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Bachmann Defends Husband, Won't Vote for Boehner's Debt Plan

Bachmann Defends Husband, Won't Vote for Boehner's Debt Plan

By Scott Conroy - July 28, 2011


Rep. Michele Bachmann insisted Thursday that questions over her husband's counseling clinic -- which reportedly has accepted government funding and has provided so-called "reparative therapy" to turn gay people into heterosexuals -- were out-of-bounds in the context of her 2012 Republican presidential campaign.

Speaking at a National Press Club forum, the conservative Minnesota congresswoman also made it clear that she will not vote to raise the debt ceiling, and said she hasn't seen a debt-reduction proposal on Capitol Hill that would earn her vote. Her reiteration of this position came even as House Speaker John Boehner was holding a news conference on Capitol Hill to reveal that he doesn't yet have the votes pass his debt-ceiling and deficit-cutting legislation.

Although she's not supporting her own party's leadership on deficit legislation, Bachmann did praise Boehner -- making him the second man she defended during the luncheon address. Asked during the question-and-answer period of the press club forum whether she believed in reparative therapy, Bachmann sidestepped the question, saying that she was "extremely proud" of her husband, Marcus.

"I have tremendous respect and admiration for him, and we'll celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary this coming September," said the three-term congresswoman. "But I am running for the presidency of the United States. My husband is not running for the presidency, neither are my children, neither is my business, neither is our foster children."

Bachmann was then asked about a recent Washington Post story, which reported that even as she was publicly calling on Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac to be dismantled, her family benefited in 2008 from a government-backed loan provided by one of the agencies.

"Now, unlike all of you, who I'm sure paid cash for your homes, there are people out there like myself who actually have to go to a bank and get a mortgage, and this is the problem," Bachmann said, drawing some laughter in the audience. "It's almost impossible to buy a home in this country today without the federal government being involved, whether it is with the FHA, whether it's with Fannie, whether it's with Freddie."

As her husband sat beside her on the podium, Bachmann reiterated her call to dismantle federal programs that she said were "completely out of control."

Although the end of Bachmann's appearance focused on questions related to her own public and personal life, the third-term Congresswoman focused the crux of her remarks on the budget debate that continues to consume Washington, reiterating that she would not vote for any bill that raises the debt ceiling.

Though she credited Boehner for presenting what she called a "real plan before Congress," Bachmann said that she has not seen a proposal on Capitol Hill that she could support.

"All of them begin with a flawed assumption: that we must raise the debt limit -- that's the flaw," Bachmann said. "Let me be clear: I won't raise taxes, I will reduce spending, and I won't vote to raise the debt ceiling."

Bachmann was particularly critical of President Obama's leadership, accusing him of playing politics with the fate of the economy in the balance.

"The lack of a clear plan from our president to substantially reduce our debt is what's scaring the markets and our credit raters," Bachmann said. "While no one doubts our economic situation is dire, it's also clear to me the administration is attempting to get its way by using scare tactics."

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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