Campaign Roundup: Michele Bachmann, IRS Tax Collector

Michele Bachmann campaign who
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Rep. Michele Bachmann meets supporters in Clear Lake, Iowa.
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The best of today's 2012 coverage.

Tax-hating Michele Bachmann used to work for the IRS 
While presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann often touts her "federal tax litigation attorney" past, the WSJ digs a bit deeper: "Ms. Bachmann spent four years with the Internal Revenue Service district counsel office in St. Paul, Minn., from 1988 to 1992, and "worked on hundreds of civil and criminal cases," according to her congressional website. This part of her resume cuts two ways for Ms. Bachman, who ranks near the top of the GOP field in polls of New Hampshire and Iowa, where she campaigned over the weekend. She's a favorite of the tea party, for whom the IRS personifies government overreach. Ms. Bachmann, on the other hand, in her limited comments on the matter, says the experience formed her views on taxes." [Wall Street Journal]

Romney's jobs record looks like a liability
Presidential contender Mitt Romney often points to his tenure as governor of Massachusetts as proof that he can stimulate job creation. But, according to the LA Times, Romney's record suggest otherwise: "Many factors contribute to the economics of any given state, and a governor can sometimes have only limited influence. But Romney's performance in the job represents his argument for election. He and his backers say he is responsible for demonstrable progress for the state, which faced a series of economic challenges, including a fiscal crisis that mushroomed shortly after Romney's election… Leading economists and business advocates in Massachusetts say Romney is correct - but only to a point. 'Romney's record of economic stewardship fell short of expectations,' said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed group that provides research on fiscal and economic matters. In remarks echoed by others, Widmer said Romney fell particularly short in his promise to recruit employers to the state." [LA Times]

Tim Pawlenty keeps up the Bachmann-bashing
Politico takes a look at Tim Pawlenty's latest shot at Michele Bachmann: "Tim Pawlenty kept up his criticism of Michele Bachmann in a morning appearance on 'Fox and Friends,' repeating his charge that she's unprepared to be president and her record of accomplishment in Congress is 'nonexistent'...'With all due respect, she just doesn't have that kind of experience,' he continued. 'And secondly, her record in Congress, as I mentioned before, is, you know, again, great remarks and great speeches, but in terms of results and accomplishments, nonexistent.'" [Politico]

Pawlenty is Right: Bachmann Has Accomplished Very Little
The Atlantic agrees with Republican Tim Pawlenty's claims about Bachmann... but believes she can get the presidential nomination anyway: "Bachmann, who is rising in the Iowa polls, does in fact have a resume that's absurdly thin for someone seeking the White House. Ponder its shortcomings: she has no foreign policy experience, no executive experience, has never sponsored or co-sponsored a bill that became law, has never chaired a committee or subcommittee, and cannot even claim notable success outside the public sector like Mitt Romney. Why this doesn't bother her supporters? They're choosing the person who'll preside over the Armed Forces, negotiate with foreign leaders, manage the bureaucracy, shepherd legislation through Congress, execute the nation's laws, and otherwise fulfill the many obligations of the presidency. What makes them think she's qualified?" [The Atlantic]

Palin still playing it coy, says she can win the presidency
Newsweek follows Sarah Palin on the non-campaign trail: "Two years after stepping down as governor of Alaska - not a retreat, she later said of the decision, quoting Korean War general Oliver Smith, but 'advancing in another direction' - Palin has proved herself an enduring force capable, with minimal effort, of keeping political professionals and, especially, the press in a state of perpetual imbalance. This derives partly, of course, from her standing as a possible presidential candidate with presumed frontrunner potential, a status she seems inclined to maintain for as long as possible." [Newsweek]

The Christian Right and the Tea Party buddy up
Ed Kilgore of The New Republic traces the history of this (not-new) association, and assesses its implications for the 2012 election: "It’s no accident that one red-hot candidate for president, Michele Bachmann, and a much-discussed likely candidate, Rick Perry, each have one foot planted in the Christian Right and another in the Tea Party Movement. To a remarkable extent, today’s theocrats have stopped thinking of 'social issues' like abortion or gay marriage as isolated from or in competition with fiscal or economic issues, and started thinking of them as part and parcel of a broader challenge that requires the radical transformation of government itself." [The New Republic]

Recent college grads are hurting, and that's bad for Obama
As recent college grads still struggle to find jobs, the National Journal wonders about the effect on President Obama's reelection prospects: "Two years after the Great Recession officially ended, job prospects for young Americans remain historically grim. More than 17 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds who are looking for work can’t find a job, a rate that is close to a 30-year high. The employment-to-population ratio for that demographic—the percentage of young people who are working—has plunged to 45 percent. That’s the lowest level since the Labor Department began tracking the data in 1948. Taken together, the numbers suggest that the U.S. job market is struggling mightily to bring its next generation of workers into the fold. This is a dangerous proposition, economically (for the United States as a whole) and politically (for the president)." [National Journal]

Marcus Bachmann’s Homophobia Confirmed
Marcus Bachmann is now a proven homophobe - his Christian counseling practice has been shown to perform "reparative therapy," which tries to turn gay people straight: "In 2006, a story about Michele Bachmann in the Minneapolis City Pages delved into husband Marcus’s involvement in the ex-gay movement …. Yet when the City Pages reporter asked Marcus if his clinic performs so-called reparative therapy—a widely discredited technique meant to turn gay people straight—Marcus denied it. And over the years he has kept denying it, despite plenty of evidence that both he and Michele are deeply committed to the idea that homosexuality can be cured. If there was any doubt that he was lying, it disappeared on Friday, when The Nation broke news of an investigation by Truth Wins Out, a group devoted to combating the ex-gay movement. 'Undeniably, 100 percent, the Bachmann clinic practices reparative therapy, which tries to cure gay people of their homosexuality,' says Wayne Besen, Truth Wins Out’s founder." [The Daily Beast]

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