Michele Bachmann restated that she and her husband believe in mutual respect when CBS News Sunday asked her to clarify once again her stand on the Bible’s call for wives to be submissive.
“To us it means respect. We respect each other, we listen to each other, we love each other and that is what it means,” the leading presidential candidate told CBS News “Face the Nation” Sunday when its Chief White House correspondent Norah O’Donnell asked her to clarify if “submissive means subservient.”
O’Donnell was alluding to a question Byron York from the Washington Examiner threw at Minnesota Rep. Bachmann during last week’s GOP debate in Ames asking if she would be submissive to her husband in the White House.
To avoid mentioning York’s inapt question, which was booed by the crowd at the last Thursday night’s Republican debate, O’Donnell chose to play an audio clip recorded in 2006: “My husband said, ‘Now you need to go and get a post-doctorate degree in tax law.’ Tax law? I hate taxes. Why should I go into something like that? But the lord said, wife, you are to submit to your husband.”
“Congresswoman, what do you mean wives should be submissive to their husbands?” the CBS host asked. “Well, there was a debate earlier this week and that question was asked in the debate and for my husband and I submission means respect, mutual respect,” replied Bachmann, who won the crucial Ames Straw Poll last week.
“I respect my husband, he respects me. We have been married 33 years, we have a great marriage, we built a business together and had five children together, we raised 23 foster children together in our home. And respecting each other listening to each other is what that means.”
O’Donnell then asked if Bachmann would use a different word today other than “submissive.” “You know,” Bachmann answered, “I guess it depends on what word people are used to, but respect is really what it means.” O’Donnell persisted. “Do you think submissive means subservient?” the host asked. “Not to us,” Bachmann replied without reacting.
Some see such questions as targeting by the media. Penny Nance, president of the group Concerned Women for America, found Washington Examiner’s question objectionable. “Byron York’s question to Michele Bachmann about her relationship with her husband was incredibly inappropriate and downright ignorant,” she said in a statement. “Perhaps he should study theology a bit before asking a question about a complex biblical statement on the home.”
Republican candidate Rick Santorum, a Catholic, also pointed at ignorance. “It’s sad that these questions are asked because of ignorance of what the Bible teaches,” he was quoted as saying.
Newsweek, raising the same question of wife’s submission, this month featured Bachmann as the “Queen of Rage,” which prompted Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan, to say: “Whenever they’ve had a male on their cover, even if they don’t agree with them as far as policy goes, they portray them in a serious light; they take them seriously and they portray them in a positive light.”
Earlier, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s aide Stacy Kerr made a similar charge after Chris Wallace of Fox News recently asked Bachmann if she was a “flake.” Kerr tweeted saying, “Bachmann – she’d never get my vote, but she has my ire at how media is treating her. They’d never treat a man like this week of announcement.”