Washington Post staff
Wednesday, January 26, 2011; 10:59 AM
Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann delivered the tea-party response to President Obama's State of the Union address. Felicia Sonmez reported:
In her brief remarks, which were streamed online and also aired by CNN, Bachmann charged that the White House failed to deliver on its promise to keep unemployment under eight percent, decried what she called the "unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt" under Obama and took aim at the national health care overhaul.
"In the end, unless we fully repeal ObamaCare, a nation that currently enjoys the world's best healthcare may be forced to rely on government-run coverage that will have a devastating impact on our national debt for generations to come," Bachmann said. "For two years President Obama made promises just like the ones we heard him make tonight. Yet still we have high unemployment, devalued housing prices and the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing."
Bachmann, who is mulling a bid for national office, then offered up her own solutions, including instituting a balanced budget amendment, blocking cap-and-trade legislation and repealing the national health care overhaul. She also hailed the results of last year's midterm elections, which saw Republicans make sweeping gains in the House and Senate. And as several other potential 2012 White House contenders have done in recent months, she heralded America's status as an "exceptional" nation.
Dana Milbank gave the perfomance a poor review:
And then there was Michele Bachmann.
As the leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the House, the Minnesota Republican gave her own, unauthorized response to the State of the Union, live from the National Press Club, filmed by Fox News, broadcast live on CNN and telecast by the Tea Party Express. It had all the altitude of a punch to the gut.
"After the $700 billion bailout, the trillion-dollar stimulus, and the massive budget bill with over 9,000 earmarks, many of you implored Washington to please stop spending money we don't have," Bachmann said. "But, instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt, unlike anything we have seen in the history of our country."
Armed with charts and photographs, but not a word of fellowship, she railed against "a bureaucracy that tells us which light bulbs to buy, and which may put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama's health care bill."
The State of the Nation was conciliatory Tuesday night, as each side made gestures to the other, and lawmakers for the first time crossed the aisle to sit - and applaud - together. But Bachmann and her fellow Tea Partyers raged on.
More on PostPolitics:
State of the Union 'response' often a mixed-blessing for the responder. for the responder.