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Bachmann still steamed over Gingrich's conduct at debate

December 16, 2011|By James Oliphant
  • Michele Bachmann addresses the crowd at a Friday campaign stop at a bakery in Orange City, Iowa.
Michele Bachmann addresses the crowd at a Friday campaign stop at a bakery… (Jeff Haynes / Reuters )

Michele Bachmann remains irked by Newt Gingrich’s treatment of her during Thursday’s debate in Sioux City, Iowa -- conduct that has led some to accuse the former House speaker of sexism.

"Well, frankly, I thought that it was outrageous and insulting, the way that he seemed to treat me like I was a student, and I'm not. I'm a serious candidate for president of the United States and I had my facts right and he has said this repeatedly and he's just not true," Bachmann said Friday on CNN's "The Situation Room". "He's memory-challenged."

Of all the candidates on the stage in Sioux City, Bachmann was the toughest on the Republican front-runner. And she clearly seems to feel Gingrich was patronizing her in dismissing her attacks as inaccurate.

Bachmann felt compelled Thursday evening to stand up for herself after Gingrich twice accused of her getting her facts wrong, once when she suggested he lobbied on behalf of Freddie Mac and once when she questioned his commitment to opposing abortion rights.

“Sometimes Congresswoman Bachmann doesn’t get her facts very accurate,” Gingrich said late in the debate. He had made a similar statement the previous Saturday, at a debate in Des Moines.

Bachmann hit the roof. “This isn't just once, I think it's outrageous to continue to say over and over through the debate that I don't have my facts right when, as a matter of fact, I do,” she said. “I'm a serious candidate for president of the United States. And my facts are accurate.

On Friday, Bachmann was asked by CNN whether she felt Gingrich was treating her differently because she’s a woman, but the Minnesota conservative wouldn’t go that far.

Bachmann’s fealty to the truth, of course, has earned her a share of criticism during the presidential campaign. When she cited the fact-checking website PolitiFact in her defense Thursday, claiming the site had backed all of her claims at the previous debate, PolitiFact was quick to contradict her. “That’s simply not the case,” PolitiFact wrote, adding that more than half Bachmann's statements they’ve rated during the campaign have been found to be incorrect.

But it was Gingrich’s manner that rankled some, including MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, who on Friday morning charged that the Georgian was being sexist.

“Newt Gingrich, when he attacks Michele Bachmann, sort of speaks in a different tone and is far more condescending to Michele Bachmann than he is to the men on the stage,” Scarborough said on his program "Morning Joe."

Scarborough’s guest, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, seemed to agree, praising Bachmann for standing up to Gingrich. He said that during the debate, he tweeted “You go, girl.”

Whatever the cause, some bad blood appears to have arisen. Appearing on Fox News’ “Hannity” after the debate. Gingrich mentioned his respect for his fellow contenders by name, omitting only Bachmann.

Here's the Bachmann-Gingrich exchange from the debate:


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