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Protests, gaffes mar Bachmann’s New Hampshire debut

Rep. Michele Bachmann made her debut in New Hampshire with a series of five appearances on Friday and Saturday as part of her “all in for 2012″ tour. At one stop, a troop of AIDS activists crashed her speech and a gaffe on U.S. history put Bachmann’s visit in the headlines.

At her speech to the New Hampshire Republican Party on Saturday morning, Bachmann praised the state’s caucus process, repeated her “Hu’s your daddy?” line, called President George W. Bush a big spender and said that Medicare will be flat broke by 2017.

She also again talked about defunding “Obamacare.”

“I don’t know why our Republican leadership hasn’t taken this up in DC,” Bachmann said of her efforts to defund health care reform. She added that she was appalled by the $105 billion she says was hidden in the health care reform bill.

“I’m insulted that I was not given this information before the vote. That’s not what our brave men and women … it’s not the kind of nation they put their lives on the line for,” she said. “This is a crime against democracy not to reveal this to the American people.”

Fact-checkers have cried foul over the statement; last week, the Washington Post gave the statement “four Pinnochios” for prizing “bombast” over facts, while Politifact called it “barely true.” And on Saturday, a Star Tribune editorial chastised Bachmann for the claim, stating that “she personally needs a refresher course on the Ten Commandments – specifically, the one that warns against bearing false witness.” The paper notes that the $105 billion was really $103.1 billion and that there’s “no basis for Bachmann’s claim that the implementation money was inserted ‘secretly.’”

Halfway through her speech, a group of college students crashed the ballroom where the speech was held shouting, “Michele Bachmann, we insist! End AIDS treatment waiting lists!”

As the group was escorted out, Bachmann said, “It’s okay; they just brought the buses in from Madison, Wisconsin.”

But it was a gaffe earlier in the speech that generated weekend chatter by political pundits.

“You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord,” she said, referencing Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Concord Hymn,” an ode to the lives lost at the start of the American Revolution in Concord, Massachusetts, not New Hampshire.

Bachmann was quick to admit the historical mistake. In a message on Facebook, she said, “So I misplaced the battles Concord and Lexington by saying they were in New Hampshire. It was my mistake, Massachusetts is where they happened. New Hampshire is where they are still proud of it!”

And not to escape without a dig at President Obama, she added in a later Facebook posting, “And by the way … That will be the last time I borrow President Obama’s tele-promoter!”

Sources close to Bachmann told CNN over the weekend that she is leaning towards a run for president in 2012.

“She is leaning more toward doing it,” an anonymous Republican told the network. “The people she’s meeting on the ground, they love her. She is definitely more encouraged when she makes these trips.”

Conservative commentator George Will disagreed with his fellow panelists on CBS’s This Week on Sunday morning that Bachmann would be a formidable contender.

“She’s not among the serious contenders,” explained Will at the culmination of a roundtable discussion focused on Bachmann’s political ambitions. “We know who settles presidential elections, they’re independent voters. Independent voters are not inflamed, and not inflamed in the way that some of the marginal Republican candidates are.”

Here’s video of that exchange:

Following the gaffe and protest at Saturday morning’s speech, Bachmann riled up the Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC meeting later on Saturday.

“I think it’s not about being polite, I think it’s about being honest,” she said of her outspoken nature.

She also tried to tie President Obama to the TARP bailout passed and signed into law by President Bush.

“Did you ever think you’d live to see the day when your government would own the largest banks, the largest insurance company, the largest auto maker and over half the homes in the united states?” she asked. “All of that happened within 12 months of Barack Obama becoming president of the United States.”

She said the United Nations “would love to see American sovereignty diminished,” and said she’s fine with forcing a government shutdown in order to defund “Obamacare.”

“I’ve decided to draw a line in the sand. We will repeal ‘Obamacare,’” she said. “We cannot allow this to abide in the United States of America. It will change our nation forever.”

She concluded, “The nation was founded on a miracle and a miracle can happen again.”

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