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Michele Bachmann: Beware 'the Soviet Union'

August 19, 2011|By James Oliphant
  • Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said in a radio interview that Americans are nervous about the "rise of the Soviet Union," which collapsed in 1991.
Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said in a radio interview that… (Mary Ann Chastain / Reuters )

For Michele Bachmann, the hits keep coming. While on the campaign trail earlier this week, she mixed up Elvis Presley’s birthday with the day he died. Now, she has apparently brought an Elvis-era menace back from the dead, citing in an interview the growing might of—the Soviet Union.

According to the liberal website Think Progress, Bachmann, whose grasp of history on the trail at times has been somewhat shaky, said during a radio interview Thursday that Americans today are mindful of the threat posed by a rising U.S.S.R., which, like Elvis, left the building a long, long time ago. (Listen below.)

“What people recognize is that there’s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward,” Bachmann said on conservative activist Jay Sekulow’s show. “And especially with this very bad debt ceiling bill, what we have done is given a favor to President Obama, and the first thing he’ll whack is 500 billion out of the military defense at a time when we’re fighting three wars. People recognize that.”

It was the second historical gaffe in a week for the Minnesota congresswoman, who was flying high after her win in the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa last weekend.

Bachmann, of course, famously suggested earlier this year that the battle of Lexington and Concord, which kicked off the Revolutionary War, was fought in New Hampshire. And she flubbed John Wayne’s Iowa birthplace in June.

And then during the GOP debate last week in Ames, she claimed that Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating validated her belief that the debt ceiling should not have been raised, when the rating agency said that exactly the opposite was the case.

Bachmann is a charismatic and talented performer on the stump, and her ardent fans probably don’t care if she takes a few historical mulligans now and then. But her competitors are watching, and it would not be a surprise if they try the same line of attack in the future that Tim Pawlenty took in the Ames debate when he charged that Bachmann has, "a record of misstatements and false statements.”

Then again, look what that approach did for Pawlenty.

Here's the Bachmann audio clip:

 

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