- (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
Michele Bachmann ran from CNN reporter Dana Bash to avoid answering questions about her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The Minnesota Congresswoman and former presidential candidate started speedwalking, practically breaking into a run to avoid the conversation.
Michele Bachmann's attempt to dodge Bash came from the controversial subjects of her CPAC speech. While some topics were expected, like the tragedy in Benghazi, others were not, such as President Obama spending $1.4 billion on White House "perks and excess"— a comment that was revealed to be false.
"We believe the president and first family deserves the best security, to live in the White House, and fly on a private plane. But there are five chefs on Air Force One," Bachmann told the crowd, who immediately booed. "There are two projectionists who operate the White House movie theater and even sleep in the White House in case the first family wants to watch a late show. I hate to be petty here, but can't they just press the play button?"
"We are paying someone to walk the President's dog, but we can't pay for a veteran to go on a White House tour?" she added, totaling Obama's taxpayer-funded spending on White House amenities to $1.4 billion.
Bash, however, caught up with her, and attempted to ask about the figures when Bachmann began outrunning her. After the reporter managed to keep her very brisk pace, the Congresswoman had no choice but to reply.
"You talked about the excesses that [Obama's] engaged in, the fact that he has a dog walker, which is not true," Bash said.
"The big point of my speech was about Benghazi," Bachmann deflected. "This was an absolute disaster."
Furthermore, Bachmann's figure of $1.4 billion misrepresents the White House's actual spending. More than half of that— around $800 million— is estimated to go exclusively to the Secret Service, according to Glen Kessler of The Washington Post. Another $271 million goes to the President's helicopter squadron.
Kessler also pointed out that George W. Bush's White House cost taxpayers $1.6 billion, which is significantly more than the incumbent's. The misleading reports Bachmann quoted appeared to stem from "The 1.4 Billion Dollar Man: Costs of the Obama White House," a book by writer John F. Groom.