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Bachmann goes rogue again

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) speaks to Iowans for Tax Relief on Friday.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) speaks to Iowans for Tax Relief on Friday. (Charlie Neibergall)

Returning to Washington, she hosted Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a gathering of her Tea Party Caucus, then went for an appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News and a keynote speech to the March for Life's annual dinner. And that was all before her Tea Party response to the State of the Union address.

Two dozen reporters chased her down a hall in the Capitol complex this week, seeking an explanation for the speech. "I never took this as a State of the Union response, necessarily," she said innocently. The title above the text of her speech her office released Tuesday night: "Bachmann's Response to State of the Union."

Party leaders, intimidated by the Tea Party activists, have little control over Bachmann. They denied her the party leadership post she sought, but when it came to her plan to upstage the authorized GOP response Tuesday night, the most House Speaker John Boehner could do was grumble that it's "a little unusual."

Bachmann is more than a little unusual. Her greatest hits are now legendary: Her suggestion that President Obama and the Democrats are "anti-American," her caution that the census could be used to create internment camps, her accusation that Obama is running a "gangster government" and her request that people be "armed and dangerous" to fight climate-change legislation.

At a time colleagues have toned down their words, Bachmann went to Iowa and proclaimed: "If we want to kill Obamacare and we want to end socialized medicine, it must be done in the next election!"

"It is my firm belief that America is under greater attack now . . . than at any time," she warned, voicing "grave doubt" about the nation's survival. She presented to the assembled Iowans a novel view of American history in which the "founders . . . worked tirelessly until slavery was no more." In Bachmann's version, "It didn't matter the color of their skin. . . . Once you got here, we were all the same."

She was at it again Tuesday night. She ignored the bipartisan seating plan and placed herself between two other Tea Party House Republicans. Soon after, she was on air herself, reading out choice slogans: "failed stimulus . . . repeal Obamacare . . . government-run coverage . . . voted out the big-spending politicians."

It was angry, and at times wrong, but Bachmann has gone far with that formula.

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