NEW YORK TIMES: Representative Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican who made an ill-fated run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, announced Wednesday that she would not seek a fifth term in Congress next year. She made the announcement just six months after being re-elected in what was her most challenging Congressional campaign since she was first elected to the House in 2006. Her announcement also comes as her former presidential campaign faces inquiries into its fund-raising activities. “I have decided next year I will not seek a fifth Congressional term,” she said in a video on her campaign Web site. “This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff,” she added. Mrs. Bachmann is known for her strong anti-abortion stance and adherence to Tea Party values but her presidential campaign was marked by frequent stumbles and her candidacy failed to catch fire in a crowded field of candidates that included Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Herman Cain, who all eventually lost to Mitt Romney. In her congressional race last year, Mrs. Bachmann won re-election by just 4,200 votes out of 356,000 votes cast, beating the hotelier Jim Graves, who was greatly outspent. Mr. Graves recently announced that he would seek the seat again. “My decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected to Congress,” she said. “If I ran I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year.” Her announcement comes as the Office of Congressional Ethics looks into claims by Ms. Bachmann’s former campaign aides that she may have improperly used money raised by one of her House-affiliated political action committees to help her presidential bid in the run-up to the Iowa presidential caucuses in January 2012. She came in sixth in that race, even though she campaigned heavily in the state. MORE
THINK PROGRESS: Bachmann leaves behind one of the most politically heated Congressional careers in recent memory. Her stances on major issues — and the initiatives she has pushed throughout her eight years — have been dangerous and insensitive. Here is a look back at some of Bachmann’s most controversial moments:
1. Bachmann peddled a dangerous anti-vaccine conspiracy. Bachmann pushed the disproved theory that the vaccine for HPV — which prevents cervical cancer — can cause mental retardation. That misinformation has had a wide and lasting impact: Vaccination rates are still remarkably low, and experts blame figureheads like Bachmann who communicated misleading information to the public.
2. Bachmann called being gay ‘personal enslavement.’ On the issue of LGBT rights, Bachmann has a long record of either mocking gay and trans (like when she said she’d mistaken ex-gay therapy for anti-aging therapy, ‘pray away the grey‘). But when she isn’t mocking sexual orientation, she has treated it more like a mental disorder. Famously, Bachmann once said, “It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It’s anything but gay. […] Because if you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. Personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement. And that’s why this is so dangerous.”
3. Bachmann considers climate climate change ‘a hoax.’ While experts warn that global climate change is already set to have a lasting impact on our environment, Bachmann calls climate change “all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.” She also cast doubt on the entire field of climate science. At a town hall in her district, Bachmann informed constituents that climate science is not “real science” but “manufactured science.”
4. Bachmann led an Islamophobic witch hunt. Last year, Bachmann sought to “expose” members of the Muslim Brotherhood within the U.S. government. The totally unfounded witch hunt was essentially Bachmann’s personal indictment of one of then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s aides, Huma Abedin, but it also served to fuel anti-Muslim bigotry. Bachmann’s fellow party members came out against her, with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) slamming her on the Senate floor for her “unwarranted and unfounded attack.” MORE