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'Tea party' terrorists? Bachmann tries to cash in on alleged Biden dig

August 02, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli | Washington Bureau
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated…)

Rep. Michele Bachmann is trying to cash in on remarks attributed to Vice President Joe Biden linking "tea party" conservatives with terrorists, the latest example of how the heated rhetoric of the debt-ceiling debate quickly becomes fodder for fundraising appeals.

According to Politico, Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania was the one who introduced the attack, saying at a meeting of House Democrats that a "small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money." Biden, trying to sell the group on the debt-ceiling compromise, reportedly responded: "They have acted like terrorists."

Biden later denied saying that.

"I did not use the terrorism word," he said in an interview for the "CBS Evening News." "There were some people who said they felt like they were being held hostage by terrorists. I never said that they were terrorists or weren't terrorists, I just let them vent."

The denial apparently didn't convince Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman and presidential hopeful.

"Only in the bizarro world of Washington is fiscal responsibility sometimes defined as terrorism," Bachmann wrote in an email to the faithful. "This is yet another example of how the liberal establishment and Obama White House will say and do anything necessary to get their way."

Bachmann interpreted the attack as a personal one, saying she's the "top target for defeat by the Obama Democrats."

"I have faced the liberal attack machine before but their words today took their egregiousness to a new level. I am offended by Vice President Biden’s irresponsible words and need your immediate support to defend myself and fellow Tea Party members right away," she continued.

You wouldn't know it from the email, but just hours earlier Biden and Bachmann shared a warm moment.

After Rep. Gabrielle Giffords surprised her colleagues by returning to the Capitol for the debt-ceiling vote, Biden was among a group spending time with the Arizona Democrat when Bachmann joined them. Biden said he hugged Bachmann.

"We’re all standing there around, and Michelle walks up to see Gabby because she cares about her," he told reporters Monday. "There is a basic humanity here. It matters between people. I know that sounds corny."

And for the record, Biden said: "I like Michele Bachmann."

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