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Sarah Palin says Barack Obama loves America, but Republican Michele Bachmann isn't so sure

October 17, 2008 |  6:21 pm

Sarah Palin cut Barack Obama some slack today.

"I know Obama loves America," she said during a brief give-and-take with reporters aboard her campaign plane. She continued, "I'm sure that is why he's running for president. It's because he wants to do what he believes is in the best interest of this great nation. ... I don't question at all Barack Obama's love for this great country."

Our colleague Mark Silva at the Swamp has more on what Palin had to say. But whereas the Republican vice presidential candidate attested to Obama's patriotism, a GOP surrogate -- in a television appearance this evening bound to make the rounds on the Internet -- wasn't willing to concede that point.

Indeed, before Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was done, she raised the specter of the days of Joe McCarthy, suggesting an investigation of whether some of her Capitol Hill colleagues are "pro-America or anti-America."

Emulating Palin, we'll cut Bachmann some slack. She was parrying questions from Chris Matthews on his MSNBC "Hardball" show, which is not for the faint of heart. Still, she did not necessarily have to keep stepping deeper and deeper into the hole he kept digging for her.

Initially, they were discussing Obama, with Matthews quizzing her about the Republican-backed "robo calls -- viewed by many as over the top -- that play the Bill Ayers/terrorist card against the Democrat.

Bachmann says of Obama: "I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views."

Then she says: "I think the people that Barack Obama has been associating with are anti-American, by and large."

Matthews wonders if that includes Democratic leaders, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "I'm not going to say if they're anti-American or pro-American," Bachmann says.

Pressed by Matthews about members of Congress in general and whether, in essence, their patriotism should be called into question, Bachmann takes the bait. She calls on the media to launch a "penetrating expose and take a look ... at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-American or anti-American."

She adds: "I think people would love to see an expose like that."

We wonder if Bachmann truly comprehends what she endorsed at that moment. At any rate, here's the interview in full:

-- Don Frederick