During last night’s GOP national security debate, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying that he would use a nuclear weapon to destroy both the U.S. and Israel. Neither Ahmadinejad, nor any other Iranian official, has said any such thing but this isn’t the first time Bachmann attributed the same, inaccurate, statement to Ahmadinejad.
Here’s what she said last night:
BACHMANN: Why is that we’re talking about Israel having to make a strike against Iran? It’s because Iran has announced they plan to strike Israel. They’ve stated as recently as August, just before President Ahmadinejad came to the U.N. General Assembly. He stated they wanted to eradicate Israel from the face of the Earth. He has said that if he has a nuclear weapon, he will use it to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. He will use it against the United States of America. This isn’t just an idle threat, this is a reality.
Bachmann’s assertion is patently false. Iran has consistently denied that it has a nuclear weapon or is seeking to build one. Just three weeks ago, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour called Bachmann out on her misstating of the same quote, saying:
AMANPOUR: Congresswoman, of course the United States is concerned about the nuclear program. Iran denies that it has one, so it hasn’t threatened to use them.
A simple misunderstanding of the facts, albeit a misunderstanding with potentially serious consequences, might be excused. But Bachmann’s repeated misrepresentation of Iranian positions, even after being corrected, suggests a willful strategy of attributing inaccurate and incendiary quotes to Ahmadinejad.