Now in just her third term in Congress, Michele Bachmann, the leader of the House tea party caucus, has earned a reputation as one of the lower chamber's leading bomb-throwers, lobbing overheated rhetoric at Democrats and needling establishment Republicans
Bachmann also has a tendency to stretch the truth, or simply sidestep it altogether. Bill Adair, editor of PolitiFact, recently told Minnesota Public Radio that he has never researched a Bachmann quote and found it to be true (the only major politician for which that's the case).
2004: With the country locked in a heated debate over gay marriage, Bachmann finds parallels in the Old Testament: "We're in a state of crisis where our nation is literally ripping apart at the seams right now, and lawlessness is occurring from one ocean to the other. And we're seeing the fulfillment of the Book of Judges here in our own time, where every man doing that which is right in his own eyes—in other words, anarchy."
2005: Bachmann explains her opposition to the state's minimum wage as a form of job creation: "Literally, if we took away the minimum wage—if conceivably it was gone—we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level."
2007: In an interview with the St. Cloud Times, Bachmann drops a bombshell: Iran is planning on turning all of Northwest Iraq into a secret terrorist training camp: "Iran is the troublemaker trying to tip over apple carts all over Baghdad right now because they want America to pull out. And you know why? It's because they've already decided, that they're going to territory, they're- they're going to partition Iraq and half of Iraq, the western northern portion of Iraq is going to be called, the United, uh, the, the uh, -oh, I'm sorry, I can't remember the actual name of it now, but it's going to be called, um, uh, the, the, uh, uh the Iraq State of Islam, something like that."
2008: Just two weeks before election day, Bachmann calls for an investigation into the anti-American ambitions of Barack Obama and congressional Democrats: "What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America."
2009: Bachmann goes on Glenn Beck's Fox program to discuss the specter of "One World currency" and delivers what historians may later dub her "I am not a kook!" speech. "Glenn, I have experienced that throughout my political career being labeled a kook. It just happened again in a big story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. But all we have to do is point to the treasury secretary on tape, on camera. This is not Michele Bachmann being a kook. This is our treasury secretary on tape and on camera." A visibly confused Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had told Bachmann he was not aware of any plan to replace the dollar.
2009: Bachmann argues that abnormally large emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide can't be regulated because if we did, birds would lose their natural habitat—air: "Life on planet Earth can't even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that’s on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that—that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth."
2010: Bachmann warns that critics of the Affordable Care Act will be denied coverage, based on their political beliefs. As evidence, she cites a conversation with a Japanese man who told her that in Japan, health care reform opponents are afraid to speak up: "'Well why is that,' I asked. [He said], 'Because they know that would get on a list and they wouldn’t get health care. They wouldn't get in. They wouldn't get seen. And so people are afraid. They're afraid to speak back to government. They're afraid to say anything.' Is that what we want for our future? That takes us to gangster government at that point!"
2011: In a speech to New Hampshire tea partiers, Bachmann crafts an alternative history of the American Revolution: "What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord."
2011: Seizing on an administration directive to promote energy-efficient light bulbs, Bachmann accuses the administration of banning light bulbs altogether: "I think Thomas Edison did a pretty patriotic thing for this country by inventing the light bulb and I think darn well you New Hampshirites, if you want to want to buy Thomas Edison's wonderful invention you should be able to!"