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Straight Talk Express?

I see today in the Pioneer Press that Craig Westover (a.k.a. "Captain Fishsticks") is trying to follow up on the flap he created over Dean Johnson's inappropriate Supreme Court comments by attacking Blois Olson, publisher of the "Politics in Minnesota" newsletter. I am not a subscriber, but Westover claims that Olson maliciously lumps Michele Bachmann into the "contraception-is-evil" crowd with no evidence of her position. Dump Bachmann beats me to the punch in asking: What is Michele Bachmann's position on contraception? Though interviewed in Westover's column, Michele Bachmann does not clarify her position at all. Here's what she has to say:

Hearing that she'd supposedly "signed on" to an anti-birth-control caucus that she had never heard of and couldn't join unless she's elected, Bachmann was more than a bit perplexed.

"I don't know what it is, " she said. "But Republicans never seem to challenge the false things Democrats say about us. That just gives them permission to keep doing it."

But she's not about to let the Democrats get even as far as first base on the contraceptive issue. Bachmann is taking prophylactic action. She called Olson directly to ask him what he said — before publicly responding.

"He said he was just stating his opinion of my position and that people would know that," Bachmann said. "He said that I was a 'radical, right-wing, extremist Christian,' and that 'radical, right-wing, extremist Christians would hold that position.' "

All I see in her response is a diversion: the ridiculous claim that Republicans are somehow the perpetual innocent victims of vicious Democratic smears, to which they never respond. Umm... Michele? Ever heard of Karl Rove? Michele Malkin? Rush Limbaugh? Ann Coulter?

Anyway, Westover lets Senator Bachmann get away with dodging the question, and it's more than a little hypocritical. He rightfully criticizes Blois Olson, because it truly was "unfair... when Olson culled from the Times to create an impression of candidate Bachmann that has no connection to reality." But it's similarly unfair for Mr. Westover to "create an impression of candidate Bachmann that has no connection to reality"-- namely, that she is not against the right to contraception. He implies that this is the case in his article, but never forces Bachmann to give readers a straight answer. Neither in this article nor on "candidate Bachmann's" website is a position clearly articulated on the issue of contraception.

To be fair, the "Issues" section of Patty Wetterling's website does not give Patty's position on this issue, either.

[UPDATE]: I was not able to find a Minnesota- or CD6-specific poll, but here is some general information on the public's perception of emergency contraceptives:

According to a national survey, over 80 percent of Americans believe that hospitals should not be allowed to deny emergency contraception to rape victims. Additionally, voters overwhelmingly oppose so-called “conscience clauses� that permit pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions—85 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Republicans oppose pharmacist refusals. [source]
Research indicates that once people understand what emergency contraception is, the overwhelming majority are supportive and believe that couples should be told about the method. According to a July 2002 survey conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates on behalf of RHTP, two-thirds of voters think that government involvement, as a way of reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, is a good idea. In addition, three-fourths favor legislation aimed at expanding public health information about emergency contraception (see chart). When asked why they favor government involvement, over 70% of voters reported that they consider the 72-hour window of effectiveness a compelling reason for women to know about the back-up option in advance of an emergency situation. [source]

Is Michele Bachmann "out of the mainstream" on this issue?


Short answer: yes.

Craig is now following up with an attack on Blois Olson.