Brief of the Week October 27

MATTHEWS AMBUSHES BACHMANN: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.) had a bad week but is quickly recovering. In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball” October 17, the freshman conservative discussed the importance of Barack Obama’s association with 1960s militant Bill Ayers. She was then asked by host Chris Matthews, “If you have liberal views, does that mean you have anti-American views? What’s the connection?” Bachmann began by responding, “Anti-American is the point”…. Matthews then interrupted and said, “If you’re liberal, are you anti-American?” The Minnesotan responded by saying Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright are “over the top anti-American.” For hours after the program, as Bachmann later recalled to HUMAN EVENTS Political Editor John Gizzi, Matthews repeated her remarks and “whipped the leftists into a frenzy.” Her Democratic opponent Elwyn Tinklenerg reportedly raised more than $640,000 that same evening, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a seven-figure television salvo against Bachmann, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the Minnesota Republican had “dishonored” her position with her remarks. “Chris Matthews laid a trap and I walked into it,” Bachmann told Gizzi. “He injected the phrase ‘anti-American’ and I had been saying ‘liberal.’”  Five days after Bachmann’s exchange with Matthews, there were published reports that the National Republican Congressional Committee had pulled out of Bachmann’s suddenly competitive race. NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) insisted to Gizzi, “Don’t believe everything you read.” And NRCC Communications Director Karen Hanretty sent out a memo explaining that “our battlefield is the largest we’ve ever seen” and “the NRCC is being outspent by the DCCC 4-to-1 this year.” But Michael Reagan and other radio talk show hosts still blasted Cole and the committee and urged listeners to send checks to Bachmann. By week’s end, Bachmann campaign manager Michelle Marsten told HUMAN EVENTS, “We’re getting calls from as far away as Kentucky wanting to know where to send checks.”