The Gaffes Of August – Bachmann’s Big Week On The Stump

Rainier Ehrhardt

It’s been a big week for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her insurgent presidential campaign. Her victory in the Iowa straw poll forced her fellow Minnesotan and once top-tier candidate, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, right out of the race. But along the way, as could be expected of Bachmann and her boisterous rhetoric, there have been some other memorable moments.

On Thursday, the Tea Party maven told an interesting tale to a South Carolina audience, explaining her former career as a tax litigation attorney working for the federal government. “How many of you love the IRS? No! It’s time to change it,” she told the crowd. “I went to work in that system because the first rule of war is ‘know your enemy.’ So I went to the inside to learn how they work because I wanted to beat them.”As Greg Sargent pointed out, this contradicted many of Bachmann’s past statements, to the effect that her time working for the IRS was the cause of her anti-tax campaigning, through her experiences in just how damaging the complex tax code was to families and small businesses.

Also on Thursday, as Think Progress reported, Bachmann appeared on the talk radio show of right-wing lawyer Jay Sekulow, and gave some of her views on current national security issues. And as it turns out, some older ones as well.

“What people recognize is that there’s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline,” Bachmann said. “They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward.” (Emphasis added.)

The Soviet Union of course collapsed two decades ago.

Also this week in South Carolina, Bachmann returned to her habit of celebrating great American icons by mangling crucial details of their biographies.

“Before we get started, let’s all say ‘Happy Birthday’ to Elvis Presley today,” Bachmann said, also adding: “You can’t do better than Elvis Presley, and we thought we would celebrate his birthday as we get started celebrating taking our country back to work.”

That date, August 16, was actually the anniversary of Elvis’s death in 1977 at age 42.

To which Bachmann gave a sentimental follow-up later in the day. “As far as we’re concerned, he’s still alive,” she said. “Alive in our hearts.”

But sadly, to quote Frank Zappa, Elvis has just left the building – those are his footprints right there!

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