6/27/2011

Michele Bachmann Talks the Issues on Fox News Sunday


A transcript of the interview is available here. Wallace gave her a tough interview, but he typically gives everyone a tough interview so there was nothing wrong here. You also know that Bachmann is doing a good job when the interviewer has to concede: "and, obviously, I don't know the details nearly as well as you do about the clinic that's run by your husband . . . ."

WALLACE: All right. We're going to talk about the other candidates a little bit later.
But let me ask you about yourself. With the spotlight comes new scrutiny. The Los Angeles Times has a story out today that says for all your talk of being a fiscal hawk, that, in fact, you have gone after federal and government -- excuse me, state government money over the years, both personally and professionally. And let's it up on the screen.
A counseling clinic -- excuse me -- run by your husband got almost $30,000 in state federal funds. A farm, in which you are a partner, got almost $260,000 in federal subsidies. And over the years, you sought more than $60 million in the state earmarks and more than $3.7 million in federal earmarks.
Question -- that's a fiscal hawk?
BACHMANN: Well, let's go through them. First of all, the money that went to the clinic was actually training money for employees. The clinic did not get the money. And my husband and I did not get the money either. That's mental health training money that went to employees.
Number two, regarding the farm, the farm is my father-in-law's farm. It's not my husband and my farm. It's my father-in-law's farm. And my husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm.
Regarding the earmarks, I believe the right place to build projects is in the states and the states have to build roads and bridges. And I don't apologize for building roads and bridges.
WALLACE: So, you're pro-earmark?
BACHMANN: No. During my first year -- during my first term in Congress, I signed a pledge that I will take no more earmarks and I've been faithful to that pledge.
WALLACE: In terms of the money -- and, obviously, I don't know the details nearly as well as you do about the clinic that's run by your husband. If you say money is going to employees, that -- I mean, if he runs the clinic, that would seem to be benefiting you guys.
BACHMANN: This --
WALLACE: And to the degree that you are a partner in a farm, federal subsidiaries would seem to benefit the farm.
BACHMANN: Actually, it did not. It actually took away from the clinic, because these were training hours where employees were not able to bring more income in. This is one-time training money that came in from the federal government. And it certainly didn't help our clinic. It was something that was additional training to help employees. . .
.

Let me add to this point. If this training money makes workers more productive, they are going to get higher wages. Taking away workers time from work, hurts her husband's business. It is hard to see how his business captures the costs of this training. All that seems pretty straightforward, but evidently, some Democrats, such as MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, think that providing training to employees is the same as giving the money to the company.

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