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The Barbarian Defense: Marcus Bachmann, Allies Say Embarrassing Tape Is A Fake

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In an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune published Friday, Bachmann denied reports that his Christian counseling clinic pushes so-called gay "reparative therapy" (better known as "pray the gay away"). Bachmann said the clinic will try to "convert" gay patients (as the paper put it) but only if the client asks for it.

"Will I address it? Certainly we'll talk about it," Marcus Bachmann told paper. "Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? ... It is at the client's discretion."

He also addressed the barbarian tape, which is purportedly from a 2010 Marcus Bachmann appearance on a Christian radio talk show called "Point of View." Here's the now-infamous clip, first posted by ThinkProgress:

The key quote:

"We have to understand: Barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn't mean that we are supposed to go down that road.''

Asked about what has become a central part of the coverage of Michele Bachmann's run for the White House lately, Marcus told the Star-Tribune whole thing was made up.

"Bachmann said that someone must have doctored the recording of the interview, in which he addressed child discipline as well as homosexuality and sex education," the paper reports.

"I was talking in reference to children. Nothing, nothing to do with homosexuality," Bachmann said. "That's not my mindset. That's not my belief system. That's not the way I would talk."

This appears to be the way people in Marcus' circle see it as well. As part of his undercover investigation that helped expose the reparative therapy practice, LGBT-rights activist John Becker asked his counselor at Bachmann's clinic, Tim Wiertzema, to comment on the tape.

Here's how Becker wrote that up:

I mentioned Marcus Bachmann's by then well-publicized remarks calling gays "barbarians" who "need to be educated." "Am I a barbarian?" I said through tears. Rather than contradict his boss' words, Wiertzema opted to doubt the authenticity of the recording I had heard: "It sounds like... something that someone just did. It doesn't sound accurate."

And so it seems that, faced with the controversial clip, Team Bachmann has decided to cry foul. Someone, they say, doctored the clip making Marcus appear to be more opposed to the gay lifestyle than the Bachmanns already publicly are.

So far, there's no evidence that the tape is doctored. The Star-Tribune looked into it and found nothing.

"Calls to 'Point of View' were not returned Thursday," the paper reports. "Online archived recordings of the show don't go back to May 2010, when Bachmann's interview took place."