Bachmann courts controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio

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Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm | More from The Minnesota Independent

Following a storm of criticism of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s connection of an HPV vaccine to “mental retardation,” Bachmann is seeking to hitch her presidential bid to the controversial Arizona sheriff who houses inmates in a “Tent City” and instituted chain gangs.

“What we need to do is first secure the border,” Bachmann said before the meeting with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio Wednesday, according to KTAR. “We need to deal with that issue first. Deal with all the inducements that are out there and then move on from there.”

Arpaio has drawn condemnation from civil liberties groups and accolades from conservatives for his treatment of illegal immigrants and jailed offenders. His tactics have included the creation of a “Tent City” to house alleged offenders that he’s referred to it as a “concentration camp.” He’s also gained notoriety for serving inmates spoiled and inadequate food, as well as forcing them to wear pink underwear.

Bachmann called Arpaio “a great guy,” and said that “anyone would want his endorsement.” In fact, Arpaio has also been wooed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, according to CBS.

Arpaio is scheduled to appear in Iowa this weekend, the Iowa Independent reports.

Arpaio faces own election fight this November. He is being challenged by Sheriff Harvey DeSotel—a former Linn County deputy. He also faces Greg Graver, chief deputy in the Jones County office, and Scotty Shover.

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