 Bob” Dornan how well a longshot Presidential bid bodes for one’s reelection chances to the House. Bachmann’s HPV vaccination comments meant that she emerged from her Presidential bid drawing more comparisons to Jenny McCarthy than Hillary Clinton. Examination of her Congressional record revealed her top legislative priority to be pushing for energy inefficient light bulbs. Her oft-misguided forays into foreign policy left many questioning what qualifications are necessary for membership on the House “Intelligence” Committee. She even managed to get out in front of Mitt on the whole “47 percent” debate by a whole year.

It is almost certain that Michele Bachmann’s comments over the last year would not have attracted the same level of attention as they did, had they been made in Minnesota, instead of the Revolutionary War battleground of Lexington and Concord (NH) or in the birthplace of John Wayne (Gacy). Michele Bachmann’s presidential ambitions ended with the Iowa Caucus, where she just barely tallied as many votes as she had in the Ames straw poll five months earlier. Bachmann’s campaign left her with little more than debt, but it left American Bridge with a treasure trove of tracking footage. For all of her Minnesota constituents who suffered the indignity of her performance on the national stage, we present: The Bachmann Files.