I’ve been seeing news reports of this encounter between Rep. Michele Bachmann and an attendee at one of her presidential campaign rallies since late last night, reports that insist that Bachmann thinks Obama should be impeached. Is that what she said? National Journal has the video:
With a well-established track record for raising eyebrows on the stump, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota on Tuesday said she thinks President Obama should be impeached.
After visiting a coffee shop in this small Iowa town, Bachmann was asked by a man in the crowd, “When will we impeach him and get him out of the way?” The candidate replied,
“Well, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you, I agree, I agree. Some people are really upset.” Then she moved on to the next well-wisher.
Campaign spokesperson Alice Stewart said later, “She was not saying that she agrees that Obama should be impeached. She agreed with the man on what they were talking about before- that people are frustrated.”
Did she or didn’t she endorse impeachment? I’d say no. She goes to greet the man and chat with him, and as soon as he starts talking impeachment, Bachmann extricates herself from the conversation as quickly as possible. Getting into a debate over impeachment at a rally is not a winning strategy, no matter how much the media might enjoy a mild Sister Souljah moment or two on the trail in Iowa. So she changes the terms of the conversation by agreeing that “some people are really upset” and puts distance between herself and the man before the conversation can continue.
That’s a fairly standard way to avoid confrontation while doing grip-and-grins. Bachmann has torpedoed her campaign with some wild talk, but this isn’t an example of that. It’s an example of candidate conflict avoidance and nothing more.