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bachmann ambition overdrive

Michele Bachmann Beats the Press

Bachmann.

After the release of a Daily Caller story this morning revealing that Michele Bachmann is allegedly incapacitated by crippling migraine headaches about once a week, the candidate herself sought to downplay the seriousness of her ailment with a statement (one that fails to address most of the story's details):


Like nearly 30 million other Americans, I experience migraines that are easily controlled with medication. I am a wife, a mother, a lawyer who worked her way through law school, a former state senator who achieved the repeal of a harmful piece of education policy in Minnesota, and a congresswoman who has worked tirelessly fighting against the expansion of government and wasteful spending. Since entering the campaign, I have maintained a full schedule between my duties as a congresswoman and as a presidential candidate traveling across the nation to meet with voters in the key, early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. I have prescribed medication that I take whenever symptoms arise and they keep the migraines under control. Let me be abundantly clear - my ability to function effectively has never been impeded by migraines and will not affect my ability to serve as Commander in Chief.

The many questions I have received on this subject have allowed me to discuss this important condition that impacts individuals in nearly one in four households. However, as a presidential candidate and office holder, I am focused on performing my job, which has never been more important given the state of our economy and the millions of Americans that are out of work. While I appreciate the concern for me and my health, the greater concern should be the debate that is occurring in Washington over whether or not we will increase our debt, spending and taxes.

But if Bachmann is happy for the opportunity to discuss her condition, she has an odd way of showing it. After giving a speech at a rally in South Carolina earlier today, she repeatedly ignored the migraine-related questions lobbed at her by ABC News reporter Brian Ross, and her aides even roughed up Ross a bit when he became too much of a pest, according to Time's Michael Crowley, who witnessed the incident:

Ross dashed after Bachmann, repeatedly asking whether she had ever missed a House vote due to a migraine. She ignored him. Ross pursued her into a parking area behind the stage. Her aides grew alarmed. When Ross made a beeline for the white SUV waiting to carry Bachmann away, two Bachmann men pounced on him, grabbing and pushing him multiple times with what looked to me like unusual force. In fact, I have never seen a reporter treated so roughly at a campaign event, especially not a presidential one. Ross was finally able to break away and lob his question at Bachmann one more time, but she continued to ignore him.

Afterward, I asked Ross — a hard-nosed pro who nevertheless seemed slightly shaken — whether he had ever been treated so roughly. “A few times,” he told me. “Mostly by mafia people.”

What qualifies as "unusual force" is in the eye of the beholder, and it's not always easy to gauge in the heat of the moment. An ABC News executive tells Greg Sargent that video of the confrontation exists, and he's "sure it will find its way onto our web site at some point." If it's as bad as Crowley alleges, Bachmann's muscle didn't do her any favors.

Physically threatening or assaulting journalists, even if they're being a nuisance, is never a good idea. (Just ask Joe Miller or Carl Paladino). It makes a candidate appear easily rattled, erratic, desperate to avoid scrutiny, and disdainful of freedom of the press. It also creates bad blood with the rest of the press corps, which, excuse the wordplay, can be a major headache for any candidate.

Reporter Accosted After Bachmann Comments on Migraines [Swampland/Time]
Michele Bachmann’s handlers rough up reporter [Plum Line/WP]

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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images