Michele Bachmann: A Fact Checker’s dream
The announcement that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is not seeking reelection will leave the Capitol a much less interesting place to fact check. As one of our colleagues put it, “The entire fact checking industry may have to hold a national day of mourning.”
Bachmann is not just fast and loose with the facts; she is consistently and unapologetically so. No other lawmaker earned as high a percentage of Four-Pinocchio ratings as Bachmann — and she earned an average of more than Three Pinocchios as a presidential candidate. Thus she provided a window into the no-holds-barred politics that has come to characterize modern-day Washington.
Just this year, she has earned four Four-Pinocchio ratings. Below are links to those columns — as well as a round-up of her worst campaign-related comments. Click on the headline to read the full column.
Bachmann claimed that President Obama spent $1.4 billion on perks in the White House. But most of this money was for Secret Service protection and helicopters — and Obama’s spending appeared to be lower than that for George W. Bush.
Bachmann claimed that 70 percent of the food stamp budget went to Washington bureaucrats. This turned out to be an extreme misinterpretation of the data. The actual amount of the food stamp budget that goes to the “bureaucrats” who manage the program is less than one-third of 1 percent. Even counting all administrative expenses only adds up to 6 percent.
This was an odd bit of revisionist history. She did vote against the law that established the sequester, but because she said it did not cut spending enough. She began to express concerns about the impact on the poor only after the sequester kicked in.
Bachmann leaped onto the bash-the-IRS bandwagon with this false claim that the tax agency would have control of personal health-care information as a result of President Obama’s health-care law. But no data would be stored in any sort of database, as she claimed.
After Bachmann patted herself on the back for her debate performance, we produced this round-up of her major-league errors.
Check out our candidate Pinocchio Tracker