Last Friday on the BBC, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) spoke with host Emily Maitlis about a range of topics. Unlike the puff interviews Bachmann enjoys from most of the media, like on Fox News, the BBC actually challenged Bachmann on some of her radical views and distortions. First, Maitlis questioned Bachmann about her 2008 charge that Obama is “very anti-American.” Rather than apologize or walk back the statement, Bachmann dug in, repeatedly answering the question with a litany of right-wing anti-Obama talking points:
MAITLIS: You’ve suggested that President Obama is anti-American. Do you really believe that?
BACHMANN: I’ve been very concerned about the policies that have come out of the White House and I share that agreement with people who voted at the ballot box on the first Tuesday in November, they’re rejecting the federal government foray into buying and owning an equity share […]
MAITLIS: But that’s a different thing, do you think he’s anti-American, do you think that the president of America is anti-American?
BACHMANN: The policies that are anti-free enterprise are ones that are not familiar to the people of the United States. And that’s why we saw such a strong reaction to the ballot box. In fact, the government takeover of health care is a great example, that’s not what was done here historically in the United States, and the people don’t want to see the federal government to control and dictate our health care.
Maitlis then asked Bachmann about her ridiculous claim that Obama spent over $200 million a day on his trip to India. The inflated number has been debunked by the Wall Street Journal, PolitiFact, and other organizations. As the blog IntoxiNation noted, Bachmann and a chorus of right-wing voices pounced on the smear after it was promulgated by Matt Drudge on the Drudge Report. Bachmann justified her lie by claiming that it was fair game since “major national figures in the United States, many in the media had already been using that figure.” Apparently, if Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh says something, that’s enough for a member of the House of Representatives to believe it as true:
MAITLIS: You claimed that President Obama spent $200 million a day on a trip to India. It’s been roundly ridiculed as a quote.
BACHMANN: Actually, I didn’t claim that. I was quoting a newspaper out of India. And I only used that quote —
MAITLIS: Well why would you do that?
BACHMANN: Well number one it came out of the host country in India, a well-respected financial newspaper.
MAITLIS: And you believe that? $200 million dollars a day?
BACHMANN: Well, all I did was I quoted the newspaper. I quoted the newspaper and major national figures in the United States, many in the media had already been using that figure. […] The reason it was so important was that the president has a two-year history of out of country spending. […]
MAITLIS: You still believe that it was $200 million dollars a day?
BACHMANN: I didn’t say if I believe it or not. What I said was a I was quoting a newspaper.
As the New York Times reported on Saturday, Bachmann lost her bid for a leadership position within the GOP House largely because of her proclivity to make deeply embarrassing gaffes and lies. Her performance on the BBC serves as a testament to that problem. (HT: DailyKos diarist devtob)