GOP 2012 candidate calls Bachmann ‘hypocrite and bigot’
Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger on Tuesday night slammed fellow contestant for the nomination Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota over allegations a counseling clinic she co-owns with her husband is offering ex-gay therapy.
“She’s a liar and now that she’s been busted, she’s trying to divert attention away from her lies,” Karger said in an exclusive interview with Michigan Messenger. “She is just another hypocrite and bigot.”
Karger’s words came as an undercover video investigation by Truth Wins Out started making headlines. The therapy, called reparative therapy, has been condemned by most credible medical organizations, which say there is no evidence the therapy works and may in fact be damaging to a person struggling with their sexuality.
Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, runs the clinic. He has publicly denied that his Christian counseling center does ex-gay therapy.
That’s where TWO’s John Becker comes in. He spent much of June masquerading as a client seeking a cure for his homosexuality. He received several counseling sessions at Bachmann’s clinic, all directed at helping him end his homosexuality and become the heterosexual he was born as, to paraphrase the counselor. Becker secretly video taped the sessions, and TWO released that video to several news outlets Monday.
But for her part, Michele is staying mum about the clinic and the ex-gay programming, pivoting from any questions about the clinic to saying she is proud of the clinic because it creates jobs.
On Tuesday, Human Rights Campaign — which dubs itself the largest LGBT rights group in the country — called on candidates in the GOP field to take a stand on the issue:
“Michele Bachmann’s homophobic views are out of step with mainstream America, and it’s time for her fellow GOP presidential contenders to publicly denounce them,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The past few years we’ve seen a surge in support for equality and have made important legislative progress. Bachmann’s support for things like reparative therapy signals just how fringe a candidate she really is.”
Only Karger has taken a stand.
“Absolutely. She needs to own up to it and tell the truth,” Karger said. “What is going on in that counseling center? I am telling you I am very concerned about that.”
Karger is the first openly gay man to seek the office of the presidency. He is a long time GOP activist who worked for President Ronald Reagan and the President George H.W. Bush. And while he says he is being warmly received on the campaign trail, both CNN and Fox News refused to allow him to participate in their GOP primary debates. He was the first declared candidate to file the paperwork necessary to become a candidate for the GOP primary and, he hopes, the 2012 general election.
Karger also said Bachmann should take back her controversial pledge with the Family Leader in Iowa. Here’s how Lynda Waddington over at Messenger’s sibling site The Iowa Independent reported the pledge:
The 14-point pledge (PDF) asks candidates to ban same-sex marriage, protect women and children from pornography and reject Islamic law. Signers also must promise to affirm that same-sex marriage is akin to polygamy, and that having many children is good for America. The vow insinuates that homosexuality is a choice, and that being gay or lesbian is a public health risk.
“That thing was a painful read,” Karger said.