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Michele Bachmann's security uses 'unusual force' to rough up journalist

July 19, 2011 |  4:19 pm


Michele Bachmann of all people knows that reporters, at times, can be a headache.

Last month when she announced her candidacy and goofed as to which John Wayne was from her hometown, there was a reporter to document the gaffe. When she signed a pact pledging to defend marriage from homosexuals who also wanted to enter holy matrimony, reporters (and bloggers) brought to light the odd paragraph in the document that suggested that black children were better off during slavery than they are now.

And Tuesday, when it was revealed and later admitted by the candidate that she, like many Americans, suffers from migraines, not only was it covered online, but there, at a rally in South Carolina were journalists with followup questions for the possible first female president of the United States.

One of those reporters seeking to talk with the Minnesota congresswoman was Brian Ross of ABC News who was rebuffed by her security detail, according to Time's Michael Crowley.

"Ross dashed after Bachmann, repeatedly asking whether she had ever missed a House vote due to a migraine. She ignored him. Ross pursued her into a parking area behind the stage. Her aides grew alarmed. When Ross made a beeline for the white SUV waiting to carry Bachmann away, two Bachmann men pounced on him, grabbing and pushing him multiple times with what looked to me like unusual force," Crowley reported.

"In fact, I have never seen a reporter treated so roughly at a campaign event, especially not a presidential one," Crowley wrote, adding, "Ross was finally able to break away and lob his question at Bachmann one more time, but she continued to ignore him."

Later when Crowley asked his fellow journalist if he had ever been treated so roughly, Ross told him it happened a few times “mostly by Mafia people.”

The news spread quickly (!@#$ reporters) and soon the headlines began to appear. "Michele Bachmann Beats the Press" wrote New York magazine. "How not to respond to legitimate questions" wrote the Washington Monthly.

And what was the headline on the conservative National Review? "Bachmann Camp Defends Treatment of Reporter."

Wait. What?

Indeed, apparently Bachmann's strategy is to blame the messenger, after roughing him up.

Bachmann spokesman Alice Stewart told the Washington Post that the veteran journalist had “jumped on stage and rushed towards us.”

“We didn’t have time for any questions, and we made it clear we had to leave, and he disregarded repeated requests to stay back,” Stewart is quoted as saying.

ABC says they have video of the fracas. Jeffrey Schneider, a senior vice president for ABC news, told Greg Sargent of the Washington Post that Ross "was certainly shoved around and pushed.”

“We were videotaping Brian asking questions,” Schneider said. “I’m sure it will find its way onto our website at some point.”


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 -- Tony Pierce

Photo: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) speaks with supporters after a political rally, Tuesday, July 19, 2011, in downtown Aiken, S.C. Credit: AP Photo/The Augusta Chronicle, Rainier Ehrhardt