It's Been Real

01.05.12

Thanks for the Memories, Michele! Bachmann’s Best Moments

Bachmann just quit the presidential race after a dismal Iowa showing. From her Newsweek cover to confusing John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy, see some of the highlights and lowlights of her campaign.

Michele Bachmann has officially dropped out of the presidential race after a dismal showing in the Iowa caucuses. While quitting may have been her best option, for us it means the end of all her entertaining theories—and gaffes. In honor of her exit, let’s relive some of the best moments from Bachmann’s candidacy.

Newsweek Cover

Why not just get right to it? Back in August, Newsweek got a lot of flak for choosing this photo of the presidential candidate for its cover and inadvertently creating an Internet meme. Whether or not the photo selection was fair, the concept of cutting Bachmann’s eyes from the photo and putting them on other people’s faces is undeniably hilarious, and soon there were several blogs and even an app dedicated to the gag. Saturday Night Live weighed in on the cover as well, suggesting that perhaps it was more difficult than people realized to find a picture of Bachmann not looking crazy.

Michele Bachmann

Corndogs Are Delicious

Ah, the early days of Iowa. Perhaps Bachmann’s prime. She won the Ames Straw Poll and entertained all Americans with even the slightest appreciation for dirty humor with images of her chowing down on a corndog.

Slavery Was Better for Black Children?

Bachmann landed herself in hot water when she signed “the Marriage Vow” in July. It wasn’t just the pledge’s emphasis on allowing only heterosexual couples to marry that raised eyebrows—the vow suggested that the slave era may have been a better time for black children, sparking accusations of racism. Bachmann denied any belief in this notion and insisted that it wasn’t included on the statement she signed. “I just want to make it absolutely clear, I abhor slavery,” she said. “Slavery was a terrible part of our nation’s history. It is good that we no longer have slavery. And under no circumstances would any child be better off growing up under slavery.”

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A Submissive Wife

In the male-dominated field of politics, female politicians with presidential aspirations are few and far between. But at the start of the GOP primary season, it was Michele Bachmann who was accused of being sexist. During a debate, Bachmann was questioned about her comment that wives should be “submissive.” The candidate clarified that by “submissive” she meant that she has respect for her husband. But many took issue with her explanation of submission, including The Daily Beast’s Leslie Bennetts, who wrote: “No, Congresswoman, in fact, it doesn’t. Words have specific meanings, and your definition is incorrect, just as your answer to the question was disingenuous and obfuscatory.”

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Tête-à-Tête With an 8-Year-Old

Bachmann has long spoken out against gay marriage, and here her facial expression is priceless as she reacts to an 8-year-old boy declaring, albeit quietly, that his mother “is gay and she doesn’t need fixing.”

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John Wayne Gacy Gaffe

Silly Michele. Beloved actor John Wayne wasn’t born in your hometown of Waterloo, Iowa—that was John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer. This mistake did not bode well for Bachmann’s nascent presidential campaign, nor did the op-ed her former chief of staff wrote almost immediately afterward in the Des Moines Register, deeming her “so not ready” to be president.

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God Wrought the Earthquake and Hurricane?

Bachmann has one dark sense of humor. Following some uncharacteristically extreme acts of nature last summer—a hurricane on the East Coast and an earthquake in Washington, D.C.—she became one of those people who invoke God’s wrath as an explanation for disaster or tragedy. “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians,” she told supporters. “We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here? Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet, and we’ve got to rein in the spending.'” When she was criticized for her words, Bachmann’s spokeswoman said, “Of course she was saying it in jest.”

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No to Obama’s ‘Socialized-Medicine Plan’!

Anyone who’s heard a Bachmann speech knows the woman loves to talk about Obama’s health-care reform, perhaps more than any other topic. Think Progress collected some of the most outrageous and absurd comments she’s made about the president’s “socialized-medicine plan.” She has promoted the ideas that “under Obamacare, illegal aliens don’t have to pay for Obamacare. Only American citizens pay for Obamacare” and that a 7-foot-tall doctor told her, “I had a little lady in my office, and because of Obamacare, I had to call the IRS and I had to get a number to put on a form before I could see her.” She has also recalled that when she was a little girl, “there were people who could not pay [for health care]. I mean, they just did not have money at all. And so the doctor would just write it off … It’s very different today. Now doctors don’t feel like they can do that … they worry about liability.”

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Tim Sloan, AFP / Getty Images

Skirmish With Jimmy Fallon

Following a string of incorrect statements from Bachmann on the campaign trail, Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night band, the Roots, thought it would be funny to welcome the Republican candidate to the show by playing the 1985 Fishbone song “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” when she walked onstage. While some found the dig at Bachmann’s proclivity for misinformation funny, others argued the song choice was a sexist jab, and Bachmann demanded an apology. Fallon later tweeted, “I’m honored that @michelebachmann was on our show yesterday and I’m so sorry about the intro mess. I really hope she comes back.”

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Pray the Gay Away!

Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, had a lot of explaining to do when a former patient at Marcus Bachmann’s Christian clinic revealed in The Nation that the family business was promoting ex-gay therapy. Marcus, who reportedly has been repressing some homosexuality himself, had previously publicly denied any earlier claims that his clinic encourages patients to “pray the gay away.”

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Win McNamee / Getty Images