June 27, 2011

Chris Wallace throws a softball question at Michelle Bachmann, then is bullied into apologizing...

... and Bachmann won't even accept the apology!

When did people become so humorless? Wallace — who seems like a sweetheart — asked "Are you a flake?" Obviously, he was saying, in a cute and pithy way A lot of people would like to portray you as some kind of flake: What do you have to say to them?

It was an easy set up for her to attack those people who say things like that. Why pillory Wallace?

Here's the video of him apologizing. Bachmann's response (at the link above) was: "I think that it's insulting to insinuate that a candidate for president is less than serious." Is it insulting to insinuate that a candidate for President is too serious. Lighten up, Michelle.

UPDATE: Bachmann later accepts the apology, explaining that initially she had not heard from him personally. There was just that video. Later, he called and she was "happy to accept" the apology.

147 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

A little self depreciation can go a long way Michelle.

BTW that is good advice for Michelle Obama too.

pbAndj said...

He should have called her a bitch. And he should have threatened to destroy her.

The cons would support that.

But, "flake" is too much.

madAsHell said...

I dunno...we've got a less than serious President in the White House right now!!

Of course, I've never understood the motivation to become President.

Erik said...

It was a ridiculous question, and he should have known better than to ask it. Could she have been more gracious? Sure, but this idea that he was being "cute and pithy" is a bit rich. It was an insulting question.

Robert Cook said...

Ms. Bachman's response reveals that she is, indeed, a flake.

Scott M said...

I don't know much about her yet other than she handed Tingles his ass on election night last year during a live interview.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

She's right to be offended. The left and their friends in the main stream media's thing is to make conservative candidates look stupid. Case in point is Sarah Palin.

MarkG said...

Bachmann might be wise to not take ANY shit from any journo. Then they might think twice about giving her any unless they can back it up.

The Drill SGT said...

Would a reporter ask O'bama in a one-on-one interview if he was a "flake" who believed that there were 57 states, or that surgeons cut off healthy legs to boost profits, or that he gave his first non-posthumous MOH to the dead man's family?

Sheepman said...

Mike Wallace wouldn't grovel like that.

george said...

I am just waiting for the analogous question to Obama, "Are you an idiot?"

Meade said...

Michelle Obachma.

SGT Ted said...

It's because they never asked any of these questions of teleprompter jesus. The condenscention act from the Democrat Party Press has gotten old, Althouse.

Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
richard mcenroe said...

"Mitt Romney, are you a flake?
Tim Pawlenty, are you a flake?
Newt Gingrich, are you a flake?
Ron Paul, are you a flake?"

I'll take "Questions Chris Wallace Never Asked" for $100, Alex.

Bachmann and her defenders had a point and you're not addressing it, Ann.

Scott M said...

The condenscention act from the Democrat Party Press has gotten old

Didn't Michelle Obama, in between courses of fries and fat cakes, quip that she's thankful for a friendly press?

Scott M said...

Newt Gingrich, are you a flake?

Has Wallace even interviewed Newt since his candidacy went all Titanic? My choice for question would be..."So, how badly is your wife ruining your run for president?"

Michael said...

She reacted appropriately. No Republican woman, especially an attractive one, is going to be taken seriously. By being aggressive with Wallace she made it clear to the left leaning media that she isnt going to get pushed.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

She can't accept his apology because that 2 second soundbite, "are you a flake?", uttered by a nationally recognized objective interviewer, is perfect for her opponents commercials as the primaries get rolling. And if she somehow manages to get the nomination, it will be used by Obama as the campaign for the general election gets underway.

Wallace very well may have torpedoed her candidacy before she officially announced it. Why should she forgive him?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I'm not really a Bachmann fan anyway (legislators should not rise directly to the presidency, IMO), but I really was surprised at how badly she did in that interview, particularly coming off of her powerful performance in the debate. She answered several questions, particularly one about taking federal money for training at a clinic that she and her husband run, in a very dodgy and bordering-on dishonest way.

That said, I have a very hard time imagining anyone asking a male candidate if he is a "flake". Mr. Wallace could definitely have handled that one better.

- Lyssa

Real American said...

"President Obama: Are you destroying our country?"

traditionalguy said...

Bachmann may be ultra sensitive to being thrown under the GOP bus after seeing the way Fox News had its respected political guru Karl Rove attack Palin for not appearing Presidential. The Good old Boys still demand as a default position that all women continue in their assigned roles as the Washington Generals to the men's role as the GOP's Globe Trotters. Bachmann is right, and her saying so makes her look like a woman. Gotcha!

Scott M said...

"President Obama: Are you destroying our country?"

Actually it should be:

"President Obama: how worried are you that Mick will keep you off the ballot in all 50 states with his super-secret plan?"

foxtrot said...

This is the typical bullshit of the media.

Idiots like Katie Couric get away with asking Obama stupid questions like, "What's your favorite ice cream flavor?" instead of "How qualified are you to be the president of the US?"

But if it were Palin or Bachmann, all questions would be directed to implying that they are nimrods. Bill Maher can get away with calling Palin a "twat", a term that should enrage feminists but doesn't because she isn't a liberal.

jvermeer51 said...

The left deals with those not like themselves by denigrating their intelligence. Review their treatment of Palin, Bush II, Bush I, Quayle, Reagan, Ford, Agnew, Goldwater. Even Eisenhower, the allied commander in the last war the left wanted the US to win, was mocked. So when the son of a veteran media leftist asks an insulting question, he got the appropriate response. Gore and Obama have all made stupid comments but for the establishment media they all go down the memory hole.

Rialby said...

I'll give a million dollars to the first reporter who asks Obama, "Have you stopped snorting cocaine?"

Bzod said...

I guess I could have been more wrong on my guess to Ann's reaction to the Michelle B question, but it may take a while for me to figure out how.

If "Are you a flake?" qualifies as cute and pithy, then full speed ahead for Palinization Part Deux.

Thorley Winston said...

I suppose asking someone “are you a flake?” is a “softball question” in the same way that “have you stopped beating your wife?” is a “softball question.”

Big Mike said...

@Rialby, I'd settle for "has your wife stopped beating you yet"?

Rialby said...

The correct way to phrase the question would have been - "what do you say to your critics who say that you're a flake?" THAT is a softball.

To ask the question that way is as good as writing a check to the DNC. I love Chris Wallace but believe that was wholly unfair.

rhhardin said...

Q What do Michelle Bachman and radical feminists have in common?

A That's not funny!

rdkraus said...

It's the old nuts and sluts routine. They can't show she's a slut, so it's all out on what a "nut" she is. This crap was all over the left and the media as soon as she appeared in the debate.

Did Wallace ask Hillary if she was a flake?

rhhardin said...

Michelle Bachman is the old women who lived in a shoe.

Paul Zrimsek said...

It's like Niwdog's Law: The first person in a debate who compares his opponent to a Nazi loses automatically... for being such an egregious suck-up.

traditionalguy said...

That Bachmann has a nerve to complain. If she wants respect, than she should get a sex change operation. Whats up with this flake who expects a respect that she was neither born into nor surgically altered into? She can start by changing her first name to Michael...that last name is OK.

Phil 3:14 said...

Minnesota candidates searching for their Goldilocks moment.

First Pawlenty goes all soft in the debate when asked about Obamneycare

Now Bachmann goes all hard and indignant with the "flake" question.

Next time should be the sweet spot.

OTOH Wallace is on a roll. Last week he pissed off Stewart by suggesting he was a racist; this week its Bachmann.

Pogo said...

"Are you sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come?"

Phil 3:14 said...

Do those on this blog who suggest Wallace is a typical left journalist realize they are confirming Stewart's accusation about Fox and Wallace?

MadisonMan said...

Clinton and Bush were great at self-deprecating humor. Obama, not so much. Bachmann? Doesn't appear so.

Paddy O said...

This might be where she lost me.

One of the key traits, I think, in a good public leader is the ability to make good answers to odd questions, to turn insults around, and to otherwise have enough confidence to not need reporters to bolster an ego.

A ego in need of confidence boosts is going to make very wrong moves in order to get that. Obama has the same problem. It doesn't look to ego stroking or for apologies, because what is a reporter to the President of the United States? Indeed for her to get so touchy with a presumably positive reporter, or at least gracious, is a bad sign. World leaders will say insulting things and won't apologize. What will Michelle B do to assuage her ego's wounds? Pursuing the presidency with a weak sense of identity is a very bad sign.

Sarah Palin, for whatever other problems she may have, is a master at not letting the media define or dissuade her. She has a strong confidence in her own identity.

Pogo said...

"confirming Stewart's accusation about Fox and Wallace"

Boy, I'll bet it's really really hard to guess what that is.

Phil 3:14 said...

And I'd say all in all (and setting aside outlets such as MSNBC) I think Bachmann's gotten decent press and done well. So far I'm much more impressed with her than Palin.

But don't take my word for it, I'm just a RINO

Skipper50 said...

Picture any Sunday morning hack asking Obama how he responds to people calling him and empty suit.

Scott M said...

Picture any Sunday morning hack asking Obama how he responds to people calling him and empty suit.

It would have to be someone getting ready to retire anyway.

Hagar said...

That was just Bachmann not wanting to get suckered into giving this kerfuffle more airtime on ABC; she already gave her response to Wallace when he asked the question, and she reasonably enough wants it to die there.

AllenS said...

She should have gotten up, and slapped his face. "Do I look like a flake, motherfucker?"

Paddy O said...

"Are you a flake?" is a total softball question.

If that's the chosen narrative being established for Bachmann, then that question was a grand time for her to respond strongly and forcefully to it.

"Are you a flake?" "Of course not, Chris. Here's why...."
"I see..."
"Let me finish, I know this is what opponents are saying about me, but the fact is that this kind of false labeling is an attempt to avoid the serious questions that I'm asking and the serious answers that I have to give. They want to dismiss me not listen. They want to call me names and put labels on me when I don't have a chance to respond, hoping to define me. I won't let them and I thank you for giving me a chance to respond to what they're too afraid to say to my face."

Or something like that. She could have hit a homerun. My suspicion now is that she is a flake, is worried that she comes off as a flake, and so gets very defensive when someone voices her own insecurities. The presidency is something she's pursuing to give some sense of accomplishment to her insecurities, sort of like a political Madonna, putting on the show driven by a lack of confidence that is expressed with forceful extroversion rather than depression.

That's my impression at least.

Martha said...

Chris Matthews interviewed Bachmann on MSNBC live election night. Matthrews kept asking Bachmann if she were in a trance.

No male candidate has ever been treated with such condescension and ridicule. No wonder Bachmann reacted the way she did when Chris Wallace appeared to be piling on with his FLAKE question.

Matthew said...

Considering that the political destruction of Sarah Palin began with the mem that she was a doofus, I can see why Michele Bachmann might be a little sensitive about that accusation.

After all, even with a track record, Hillary Clinton is still believed in some brain-damaged circles to be the 'Smartest Woman in the World' who somehow didn't know her horndog husband was (allegedly) raping his way through the phone book, and lost a primary to a blank slate with a mostly-inflated bio.

Conservative women get treated differently by the media in this regard, so let's not be surprised if she gets defensive when the subject is even implied.

Michele Bachmann is a light bulb of intellect, whereas Hillary Clinton is merely a pale shadow. Just don't expect anyone in the media to give her credit for it.

Scott M said...

Chris Matthews interviewed Bachmann on MSNBC live election night. Matthrews kept asking Bachmann if she were in a trance.

Yes, but Matthews was the one sputtering at the end of that interview. It was quite fun.

David Smith said...

Up to now I kinda liked her candidacy.

Not too late to redeem herself, but she'd probably be well advised to do it soon and on Fox News...maybe with Bill.

Hagar said...

And though Chris Wallace is intelligent and a quite decent guy and all that, he is still his father's son, a Manhattan/Long Island upper crust "silk stocking liberal," and as perplexed when he encounters a real conservative as when he runs into a hard left "labor" liberal.

victoria said...

I'm telling you, all we have to do is wait for a while for the crazy to come out. She is full of crazy.


Vicki from Pasadena

David said...

Michelle saw how well making nice with the media worked for Palin.

Trochilus said...

Spot on, Ann!

"I think that it's insulting to insinuate that a candidate for president is less than serious."

Tetchy much, Michelle? A real lost opportunity for her to display, how shall I say . . . a joie de vivre for the give and take of politics.

And by doing so, it seems to me she has given herself additional exposure on the Ed Rollins incidents!

After all, didn't he once strongly imply, as quoted in Mother Jones, that she (Michelle Bachmann) was not a serious candidate?

"Michele Bachmann obviously is a member of Congress and a representative of the tea party," Rollins told CNN viewers. "But at the end of the day, we have to get our serious players out front and talking about the things that matter to be the alternative to the president and Democrats."

And, wasn't that exactly what Rollins also said about Sarah Palin recently? Yep. Among several other disparaging comments, that's precisely what he said!

"Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years," Rollins said.

From now on, if Bachmann or anyone speaking on her behalf, criticizes any other candidate for President for being in any way "less than serious," this post-apology snit of hers about Chris will come back to haunt her.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Vicki from Pas wrote: I'm telling you, all we have to do is wait for a while for the crazy to come out. She is full of crazy.


You know, you and other libs have been telling me that for years. I've yet to see a single bit of evidence for it.

Forgive me if I think that liberals have a tendancy to mistake "has a vagina" for "crazy".

- Lyssa (not a Bachmann fan, but still a defender against the liberal misogynists of the world)

bagoh20 said...

I don't think he was bullied into apologizing, he was embarrassed.

This proves that he's a righty because a lefty can't be embarrassed.

G Joubert said...

She handled it perfectly.

Marta said...

I wouldn't accept any of their apologies either. They are all her enemies because she dares to exist and to express her opinion.

Screw them.

bagoh20 said...

There are some candidates who can get away with nearly anything and others who can't even hint at a mistake.

It appears to me that the difference is simply whether or not the gaff lines up with the liberal caricature of them. For some reason the conservative caricatures never have the same pull.

If the left says someone is crazy or stupid, then anything that can be construed that way sticks pretty well.

I think it's related to the liberal tendency to focus on style and appearances, and everyone's preference to take that lazy path with them.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Better comeback.

Wallace: "Are you a flake?"

Bachman: "Define flake."

It was an insulting question and quite rude. Bachman did get in some information about her background, education, legal qualifications etc. While I don't especially care for her stance on the "social issues" of abortion and marriage, she is far from being a flake.

Pastafarian said...

Althouse, 2008: Oh noes! Palin is teh stooopid!

Althouse 2012 (should she be nominated): Oh noes! Bachman is teh crazy!

What do we conclude at that point, and about whom do we conclude it?

Korie said...

Brings to mind a quote from one of my favorite movies, Stripes - "Lighten up Francis."

Pogo said...

It was a stupid question, and a stupid answer.

Criminey.

Is there any reason to watch or read the MSM anymore?

Are there no confident non-personality disordered adults available to run for office?

Scott M said...

What do we conclude at that point, and about whom do we conclude it?

That you have a problem both with spelling and grammar?

Fen said...

Bullshit. Wallace would never ask a man that question.

Fen said...

I don't think he was bullied into apologizing, he was embarrassed.

They had like 2000 complaints on their website. Its not that it was innane, its the sexist double standard.

Get back to me when someone in the media asks Obama: "Are you a fraud?"

Jim said...

Her being offended is beside the point. She is, indeed, a flake. Anyone who says that the census is unconstitutional has not read the Constitution and is a flake not to be taken seriously. End of story.

Shouting Thomas said...

Ms. Bachman's response reveals that she is, indeed, a flake.

Kookie calls another person a flake!

Kookie, you are a never ending source of... Jesus, I don't know what!

Self-awareness is not possible for you, is it?

How long do you intend to wallow in this extended adolescence thing?

kk said...

The correct answer was:

"No, Chris, are you?"

And then when he blusters a little bit, finish him off with:

"Sorry to catch you off guard, I know it's not the kind of question one normally asks a man."

traditionalguy said...

The issue setter is in control of the outcome. Wallace set the issue on Bachmann: Flake Vel Non? Bachman expertly reset the issue as: Asshole Vel Non? The subject of an accusation has the burden of proof that they are not a Flake. What woman can successfully prove a negative when listeners already think it is true. Gotcha. Ergo, Wallace is an Asshole.

Old Dad said...

I don't think Wallace intended mischief, but he didn't quite pull the question off. And Bachmann didn't quite hit the right note with her answer either. Wallace looked to be a bit of a prick, and Bachmann looked a bit prickly.

Very few pols have the touch. Reagan did. Recall his hilarious answer to a question about his age--he refused to let Mondale's youth and inexperience become an issue in the campaign. It brought the house down.

Christopher in MA said...

"Are you a flake?"

"I'll answer that question when you show me the video of you asking Biden if remembering FDR going on television after the 1929 stock market crash meant he was becoming a drooling, diaper-soiling slopehead."

Oh, and Lyssa - I already went through this with Garage. "Crazy," to people like Vicki, means that Bachmann doesn't sandblast her womb and jam scissors into the skull of anything unlucky enough to survive.

Scott M said...

Anyone who says that the census is unconstitutional has not read the Constitution and is a flake not to be taken seriously. End of story.

No, that's just makes them factually incorrect. Believe me. My inlaws are flakes. I know flakes. Flakiness can manifest itself in many ways, but the common thread tends toward wishy-washiness or by being unreliable.

Shouting Thomas said...

And, Bachmann seems to have won the battle.

So, she did the right thing.

Perhaps, Althouse, you missed the horrific Mike Taibbi Rolling Stone hit piece on her last week.

Bachmann, you see, is probably insane, because she's a Christian and has traditional moral beliefs.

I think Bachmann's tactic of responding with a sledge hammer will prove very effective.

edutcher said...

Agree with Allen, she should have smacked him. Nothing to do with a sense of humor. And Mrs Bachmann knows this is the opening gun in the campaign to destroy her.

It's the same kind of cheap-shot question in which his father specialized, especially in the creatively-edited "60 Minutes".

Sample questions Wallace could ask others:

Mr Obama, are you actively trying to destroy this country?

Mr Biden, are you really a moron?

Mrs Clinton, are you really as incompetent as your record appears?

Mr Holder, are you a racist or just incredibly corrupt?

edutcher said...

One more:

Mr Geithner, are you really Goldman Sachs' bitch?

ricpic said...

"Are you a flake, President Obama?" is a question the oh so nice (but gutless) Chris Wallace will never ask.

kk said...

It's really a pity that neither Palin or Bachmann have fully mastered the Southern woman's art of smiling sweetly and, in dulcet tones, telling you to go fuck yourself.

It would be useful.

Phil 3:14 said...

Pogo said;
Boy, I'll bet it's really really hard to guess what that is.

I'll assume that means you didn't see the interview. Essentially, he felt Wallace was their to justify/balance Fox's obvious bias and agenda. In other words, he suggested Wallace was unbiased or ? left of center.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...Her being offended is beside the point. She is, indeed, a flake..."

Says the guy in a red afro with horns.

Pogo said...

"I'll assume that means you didn't see the interview."

Good guess. I last saw John Stewart about, what, 6 years ago.

He still holds the left's imagination, but his combination of court jester and newscaster doesn't do much for me.

AllenS said...

Very few people have tact. That's the ability to tell someone to go to hell and then have that person look forward to going on the trip.

AllenS said...

Move the italics to the right by one word.

Phil 3:14 said...

OK I watched the key parts of the interview and Wallace's apology. My impressions now:
-Bachmann answered well.
-Wallace's initial "flake" question, while poorly worded, was ok
- When he came back with a follow up and still used the word "flake" he messed up.
-In follow up he missed an opportunity to ask "Do you feel the statements about your character are aimed at you as a Republican candidate, at you as a female Republican candidate, at you as a Christian conservative Republican candidate or all of the above?" That would have been interesting to see how she answered it.
-I haven't seen or read Rep. Bachmann's repudiation of the Wallace apology but on the surface I wonder if its a useful tactic to appeal to the base (not that she needs much help in that vein) or if she's truly upset.

rhhardin said...

Limbaugh today is being guest-hosted by Mr. Rogers, talking to us kids.

Apparently it's to be about the wonderful Michelle Bachman.

grackle said...

Asking a candidate for POTUS if they are a flake is definately NOT in the softball category. I'm puzzled that our hostess does not realize this simple fact. Wallace certainly did.

Perhaps Bachmann has learned from Palin's example that passivity is best put aside when the media's concerned. Insults by prominent media have to be responded to or the insult becomes the "truth."

commoncents said...

THANK YOU for posting this. I'm glad I found your blog!!

Steve
Common Cents
http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

Phil 3:14 said...

OK, now I read the linked Politico article:

When Karl asked if she accepts the apology, Bachmann brushed aside the question this way: "I think that it's insulting to insinuate that a candidate for president is less than serious."

Trying the question again, Bachmann replied, "Those are the small issues. I'm focused on the big ones."


I assume she's still a bit testy about the whole thing but I have to admit that answer is perfectly consistent with her answer to Wallace. Then she stated such a word would be "insulting" and then proceeded to list her bona fides. And thereafter set it aside to talk about more important topics. So all in all I'd give Rep. Bachmann a B+/A- in this little test.

Chip S. said...

Jim said:

Anyone who says that the census is unconstitutional has not read the Constitution and is a flake not to be taken seriously.

To which I would say that anyone who says that Bachmann called the census unconstitutional has not read what she actually said:

“I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home,” she said. “We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.”

Now here's what the Constitution says about the census (Article I, section 2):

The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.

The purpose of the census was clearly to determine the number of Representatives from each state, which requires nothing more than a head count.

No doubt the expansion of the census into a social-science survey is justified on the basis of the phrase "in such Manner as they shall by Law direct," so that the census as we know it is not in violation of the Constitution. But that is not what Bachmann said, and what she said seems entirely accurate.

Now, it is perfectly reasonable to question the wisdom of not filling out a census form fully, particularly in light of the possibility (however remote) of being fined. But that is not the same thing as saying that Bachmann "has not read the Constitution."

Shall I call you a flake, Jim? Or perhaps a liar? I think the evidence supports neither, so it would be unfair to accuse you of anything but carelessness. Are you willing to extend the same presumption to Bachmann and others with whom you disagree?

Peter Hoh said...

Bring on the popcorn.

Fen said...

Anyone who says that ____ is unconstitutional has not read the Constitution and is a flake not to be taken seriously. End of story.

But then we wouldn't have any libtards to torture.

cubanbob said...

She should of said no Chris I am not a flake unlike the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and by the way are you a flake?

Jim said...

I agree with the commenters who point out that this was a "When did you stop beating your wife" question.

Just look at the responses here who supposedly supported Bachmann but now disingenuously claim to no longer do so because of her answer. The truth is that they would have criticized no matter what her response was.

If she had laughed it off, they would have criticized her for not pushing back against the insinuation. If she pushes back against the insinuation, then she doesn't have a sense of humor.

The very definition of "damned if you do, damned if you don't."

I believe this was a flat out sexist question. It would NEVER EVER NEVER have been asked of a male candidate.

Even as much as the media hates/d George Bush, I don't ever recall him flat out being asked if he was an idiot/stupid/whatever. Even by those who clearly hated him and thought him a fool.

Bachmann shouldn't accept his apology. He was so far out-of-bounds with the question that there is no walking it back. And I say that as someone who generally likes Wallace and his tough interview style.

He apologized because he says the question was more memorable than the answer. What he SHOULD have apologized for was slipping into a sexist characterization of a female candidate that he never would have posed to a male.

Jim said...

BTW - the last post was the "real" Jim, not imposter Jim who has shown up relatively recently

AllenS said...

then is bullied into apologizing..." -- Althouse

"A lot of you were more than perturbed, you were upset and felt that I had been rude to her. And since in the end it's really all about the answers and not about the questions. I messed up. I'm sorry. I didn't mean any disrespect." -- Wallace

ken in sc said...

Some of the questions on the census, especially the long form community survey, go beyond the constitutional mandate and authorization for the census. Bachmann was right to point that out. Don't buy into these oversimplified smears.

JAL said...

Obviously, he was saying, in a cute and pithy way

You're kidding, right?

Insert Hillary.

Insert Michelle Obama (about her dietary overkill).

Insert ...

Richard said...

Why pillory Wallace?

Because he's suppose to be a professional? Hell, anyone turn opponents' templates into questions.

Crunchy Frog said...

I'm surprised nobody has noticed the obvious "I am not a crook" Nixon parallel here. This was a trap question, designed to give the DNC soundbite ammunition to pummel her with. She was absolutely correct to bitchslap Wallace for asking it.

wv: bonissne - for female enhancement

Apfelkuchen said...

It could be worse, he could've grabbed her around the neck and then say later she attacked him with her steely blue eyes.

Original Mike said...

I watched the interview, and Bachmann did quite well. Wallace, OTOH, I am starting to respect less (though he's still better than anyone else out there). Both in this interview, and the one he did with Pawlenty a week or two ago, the interviewee gave a perfectly respectable answer to a question, but Wallace didn't really listen to the answer and kept at what he seemed to think was a gottcha moment. (with Bachmann it was the question re: gay marriage).

I also was a bit taken aback by Wallace's "flake question". Wallace was trying to be cute, but came off as rude. Having said that, I agree with those who suggest Bachmann "lighten up." Not accepting Wallace's apology doesn't reflect well on her.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Having said that, I agree with those who suggest Bachmann "lighten up." Not accepting Wallace's apology doesn't reflect well on her.


You are not obligated to accept an apology, especially one that was coerced.

Just saying you are sorry when you really are only sorry you got caught is not an apology.

When I don't want to forgive, I just say thank you for apologizing and leave it at that. That isn't acceptance....it is acknowledgement.

You apologized. I heard it. I don't believe you. I don't forgive or forget.

Original Mike said...

@DBQ: Magnanimity is a good quality in a President.

Shanna said...

Are you a flake?" is a total softball question.

I’m of two minds on this. This is one of those questions that can be a total softball question if you answer correctly (kind of like “what papers do you read”), but is also insulting on its face. She should have laughed it off and said of course not and here is why…

But just because a question should never be asked doesn’t mean you can’t boff it.

She should accept his apology though.

Christopher in MA said...

"Magnanimity is a good quality in a president."

Fat lot of good it did Dubya, Mike. These days I subscribe to the "punch back twice as hard" school of Little Black Jesus.

Shanna said...

It's really a pity that neither Palin or Bachmann have fully mastered the Southern woman's art of smiling sweetly and, in dulcet tones, telling you to go fuck yourself. It would be useful.

This!

Perhaps the correct answer was "Bless your heart".

Trochilus said...

Jim at 6/27/11 11:57 AM

. . .
"If she had laughed it off, they would have criticized her for not pushing back against the insinuation. If she pushes back against the insinuation, then she doesn't have a sense of humor."
. . . .


Really!?? And you know this . . . how? I can't presume to speak for others, but as for myself < 6/27/11 10:03 AM>, I know that I would have respected her political acumen if she had demonstrated the good sense, and the confidence, to laugh it off, particularly once Chris apologized.

Her response (the bit about questioning her "seriousness") was very revealing.

The fact that she had allowed (or induced) Ed Rollins to get away with saying the exact same thing, and more, about Sarah Palin, strongly suggests there was a the disingenuous aspect to her response.

Once she had an opportunity to think about it -- she wasn't just firing back at him in the course of the interview -- she should have made a joke about it and moved on.

In 2009 when Democrats in NJ started repeatedly making "fat" jokes about Chris Christie back during the gubernatorial campaign, he sought out an opportunity to make fat jokes about himself with Don Imus in the late stages of the campaign, and that was a significant contributory factor to securing his victory. "I'm pretty fat!" he told Imus. And he also predicted, he was going to be a "big, fat winner on election day." The voters loved it.

Bachmann missed a golden opportunity to neutralize the "buzz" about her, and instead showed herself to be rather tetchy and unforgiving to boot . . . neither one of which are good things for a politician.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I get the impression Wallace was put up to this 'softball' question.

That Mrs. Bachmann was initially insulted isn't really surprising. I'm sure she wasn't clued in on this particular question before the interview. Preparation is key.

Her reaction is understandable. I do not recall candidate Obama being asked this type of question. Of course, Mrs. Bachmann is white and doesn't get the same PC waiver Obama did.

An apology and a genuine 'I'm sorry' are 2 totally different things. Neither case automatically means you get acceptance. If you are truly sorry for something, that should be enough in the short term. Long term I'm sure Mrs. Bachmann and the passage of some time will forgive.

Forgetting? Nope. Un-ringing a bell is impossible.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I recall candidate Obama getting whiny about the comments regarding the size of his ears.

I also recall media types siding with him and suggesting the candidate didn't like it and people should lay off his jug ears.

Squid said...

I'm sure she wasn't clued in on this particular question before the interview. Preparation is key.

Preparation is key, and if Bachmann and her people haven't honed and practiced a devastating response to "are you a flake?"-type questions by this point, I'm deeply disappointed.

Cutesy or insulting, softball or unfair, the question (in whatever form) should have been expected, and the response should have been polished and impressive. Team Bachmann needs to step up its game.

alwaysfiredup said...

Yeah. No. Where was Bachmann during the Tucson incident? Where most GOPers said she shouldn't have said anything about people accusing her of inciting murder?

I am actually floored to see GOPErs jump up to defend Bachmann's overreaction to a stupid interview question. Go back and rewatch the Couric interview and get a little perspective.

Trochilus said...

Squid @ 6/27/11 2:16 PM sez:

"Team Bachmann needs to step up its game."

Yep.

Including in the research department!

Oh, man . . . that hadda leave a mark!

She's having a bad week.

Jim said...

In 2009 when Democrats in NJ started repeatedly making "fat" jokes about Chris Christie back during the gubernatorial campaign, he sought out an opportunity to make fat jokes about himself

You're making an apples to oranges comparison. Laughing about your weight is far different than laughing about whether or not you're an airhead. One is a physical characteristic which is (arguably) out of your control and which in and of itself HAS ZERO BEARING ON FITNESS FOR THE OFFICE.

On the other hand, Wallace - by essentially calling her a flake - not only questioned her fitness to be president, but also her fitness to even serve in the House. That's CLEARLY a ludicrous question to ask.

As to "being prepared to be asked" that question, that's a ludicrous standard. Why on earth would you prerp to answer such an out of bounds question? Should she and her staff also have game-planned a humorour response to being called a Nazi? Of course not. It would be ludicrous to ask her if she was one (no matter what garage and others might claim about anyone to the left of Stalin), so it wouldn't be something that interview prep would even approximate.

I reiterate my previous point that you wouldn't have been satisfied no matter her response PRECISELY because your response pretty much shows exactly that. You think Bachmann running around making "I'm a flake" jokes would somehow endear her to people or engender confidence in her?

You're either a) a liar, b) in denial, or c) a fool. The option to make "flake" jokes was NEVER going to be open to her. So you demand an impossible response as the ONLY satisfactory response.

Nice Catch-22 you set up there. You are to be congratulated.

Jim said...

OH BOY -

"The Bachmann campaign sent this explanation: "John Wayne is from Iowa, his parents lived in Waterloo."

And indeed his parents did in fact live briefly in Waterloo — in fact, according to "Duke: The Life and Image of John Wayne," it's where they met. But soon after their marriage they moved to Winterset, where Wayne was born.

It's also worth noting that Mrs. Bachmann herself is no stranger to the actor. In the run-up to her campaign announcement she gave an interview to NewsMax.com in which she talked about him as a symbol of a good time in the country's history.

"We're seeing the nation move into decline. I'm not willing to do that. I'm not satisfied. I grew up with John Wayne's America. I was proud that you grew up in John Wayne's America: Proud to be an American, thrilled to be a patriot," she said.


Way to jump the gun there, flake...

Scott M said...

Way to jump the gun there, flake...

"shark" would be more apt. One just never knows what is going to constitute a Howard-Dean-Scream moment...

ElcubanitoKC said...

I haven't watched it, but my general impression of her is that she is way too intense. I'm always a wary of people who take themselves too seriously.

wv: homphera

Jim said...

"shark" would be more apt. One just never knows what is going to constitute a Howard-Dean-Scream moment...

I think you're misinterpreting my comment. The "way to jump the gun, flake" was directed at Trochilus who jumped the gun talking about Bachmann having a bad week when the updated story clearly shows that his attempt to show that she didn't know what she was talking about was premature and stupid.

Scott M said...

@Jim

You are correct sir. I just reread. I did a quick pass and thought you were bringing up the John Wayne reference. When I heard that audio yesterday, I had an eye-rolling groaner. A raging groaner.

richard mcenroe said...

kk -- It IS remarkable how they can add that unspoken "...and die!" with a smile...

Original Mike said...

Me thinks Trochilus just pulled an Ifill.

mariner said...

Would it have been OK if Wallace had asked Bachmann, "Are you a witch?"

Should she have been prepared to answer that, too?

Hagar said...

Now CNN has also jumoed in with this "Bachmann won't accept apology" meme.

What's with these people? They consider "the journalist community" to be some sort of unitary entity, such that any one of them can speak for all and accept apologies on behalf of any member?

So far, I do not see that Michelle Bachmann has indicated that she even thinks an acceptance is necessary. What I heard was Chris Wallace apologizing to his viewers for his "misstep;" if he apologized to Bachmann, I missed hearing that.


Wv: consulf - consulting oneself.

michaele said...

Michelle did miss an opportunity to put the interviewer on the spot a little by teasingly bringing up a few of Obama's numerous gaffes and point out that he's not considered a "flake". However, it was ok that she listed her educational and work credentials as not indicative of a flaky person.
I think, in the future, all the GOP candidates need to have well memorized some of the embarrassing things Obama has said and be willing to cite them...always with a smile, though.

Almost Ali said...

I watched that Chris Wallace interview and was appalled by his question - a "question" obviously designed to call Michelle Bachmann a "flake" without taking responsibility for calling her a flake.

Chis Wallace is a liberal punk.

bagoh20 said...

Was Cynthia McKinney ever asked this question? Sometimes it is appropriate.

george said...

Coming in the context of what the media did to Palin I don't think we can write anything like this off as being cute or pithy. If Althouse was in Bachmann's shoes I bet she would feel differently about where the question was coming from and what its intent was. At the very least she would be wary of the meme that every Republican woman is a dingbat.

Bachmann is not my first choice but I don't want to see her denied the same chance every other candidate is afforded. Palin may very well be unelectable due to crap like this so it is best to nip it in the bud even if it makes you look humorless.

Lonetown said...

Frankly I would have applauded if she slapped him.

They'll do it when they make the movie, guaranteed!

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Where did she 'refuse' to accept the apology? Pointing out what she didn't like about the question isn't 'refusing' to accept an apology.

And where did he actually apologize? To her, personally, or just in a public statement obviously not really directed to her, but the public at large?

It was a dumb question, which he acknowledges. What neither you nor he can admit is the real problem with his question is that is basis for asking it applies to Obama at least as much- both have a tendency to mispeak at times. But no mainstream reporter will ever publicize his gaffes, and certainly he won't be asked if he's a flake.

MarkD said...

I vehemently disagree. If Bachmann allows herself to be marginalized, she will be marginalized.

It was wrong, and would have provoked cries of racism, if not rioting in the streets, if it were done to the former councilman from Chicago.

Who was that flake, thinking he could run against a Clinton?

Original Mike said...

Hey - at least she didn't do what I would have done. My kneejerk reaction to "Are you a flake?" would have been "Are you a jerk?"

Sayyid said...

"That said, I have a very hard time imagining anyone asking a male candidate if he is a "flake". Mr. Wallace could definitely have handled that one better. "

Exactly this. The question itself was sexist. "Flake" at least in my area is a synonym for the out-of-style description "valley girl." It's used for women as a replacement for the gender-neutral "space cadet."

Hagar said...

Bret Baier on Fox News this evening said that Chris Wallace has also personally apologized to Michelle Bachmann, and she did accept his apology.

jeannebodine said...

Ann, I can't believe I ever fell for your shallow bullshit. This proves exactly who you are.

CachorroQuente said...

It's not sexist to identify Bachmann as a flake. It's not sexist to identify Ron Paul as a flake (which he is), or Herman Cain (which he is) or Dennis Kucinich (which he is), or Cynthia McKinney (which is an insult to flakes).

Bachmann is a flake and is no more a serious candidate than any of the other flakes who are running, or have run in recent years.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@CachorroQuente

Have you ever heard the expression, 'It takes one, to know one', before?

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@squid

"Preparation is key, and if Bachmann and her people haven't honed and practiced a devastating response to "are you a flake?"-type questions by this point, I'm deeply disappointed.

Cutesy or insulting, softball or unfair, the question (in whatever form) should have been expected, and the response should have been polished and impressive. Team Bachmann needs to step up its game."

Disagree.

It was reasonable for Bachmann to expect a line of questioning from Fox's Wallace that would not include a truly stupid question like that.

Just like Tony Putz appearing on MSNBC would not have to field a similar type of question.

It also matters that she just threw her hat into the ring and it is reasonable to expect civil questions at least out of the box.

The type of question Wallace wielded is a question that is usually seen later in an election when gloves tend to be taken off. Not out of the box, and NOT to a woman.

I recall how Rick Lazio was crucified for simply asking Hillary to sign a pledge to swear off soft money during a debate, holding out a piece of paper to her, that was considered an attack, AN ATTACK, only because she is a progressive. NOT if the woman happens to be a conservative.

Double standard.

CachorroQuente said...


Have you ever heard the expression, 'It takes one, to know one', before?


Yes, I have. I've also heard it hurled around by fools before, also.

If you can't easily figure out that all the people I mentioned are flakes, either you're not paying attention or you've spent too much time trying to breath underwater without the aid of artificial apparatus.

Luther said...

I finally watched the video. It was an asshole question that would never have been asked of a male candidate and especially not of a female democrat candidate. It was a set-up question to embarrass and ridicule. That cutesy poo catbird look with the pursed lips that Wallace displayed in the instant before asking the question tells all.

Fen said...

CachorroQuente: If you can't easily figure out that all the people I mentioned are flakes, either you're not paying attention or you've spent too much time trying to breath underwater without the aid of artificial apparatus.

Hey Cachi, you're a flake.

pinkmonkeybird said...

I happen to disagree. In this 24/7 news cycle, a shrewd politician like Bachmann has to avoid feeding the story and keeping it in the news. She accomplished that quite handily by simply side-stepping the issue while telegraphing that she is no powder puff.
The media tried to lure Bachmann into feeding the story, which would allow them to play up the "are you a flake?" bite.
Wallace is a big boy. He can handle it.

Roy Lofquist said...

Bachmann is using Palin's playbook. This was a shot across the bow of the media. Wallace, I'm not here to boost your ratings, I'm here to talk to the American people.

I agree that going from the House to the Presidency is a stretch. We sure got burned by a guy who went from community organizer to the Oval Office.

This is a new phase in American politics. Whomever becomes the nominee is now going to dictate the terms of any interviews. The media is hungry for ratings and will readily accept any conditions to get their face on the screen to get the eyeballs.

AST said...

Hear! Hear!

Ann nailed it. I've been reading irate rants against Chris Wallace all day, and when I actually saw the clip, I thought he was giving her an opportunity to answer all the snide dismissals around. She had a right to be irritated by those criticisms and answer them, but not to get so frosty with Chris Wallace. If she's this thin-skinned, she doesn't belong in presidential politics, and if her supporters can't take it, they're only going to hurt her chances.

grackle said...

Now that Wallace(usually one of the classier of the newshounds) has actually and truly apologized to Bachmann and Bachmann has graciously accepted said apology will Althouse retreat a bit from her disapproval?

Nah, probably not. Because Bachmann is supposed to “lighten up,” you know, and laugh off insulting and implicitly sexist gotcha questions that could later be used against her by the MSM. What the hell, it’s only a Presidential campaign, after all. Sort of lay back and try to enjoy it since it’s so inevitable, the silly girl.

And furthermore Bachmann should appreciate Wallace’s kindness in giving Bachmann a chance to respond to stupid, vague canards that are best ignored(unless of course they are parroted and therefore given legitimacy by an important news figure like Wallace).

NOKD?

jamboree said...

Nah. Not after what happened to Palin.

DaveW said...

It was a crappy thing to say to her. He'd have never said such a thing to anyone else. That was WAY out of bounds for such an interview. Too bad she didn't have a dead fish at hand to slap him with.

I'm not a Bachman fan, don't know much about her, can't imagine voting for her. I do know the left hates her, but the left hates everyone nowadays so that doesn't really mean much.

But the way people treat republican women candidates is appalling. They're called whores, crazy, flakes. Hell Sullivan is still on Palin's womb. It would be scandalous, but the reaction of other women is what is truly stunning to me.

I guess it would be OK for an interviewer to ask Hillary if she's a lesbian, hammer her with questions about Bill's affairs, call her a whore, a flake, an idiot. Just another "softball" interview.

Misogyny against conservative women is the new politically correct hate.