U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) criticized President Obama for leading a "lifestyle ... of excess" in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)
Watch Bachmann's complete CPAC speech above or at YouTube.
Bachmann, who represents Minnesota Sixth District, including St. Michael, said:
“A new book is out talking about the perks and the excess of the $1.4-billion-a-year presidency that we’re paying for. And this is a lifestyle that is one of excess. Now we find out that there are five chefs on Air Force One. There are two projectionists who operate the White House movie theater. They regularly sleep at the White House in order to be readily available in case the first family wants a really, really late show. And I don’t mean to be petty here, but can’t they just push the play button? We are also the ones who are paying for someone to walk the president’s dog, paying for someone to walk the president’s dog? Now, why are we doing that when we can’t even get a disabled veteran into the White House for a White House tour? That isn’t caring!”
"The Fact Checker" feature at the Washington Post gave Bachmann's CPAC address a rating of four Pinocchios, saying that "the money spent on the presidency and the so-called perks she describes appear to be no different for Obama than for Bush or other presidents. It’s absurd to suggest otherwise."
The Post's Fact Checker made a stab at identifying the source behind Bachmann's comments:
Bachmann appears to be citing the self-published book “Presidential Perks Gone Royal,” by Republican lobbyist Robert Keith Gray, though one wonders whether she actually read the book — which is only 131 pages — or just read a summary that appeared in the Daily Caller, since many of her points are highlighted in the Daily Caller article.
Cure for Alzheimer's
Bachmann also said big government under Obama was impeding medical advances. "We could have a cure for Alzheimer's in 10 years if we'd only put our mind to it," she said. Bachmann blamed "political malpractice," including "overzealous regulators" and "greedy litigators" for holding private industry.
WCCO-TV sought perspective from a local observer, who saw Bachmann presenting a softer side in some of her remarks:
Larry Jacobs, political science professor at the University of Minnesota, says Bachmann has re-appeared in new packaging—but what’s inside has not changed.
“We’ve got a more caring Michelle Bachmann, but selling the same conservative platform,” Jacobs said. “It looks to be very much the same sort of stick to the 2nd Amendment with no compromises, a fairly hard attack on government bureaucracy and an unrelenting challenge to President Obama for being missing in action—particularly in regards to Benghazi in Libya.”
In a WCCO-AM report Monday morning, Jacobs said conservatives are saying, "'Let's find a friendlier message and messenger.' ... She made a case that she's that person."
Bachmann's photo was not among the 48 pictures of featured speakers on CPAC's main web page.
Bachmann was played on and off the CPAC stage by One Direction's What Makes You Beautiful: "You're insecure/Don't know what for/You're turning heads/When you walk through the door."