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After Chris Matthews' furor, Bachmann turns on overdrive while NRCC backs down.

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HUMAN EVENTS Exclusive: Bachmann Under Fire

After Chris Matthews’ furor, Bachmann turns on overdrive while NRCC backs down.

Four days after her controversial appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews and the resultant furor over her use of the word “anti-American” while discussing Barack Obama, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.) is a woman targeted, hunted, and under fire.

Late last night, there were mounting reports that the National Republican Congressional Committee had pulled out of freshman lawmaker Bachmann’s re-election effort against Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg. Bachmann’s campaign manager Michelle Marsten confirmed this.

A spokeswoman for NRCC Chairman and Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole said that he would get back to me “as soon as possible.”

“Typhoid Mary”

“Within twenty-four hours of my appearance on that show and my use of the word ‘anti-American’ that Chris Matthews had injected into the interview when we discussed Barack Obama, my opponent probably raised $2 million,” Bachmann told me on the day after the program between campaign appearances, “and I became ‘Typhoid Mary.’”

“I made a mistake going on Chris Matthews’ show,” the freshman lawmaker ruefully added.

Appearing on “Hardball” last Friday evening, Bachmann was discussing the importance of Obama’s association with 1960s Weather Underground leader Bill Ayres and why Obama, Joe Biden, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would constitute what she dubbed “a troika of the most leftist Administration in the history of our country.”

“If you have liberal views,” host Matthews asked, “does that mean you have anti-American views? What’s the connection? I don’t get the connection. What’s the connection between liberal and leftist and anti-American?

Bachmann began to respond that “Anti-American is the point, because –“

But Matthews cut her off and injected the phrase once again, saying “I mean, if you’re liberal, are you anti-American?”

“Well, the liberals that are Jeremiah Wright and that are Bill Ayers, they’re over-the-top anti-American.,” replied the Minnesota lawmaker, “And that’s the question that Americans have. Remember, it was Michelle Obama who said she’s only recently proud of her country. And so these are very anti-American views.”

“Okay,” said Matthews.

“Okay” indeed. Within hours of Bachmann’s exchange with Matthews — which the “Hardball” host repeated throughout the evening on MSNBC — Democrat Tinklenberg raised more than $640,000 and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee took another look at the race in Minnesota’s 6th District (which George W. Bush carried with 57 percent of the vote in ’04).

According to the Washingtonpost.com’s Politics blog, the DCCC began a TV salvo slamming Bachmann for her stand against regulation of the financial industry — “the leading edge of a seven-figure television buy that runs through election day.”

In campaigning for the suddenly competitive Tinklenberg, Speaker Pelosi — with whom Bachmann has clashed over her intent to revive the anti-talk radio “Fairness Doctrine” — said that the Minnesotan had “dishonored” her position as a Member of Congress.

And, as editorials in the media begin likening Bachmann to the late anti-Communist Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R.-Wisc.) and even suggesting she had called for investigations into alleged “anti-Americans,” her own party’s campaign arm put out the word they were pulling out of her suddenly lively re-election effort.

“Chris Matthews laid a trap and I walked into it,” the congresswoman told me, “He injected the phrase ‘anti-American’ and I had been saying ‘liberal.’ If I had simply said ‘radical’ or ‘leftist’ or ‘liberal’ again, it would have been fine. Finally, I said ‘anti-American’ in response to him — and I reget it. But he blew it out of proportion and the liberal media whipped their constituency into a frenzy.”

In voicing regret for her choice of the word Matthews had brought up, Bachmann also warned that “This is how they get conservatives to shut up — by making examples out of outspoken conservatives like me. Because of a poor choice of words that I repeated from someone else, the radical left is trying to offer me up on the cross of political correctness.”

Bachmann spoke to me before the NRCC said “You’re on your own.” And she was prophetic when she warned: “I am going to be destroyed in two weeks.” But then she added a note of hope: “But I won’t be destroyed if my conservative friends rise to the occasion.”

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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