Democrats blast Bachmann's N.D. appearance
FARGO Tonight's "Take Back Washington" rally and town hall event in Bismarck is garnering excitement from its Republican sponsors but heavy criticism from Democrats. The presence of keynote speaker Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who represents ...
Tonight's "Take Back Washington" rally and town hall event in Bismarck is garnering excitement from its Republican sponsors but heavy criticism from Democrats.
The presence of keynote speaker Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who represents the state's 6th Congressional District, is spurring the conflict.
She's known for being an outspoken advocate for right-wing conservative issues and a leader to the grass-roots Tea Party movement within the Republican Party.
Democrats and some grass-roots groups in North Dakota said she is too extreme to accurately represent residents' values.
Meanwhile, the state GOP Party, one of several event sponsors, has praised Bachmann for her "unwavering, conservative voice and common-sense approaches" in Congress.
With no Republicans in North Dakota's congressional delegation, state GOP Chairman Gary Emineth said Bachmann will bring "star power" to tonight's event, which seeks to provide a forum for frustrated North Dakotans to voice their viewpoints.
"Many people in grassroots groups have had enough with what's going on in Washington, and they need a chance to speak on the issues," Emineth said. "Michele Bachmann is someone who has supported them on many of the issues they're concerned about."
Some liberal-leaning groups such as NDPeople.org and Change That Works openly oppose Bachmann's appearance, saying her policy views "don't seem very connected to bedrock North Dakota values."
Tonight's rally is not a campaign forum for U.S. House and Senate hopefuls, but many declared Republican candidates said they will attend to hear from residents during the town hall portion of the event.
Senate candidate Gov. John Hoeven plans to be there and, for that, he's drawn fire from state and national Democrats, who claim he's trying to cater to different ends of the conservative spectrum.
"John Hoeven seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place," said Deirdre Murphy, national spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "If he attends Michele Bachmann's rally, he's standing by her outrageous, offensive comments. But if he skips it, he'll have a hard time currying favor from the Tea Partiers."
Hoeven said he wants to hear from residents at the rally and strives to listen to all points of view.
"My focus in going is really to listen to North Dakotans and what's on their minds," he said. "I don't agree with Michele Bachmann on everything; for example, on farm policy. I worked very hard for the farm bill we have, and I support it. But on the other side, I think she supports lower taxes and getting on top of this federal deficit, and of course, I support those things."
"I haven't met her, but we'll hear what she has to say," Hoeven added.
House candidate and Fargo state legislator Rick Berg also plans to attend and said he's "inspired" by the Tea Party movement, calling it "grassroots the way grassroots was intended to be."
"I'm glad that she's coming to North Dakota," Berg said of Bachmann's appearance. "I'm glad that she'll have an opportunity to present her views of Washington."
If you go
What: "Take Back Washington" rally and town hall meeting, featuring keynote speaker Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
When: Today beginning at 3 p.m.
Where: Best Western Ramkota Hotel, 800 S. 3rd St., Bismarck
Info: Register online at
Call the North Dakota Republican Party at (701) 255-0030 for more information.
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What: Valley Tea Party Conservative Coalition will host a midwinter "ice" tea party featuring speakers including North Dakota Republican Senate candidate Paul Sorum; North Dakota GOP House candidate J.D. Donaghe; and Glen Menze, a Republican House candidate in Minnesota's 7th Congressional District, which includes Clay County.
When: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Alerus Center, Grand Forks
Info: www.valleyteaparty.net or contact Jerry Breyer at (701) 746-9950