Bachmann tells legionnaires ‘We can take our country back,’ but trips over facts

By Jon Collins
Thursday, September 01, 2011 at 11:55 am

GOP presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann shared her vision of an aggressive foreign policy, which she said would return the nation to its proper role as leader of the free world, at the annual convention of the American Legion in Minneapolis Thursday.

“There are those who want to tell us that our day as a free world’s leader has passed,” Bachmann told the legionnaires. “I don’t believe that statement, and when we conduct our foreign policy, leading from behind, I believe that weakens the United States’ credibility across the world.”

But Bachmann also made some charges that are contradicted by reports from non-partisan congressional offices, for instance, that “Obamacare” would undermine veteran health benefits and that interest payments on the national debt will grow larger than defense spending, .

Like many of the other politicians who spoke at the convention this week, including Pres. Barack Obama, Bachmann vowed to support and strengthen veterans’ medical care, which she said could be undermined by changes to doctor reimbursements and taxes on medical devices by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that will largely go into effect in 2014.

“As president I will assure that those who serve today, as well as in the past, have the highest access to the best care,” Bachmann said. “That begins, I believe, by repealing ‘Obamacare’ which I not only believe, but know, will have terrible consequences for you, our veterans.”

But contrary to Bachmann’s assertion, a 2010 study by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service found that the health care plan wouldn’t impact VA or TRICARE programs that serve veterans.

Bachmann also said that U.S. security was threatened by the growing national debt: “By 2020, the interest on repaying our debt will be larger than U.S. entire military budget—that’s sobering.”

But a June report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) showed that isn’t exactly the case.

The CBO charted two scenarios for the growth of the debt. One possible outcome features the expiration of tax cuts created by former Pres. George W. Bush in 2001, which Bachmann opposes. Under that scenario, the interest payments in 2021 would account for 3.4 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while defense spending, not counting veterans’ benefits or retirement, would account for 3.6 percent of the GDP in the same year. If the Bush tax cuts are maintained, as Bachmann supports, the portion of GDP taken up by the interest payments would rise to 4.4 percent.

Bachmann also said the country’s role as a debtor to China threatens the country militarily.

“The interest on the payments on the debt are going to the Chinese and those payments are going to build up Chinese military efforts,” she said. “The Chinese military, as you know, recently purchased their first aircraft carrier—the U.S. is now sending money to build up the Chinese military.”

China accounts for eight percent of the country’s total debt, much of which is owed to public programs like Social Security, which means the U.S. government owes the public eight times as much as it owes China.

Bachmann pointed repeatedly in the address to Great Britain, which she said was as an example of a country that was restored to its role of world leader after electing former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who pursued an aggressive foreign policy, including the Falklands War (which she inaccurately said happened in 1992, rather than 1982).

“We find ourselves today in search of another Margaret Thatcher to restore our great country to the thriving nation I believe we can be again,” Bachmann said. ”The good news is we can take our country back because the principles that make our country great lie here in this hall today.”

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Comment posted September 1, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

Vows to strengthen and support….
Maybe the vets have not forgotten this – another reason for the room being 2/3 empty for her speech.

January 2011 Army Times: Tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has unveiled a plan for cutting $400 billion in federal spending that includes freezing Veterans Affairs Department health care spending and cutting veterans’ disability benefits. Her proposed VA budget cuts would account for $4.5 billion of the savings included in the plan, posted on her official House of Representatives website.

Jeff Wilfahrt
Comment posted September 1, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

If her speech is ever transcribed the count on how many times she uses the pronoun I versus the pronoun we would be a point of curiosity and telling in so far as she is so utterly ego centric and self absorbed.

Big Hair Bad Makeup Bachmann, no time for the MN press corp today either. She is some bad juju.

Jeff Wilfahrt, Rosemount, MN

Comment posted September 1, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

Bachmann assured Veterans that Obamacare was evil, and that stopping it would savetheir universal federal health care program, which apparently she likes.

Comment posted September 1, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

What we veterans like most about Bachmann, is that she had the audacity to propose to cut the benefits of veterans as part of her plan to Balance the Budget all the while pretending to be a farmer and taking socialist farm subsidies to pad her Bank Account.

Comment posted September 1, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

She doesn’t tell us how far back she wants to take the country. She doesn’t like SS, Medicare or Medicaid, so we know that was the early 1930′s. Then she wants to take up back before Roe vs Wade and that she wants states’ rights to be supreme. She wants to get rid of EPA, FDA and FDC. A vote for Michelle Bachmann is a vote to go backward to the hinterland when the hunter-gatherers were roaming the earth.

P. Wemmler
Comment posted September 1, 2011 @ 11:31 pm

Great reporting, Jon Collins! Thank you for fact-checking the speech, rather than simply quoting it. And thanks for the links.

Comment posted September 2, 2011 @ 7:37 am

These articles scare me the most, I am ashamed that she is a representative for any part of our country, and the fact she has this much face time, is an insult to all the men and woman that have lost their lives in service.

My deepest respect and condolences to anyone that had to live through a speech of hers.

Sharon A.
Comment posted September 2, 2011 @ 8:00 am

Lady, you’re no Margaret Thatcher!

Comment posted September 2, 2011 @ 8:55 am

Golly, it sounds like MB thinks America is the Republican’s country. Oops, I guess Democrats “stole” it and got it all dirty…

The real truth is that Democrats stepped up to try to clean up the mess GW Bush left behind. (or Dick Cheney—depending on who was actually in charge from 2000-08)

Comment posted September 2, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

Do-do alert! What a shame and a disgrace to Minnesota. As seen on TV, though, very few veterans showed up to even listen to her.

Comment posted September 3, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

Welcome to the fact-free Republican Party. Democrats and intelligent people have to solve this problem: What do you do when about a quarter of the population is brainwashed into thinking only one TV channel tells the truth and the only other truth is on talk radio shows? We have to figure out a way to move on even with these misinformed people around, because there’s now a whole generation of these people.

Comment posted September 4, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

She just needs to shut up. Seriously.. Anybody that thinks she still has a ice cube’s chance in hell at becoming the president needs to do the same, shut up.

Here’s another question… Why isn’t Medicare or Medicaid freezing the funds that were provided to her idiot husband’s clinic for a proven by the governing medical groups that this “anti-gay” therapy doesn’t help. It only causes more problems.

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