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Bachmann Beat: Visit to Arizona Highlights Immigration Stance

A daily roundup of news and commentary about U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Sixth-district congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann wants to show that she's tough on immigration policy.

To drive the point home, she paid a visit to the Arizona lawman some call "America's Toughest Sheriff." 

Bachmann visited Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to seek his backing in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. (She is not the only candidate asking for his blessing.) Arpaio made a name for himself by cracking down on illegal immigrants. Bachmann called him "one of my heroes."

Meanwhile, the controversy over Bachmann's continues. The Star Tribune neatly summarizes the latest developments, including:

  • Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said Bachmann "may have jumped the shark" with her comments on the vaccine.
  • A pair of bioethicists offered cash rewards for proof that the vaccine causes mental retardation. One of them, a University of Minnesota professor, was interviewed by MinnPost.
  • Rick Perry used the publicy outcry over Bachmann's comments to hit back at her politically.

Bachmann's former campaign manager also called her comments on the HPV vaccine "a mistake."

Though the congresswoman's comments about vaccination have not gone over well, critics agree her original attack on Perry's vaccine mandate at Monday night's debate was politically effective.

Slate says Bachmann cleverly drew inspiration from an American archetype: the angry, righteous mother. Here's an excerpt: 

Bachmann managed to channel righteous indignation while sidestepping cultural fears of the angry woman. This was no meager feat. The angry woman charge, as Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, both know, is a wounding accusation, right up there with its cousins, the ugly feminist and the man-hating lesbian.

In other Bachmann news:

  • Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sent the candidate a tongue-in-cheek invitation to the premier of his new film, a political satire about a butter sculptor with "Bachmann-like traits." (Bachmann herself won a butter-sculpting competition at the 2002 Minnesota State Fair.)
  • Bachmann will head back to Iowa next week. In an interview with the Des Moines Register, she criticized Perry's views on Social Security.
  • While in Arizona, Bachmann had dinner with Cindy McCain, wife of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Finally, the latest Bloomberg survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents puts Bachmann back up in third place among the candidates with 9 percent support.

Rick Perry comes in first at 26 percent and Mitt Romney second with 22 percent.

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