A Michele Bachmann/Bill Clinton Smackdown

Michele Bachman seems particularly happy—now that she’s running for reelection against Bill Clinton.

The Minnesota Republican, who heads the House Tea Party Caucus, has been sending out fundraising emails to conservatives, asking them to help her “defend herself against Bill Clinton.” What’s Clinton got to do with it? In mid-September, he spoke at a Minneapolis fundraiser for state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who is challenging Bachmann. According to Bachmann, Clinton attacked her and the tea party movement by calling her “stupid.” Hitting up the right-wingers for campaign cash, she decries “the despicable Clinton attacks on my character,” and declares, “Clinton, Pelosi, Obama, and the rest of the liberal establishment are in panic mode as Tea Party candidates across the country rise up against their socialist government. We must continue to fight!”

Clinton sure did take a swipe at Bachmann at that fundraiser, but how tough was it? Journalist Joe Conason was there, and it’s his account that started the fuss. Here’s what the ex-president said, with Clark standing by him, according to Conason:

Your opponent is the ultimate example of putting ideology over evidence…I respect people with a conservative philosophy. This country has been well-served by having two broad traditions within which people can operate. If you have a philosophy, it means you’re generally inclined one way or the other but you’re open to evidence. If you have an ideology, it means everything is determined by dogma and you’re impervious to evidence. Evidence is irrelevant That’s how I see Rep. Bachmann. She’s very attractive in saying all these things she says, but it’s pretty stupid.

To parse Clinton’s words (!), he didn’t call Bachmann stupid, just the ideas she’s promoting. But that was enough for her to self-righteously portray herself as a Clinton victim–and to do so in melodramatic terms. “Bill Clinton will stop at nothing to raise money to defeat me,” she insists in one of the fundraising emails she sent out. And she claims that in the first five days of her anti-Clinton contributions-collecting effort, she bagged over $117,000 in online donations. “The liberal left loves Bill Clinton,” Bachmann maintains. And the conservative right still loves bashing him.


Here’s the first anti-Clinton email Bachmann zapped out:

Michele Bachmann for Congress


Bill Clinton has attacked me and the Tea Party Movement.

Will you help me defend myself
against these attacks?

Please make a contribution right away.


Dear Fellow Conservative,

Bill Clinton is on the attack.

This week, while hosting a fundraiser for my opponent Tarryl Clark, Bill Clinton attacked me personally. Not only did he refer to me as “stupid,” but he accused me of “putting ideology over evidence.”

I need your help to defend myself right away. This is yet another example of how the liberal Democrat establishment has put a target on my back for defeat. They’ll say and do anything. The comments from Bill Clinton have hit a new low and I must have the resources to defend myself and fight back.

Will you follow this link to make an emergency contribution of $25 or more to help me fight back against Bill Clinton’s attacks?

I am proud of my record and I refuse to be bullied into silence by Bill Clinton. Liberals across the country believe if they defeat me in November, the Tea Party movement will be eliminated. So every big name liberal is coming out of the woodwork to raise money for my opponent. Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Barack Obama, Walter Mondale, and now Bill Clinton — have all helped my opponent build up a multi-million dollar war chest to attack me and our values. I won’t back down and today, I need to know you stand with me.

Will you help me send a message to Bill Clinton that I am not going anywhere? Will you help me deliver this message loud and clear by making a contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250 or any amount up to the $2,400 limit?

Every day, we get word of a new leftist organization dumping money into my race. We just got word this morning that Big Labor is contacting voters in my district with misleading statements attacking me. They join the extreme pro-abortion group EMILY’s List, the radical environmental lobby and hosts of others who have jumped on the “attack Michele bandwagon.” Their only aim is to defeat me and squash the growing Tea Party movement.

Clinton, Pelosi, Obama and the rest of the liberal establishment are in panic mode as Tea Party candidates across the country rise up against their socialist government. We must continue to fight! Please make an immediate contribution to show these liberals we are stronger than they are and that we will not be silenced!

Your encouragement and prayers mean so much to me and I hope I can continue counting on your support.


Michele Bachmann

P.S. While hosting a fundraiser for my opponent, Bill Clinton took the opportunity to attack me personally by calling me and other Tea Party activists “stupid.” The liberal left loves Bill Clinton and I have no doubt the fundraiser raised a pretty penny for my opponent, so I need your immediate help to fight back against Bill Clinton’s attacks and the influx of cash into my opponent’s war chest. Will you help me defend myself with an immediate contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more? Please don’t sit on the sidelines and allow Clinton’s attacks to go unanswered!

Paid for by Bachmann for Congress
P.O. Box 25950 | Woodbury, MN 55125



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  • David Corn

    David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief and an on-air analyst for MSNBC. He is the co-author (with Michael Isikoff) of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Showdown, Hubris (with Isikoff), and The Lies of George W. Bush, as well as the e-book, 47 Percent: Uncovering the Romney Video that Rocked the 2012 Election. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter and Facebook.