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Posted at 03:32 PM ET, 07/19/2012

John McCain hasn’t slowed Michele Bachmann, who stands to benefit from accusations

Criticism from Sen. John McCain hasn’t put a stop to Michele Bachmann’s call for an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood.

Rep. Michele Bachmann in Washington last month. (Mark Wilson - GETTY IMAGES)
McCain (R-Ariz.) defended Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and aide, Huma Abedin, on Wednesday against the claim by Bachmann (R-Minn.) that she might be a terrorist sympathizer.

“These allegations about Huma and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant,” McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor.

But on Thursday morning, Bachmann, never one to back down, repeated her claims on Glenn’s Beck’s radio show.

“She is the chief aide for the secretary of state, and we quoted from a document, and this has been well reported all across Arab media, that her father, her late father who’s now deceased, was a part of the Muslim Brotherhood,’ Bachmann told Beck. “Her brother was a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, and her mother was a part of what’s called the Muslim Sisterhood. It would be, we have requirements to get a high-level security clearance. One thing that the government looks at are your associations, and in particular your family associations.”

Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff and aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, with her boss in New York last fall. Republican Sen. John McCain has defended Abedin against unsubstantiated allegations that her family has ties to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais - AP)
Beck chimed in that “John McCain and all of the elephant media are falling right in line with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

And Bachmann agreed: "He went on the Senate floor, and he gave a spirited defense of Huma Abedin, who is a friend of his."

She then said that she is not implying that Abedin, a Muslim who is married to former Democratic New York congressman Anthony Weiner, is herself “a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or that she’s working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Bachmann simply wants Abedin’s connections investigated, she said.

The firestorm began last Friday when Bachmann, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, along with other Republican House members, sent letters to the inspectors general of five national security government agencies asking them to investigate “infiltration” by the
Bachmann and presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a campaign stop in Portsmouth, Va., in May. (Jae C. Hong - AP)
Muslim Brotherhood.

Bachmann has said repeatedly that she believes the Muslim Brotherhood has penetrated the U.S. government. On Beck's show, she said, “Never before in the history of the country have we seen this level of leaks coming out, but at the same time there’s also a parallel track of influence from the Muslim Brotherhood in the highest levels of the federal government, and we think that we need to get answers to these questions.”

She also called out fellow Minnesotan Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat and the first Muslim elected to Congress. He has been critical of Bachmann’s accusations and has asked for proof regarding her
McCain has defended Abedin against Bachmann’s claims that her family has ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. (Jacquelyn Martin - AP)
Muslim Brotherhood allegations.

“We’re asking that the inspectors general answer these questions, and Keith Ellison is trying to shut this, these questions, down from getting addressed,” she said on Beck’s radio show.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), who has been touted as a possible Romney vice-presidential pick, also entered the fray Thursday morning.

“I am not a signatory to that letter,” Rubio said on “The Diane Rehm
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Thursday, “I’m very, very careful and cautious about ever making accusations like that about anybody.” (Jewel Samad - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

“I didn’t even know the letter had gone out, to be honest with you, and I don’t share the feelings that are in that letter.” Rubio added, “And in fact, I’m very, very careful and cautious about ever making accusations like that about anybody.”

Also Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) described Bachmann’s claims as “pretty dangerous.” Bachmann's former campaign manager, Ed Rollins, also condemned her, saying the accusations border on McCarthyism.

Such ganging up on Bachmann, though, only fuels her faithful supporters and those who think the Obama administration harbors a pro-
Rep. Keith Ellison ( D-Minn.), one of only two Muslims in Congress, testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee in March 2011 on the extent of the radicalization of U.S. Muslims. (Alex Brandon - ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Islamist agenda.

Several conservative sites have launched campaigns in support of Bachmann’s call for an investigation, and one called her a “Romney VP prospect.”

She’s incredibly savvy at appealing to conspiracy theorists.

She once said that President Obama wanted Medicare to go bankrupt so that the elderly would have to enroll in Obamacare.

Bachmann has often talked about a one-world currency and criticized national community-service camps, which she calls “re-education camps,” in which those involved get “trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.”

Since Obama was elected in 2008, she has sounded an alarm about the nonexistent threat of sharia law in the United States and supported the birther movement.

“I’ll tell you one thing, if I was ever to run for president of the United States, I think the first thing I would do in the first debate is offer my birth certificate, so we can get that off the table,” she said before throwing her hat into the presidential ring.

So far, her rhetoric has only helped her career.

Last week, she announced via Twitter that she had raised $1.7 million in three months against her congressional opponent in November, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate Jim Graves. He has raised $400,000. Of that, $150,000 is his own money. Most of Bachmann’s contributions reportedly come from out of state.

And with the coffers filling, don’t expect her to quiet down anytime soon.


Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.” Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker

By  |  03:32 PM ET, 07/19/2012

Tags:  Michele Bachmann, Hillary Clinton, Huba Abedin, Anthony Weiner, John McCain, Marco Rubio, Keith Ellison, tea party, conspiracy theories, 2012

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