January 25th, 2011
11:07 AM ET
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Howard Waters

    This is just the latest in the tea party's unceasing campaign for the stupidification of the United States of America. Can an elected official REALLY be so cosmically ignorant of our Nation's history? Or are statements such as these merely evidence of her consummate contempt for the credulity and ignorance of her listeners? One of the worst things about this whole tea party cult is its obsessive lies about American history, coupled with its followers flouncing around in wigs and colonial costumes and behaving as if they own some kind of exclusive copyright to Ammerica's Constitution.

    January 26, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  2. Cal Engime

    Ironically, the ubiquitous "No Irish Need Apply" sign is a myth.

    January 26, 2011 at 5:49 am |
  3. Sean

    I think that this response by AC to Bachmann are exactly why there is such a divide in politics and the gives the impression of media bias. Bachmann is not "changing facts" as much as pointing out the positive effects of the ideals of the founding fathers. Some founding fathers owned slaves. Some did not. Most including Thomas Jefferson understood it was morally wrong. And yet John Adams and Quincy Adams worked to end slavery. As did others. The 3/5 law was an anti-slavery law. In all, bachmann's statements are true to the extent that founding fathers provided an environment for immigrants to have a chance, for slavery to be abolished. They were written with our modern interpretation in mind. They didn't just move the needle, they invented the gauges. Even if the fulfillment of those ideals was not achieved in their lifetime does not mean that they were not established, supported and developed by those forefathers.

    The error is not in the facts. The mistake is that most in our country will point out a seeming hypocrisy like Jefferson owning slaves while writing "all men are created equal" without an understanding of the volatile situation this country was in and assume that Jefferson did not truly mean everyone.

    AC's comments about rooting out fact because it's important only demonstrates that there was no attempt to understand the statements that were made.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:21 am |
  4. Valerie

    History is too important to be glossed over with platitudes. I shudder at the thought that our political leaders would misuse it, twist it, or even naively misinterpret it. Please keep up the good work of calling statements like these into the limelight they deserve.

    January 25, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  5. Mike H.

    Michele Bachmann mentioned miracles. Well she didn't mention the miracle of avoiding another great depression. I never thought that the unemployment rate would stay below 8%. I believe that the measures Obama took kept the unemployment rate from going to 15-20%.

    Thank You Obama.

    January 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  6. George Kuck

    Ms Bachmann has again flubbbed history. Tonight she referred to GI's raising the flag on Iwo Jima–it was MARINES and sailors that raised the colors over Mt. Suribachi!!

    January 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  7. Robert

    Please point out that Michelle Bachman's pretty graph showing unemployment from 2001-2011 did not include Pres Bush's last year, 2008! She must think the media and citizens are not too smart. Please expose this:)

    January 25, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    John Quincy Adams father was John Adams, second President of the US and a legitimate founding father who signed the Declaration of Independence and served in the Continental Congress. Additionally, Washington and Jefferson freed their slaves upon their deaths.

    It is not just congresswomen who have less than a perfect grasp on history; many young people do not as well. I have come to the conclusion that for congress people and the populace as a whole there is a great need for a book like History for Dummies – the basics you need to know about America's history so you do not make a fool of yourself.

    January 25, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  9. Curt

    Rep. Bachmann is an example of what happens when you spend all your time finding fault with your opponents rather than doing something positive. In the past she has devoted quite a bit of time criticizing democrats and acting morally superior. Now she is finding out what it is like to be criticized for not living up to other's standards. Democrats are just as guilty. A lesson we should all learn. Let's quit spending time cutting each other down and spend more time trying to solve the problems we all face as Americans.

    January 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  10. Michelle

    she's a dork

    January 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  11. jerry

    @Jon Darby/Montgomery AL

    I think Steve was referring to John Adams upbringing.
    He was NOT dirt poor but his father was a farmer/shoemaker.
    It was his father's wish that Adams get a formal education.

    Steve is correct about the 3/5ths compromise being ANTI slavery.

    The truth is, a civil war was necessary.
    A civil war during Washington or Adams administrations would have likely led to British rule.
    It took courage and timing to allow the war to end slavery to occur.

    January 25, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  12. Bozo

    I feel better now. Slavery ended decades before the civil war due to the tireless efforts of founding fathers such as John Quincy Adams (who was apparently only 8 years old when he signed the Declaration of Independence). Not only that, but everyone was treated equally when they came to this country. Italians, Irish, Chinese, all the rest. That's at least 20 or 30 years less slavery and a very enlightened culture we have come from, thanks to Michele Bachmann!
    Bless you Representative Bachmann. Could you say something about how the Native Americans were treated fairly too? That would make me feel even better!
    Maybe after we finish printing the new history books, we can get rid of the old ones with an old fashion book burning!

    January 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  13. TH

    Thanks, Anderson. We need more journalism like this. Shine the light of truth on the ignorant and make them and all who blindly follow them flinch.

    January 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  14. murphy j

    no wonder our country is in such trouble.it is hard to believe that people are willing to elect the people they do. maybe a mental test should be reguired before someone is allowed to run for office or even to vote.

    January 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  15. Mike

    Not sure where Michelle Bachmann learned history. Coming from an elected member of Congress, this is utterly shameful.

    January 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  16. Green Teeth

    Hey Anderson, why don't you quiz other members of the congress to see what history scholars they are. She made emphatically noted the evils of slavery and the stain that it is on our history. But, not good enough for you. You had to point out the historical mistakes. I bet most all of the posters here would have never picked up on the errors if you didn't spell them out for them. Most probably didn't notice when Obama referenced our 57 states. But I guess that is o.k. with you, huh?

    January 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  17. Alex Steward

    Thank you! Anderson Cooper for highlighting what was an obvious attempt to mislead the American people.

    For too long people have relegated their critical thinking to bunch of opinionated journalism. Most of people have decided to believe in only their version of reality but I think people of either partisan stripe will see this nugget from Mrs. Bachman for what it really is.

    January 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  18. Pastafaria

    I challenge any conservatives reading this to come up with an explanation for the errors in Bachmann's speech other than that she is a liar and/or an idiot? Any takers?

    January 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  19. BettyAnn, Nacogdoches,TX

    These 21st century politicians are a trip! What a public farce Bachman and Palin are. . . just to name a few.

    January 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  20. Terri

    Thanks Anderson for keeping them real.

    Obviously neither Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin were raised by Tiger Mothers or they would have been eaten at birth........

    January 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  21. Kim

    Name the instruments that Abraham Lincoln played and who was his body guard ? Who was Ward Hill Lamon ? Take a history book and read it next time. Go Bachmann !

    January 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  22. Jill

    "The FOUNDING FATHERS worked tirelessly until slavery was extinguished?" Really? Did they do this from beyond the grave? Was Abe Lincoln channeling Thomas Jefferson? Michelle, I'm intrigued. Please, tell us more.

    January 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  23. Yuengling

    I think she learned history from Family Feud: "Survey shows.... Abraham Lincoln was a founding father." Heaven help us.

    January 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  24. Cassadia

    I hope this is not a one-time event for AC. With the demise of Countdown, I hope a less histrionic version of what Olbermann has been doing will catch on.

    And it won't hurt anybody to learn a little history along the way. To wit: what motivated JQAdams and assured his place in history was not slavery itself, but an attempt in Congress to table in perpetuity the petitions being sent to them by (mostly) women citizens on the subject of slavery. The Constitution's First Amendment guaranteed the citizen's right to petition for a redress of grievances. It was curtailing that right that got JQA up on his soapbox.

    January 25, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  25. Jon Darby/Montgomery AL


    By what criteria was John Adams a "dirt poor farmer"? He was a lawyer and while he was often plagued with debt until his later years he was not impoverished- he owned land, rental property, and had a law practice. By the time of his death he was quite wealthy by the standards of his time and place.
    For that matter by what criteria was George Washington a "career military man"? He served the British for 4 years (1754-1758) then spent 17 years as a full-time planter and businessman and sometime legislator before returning to the armed forces for 7 years. That means he spent 11 years of his life as active duty military, not even enough to qualify for a livable pension. For that matter he was more aristocratic than Jefferson, whose maternal grandfather was a ship's captain and whose father was illiterate until he was grown- true he inherited a lot of property but that does not an aristocrat make.
    If you are indeed an award winning Columbia historian then I'm guessing your field is not 18th century America.

    January 25, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  26. Theresa

    Thank you for pointing out Michele Bachman's errors. Unfortunately she and Sara Palin serve up their remarks as facts. What's worse is their followers believe they are facts. I live in Minnesota and want the world to know we all don't support her.

    January 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  27. DJS

    I'd like to ask commentator Steve just what history awards he has won at Columbia College (University). The fact remains that Bachman's so-called tireless opponents of slavery apparently felt so strongly about it that they accepted the institution of slavery as a matter for the states. Beyond the 3/5 compromise, the graver deficit was in assenting to a notion of federalism in which (state) governments could overtly deprive people of their liberty (the absence of the right to vote was obviously just the tip of the iceberg) and remain in good standing in the union.

    The bigger point about history is that it illustrates the folly, or perhaps the danger, of omitting inconvenient sections of the Constitution when the new Congress insisted on reading it - or most of it - as a political stunt earlier this month.

    January 25, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  28. gina

    I am 57 years old, have always thought that when women got into government the world would be a better place. Michele Bachman, Sara Palin and the likes are not only a bitter dissapointment to all women but a hugh embarassment in there lack of knowledge,lack of compassion and there meanspirited remarks.

    January 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  29. Patzilla

    MB and the likes of her (SP) are a tremendous shame to the intelligence of women in politics. Who are the sickos who vote these people into office?

    January 25, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  30. Leslie Gamble

    Good job calling out Ms Bachman regarding her "rewriting" of history. Thank you. That was done in a calm, factual and informative manner, people actually may have learned something. I used to watch Keith Oberman on MSNBC and he was just too angry and fast talking, someone I could watch on occasion but certainly not regularly. Please keep up the good work, best thing I have seen on CNN in a while.

    January 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  31. Steve

    Sadly, I think it is Anderson that is flubbing history here.
    This coming from an award winning historian from Columbia College (University).
    While the categorizing of JQ Adams as a founder is open to interpretation (he was certainly aware of, and in contact with his father during the entire revolutionary period, including being with him on his overseas postings, and also is credited with "The Monroe Doctrine"; the 3/5ths rule was, in fact, an ANTI slavery compromise.
    Three southern states, Mississippi and the Carolinas insisted on both full representation of slaves, and lack of any rights for slaves. They refused to ratify the Constitution without this.
    The northern states refused to allow additional PRO slavery representatives based on the refusal to give full rights to the slaves and thus worked out this compromise in order to prevent more pro slavery reps in congress.
    More importantly, the slave trade was BANNED effective in 1809 and it was during Jackson's administration, and the Missouri compromise that was the beginning of the END of the founder's vision of what America should be.
    Additionally, there were no slaves at the founding of the colonies, rather indentured servants of ALL nationalities. The very first slave holder in this country was actually an African American in Massachusetts, who refused to liberate his indentured servant.
    The treatment of various ethnic minorities by individuals (and I am a member of a small minority) is quite another matter and not a function of the Constitution but rather social mores and individual perceptions.
    In point of fact, Bachmann is totally correct in her views of the founders, who ranged from the dirt poor farmer Adams, to the aristocratic Jefferson, to the career military man, Washington (as still today, the military serves as a means of social advancement, as it did for Washington).
    What makes our founding unique, is that, as Bachmann pointed out, for the first time in history, the best minds, not the best minds of the aristocracy, contributed to the thinking behind our founding. The difference is startling and is nowhere seen more clearly than in the success of the American revolution, and the failure of the French.

    January 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  32. William Rector Erwin Jr.

    I was impressed to hear some history in Mr. Cooper's comments about Ms. Bachman: The Founding Fathers worried about slavery and discussed it. They then compromised. The REST of the story is also important & should have been included: Had the Founders attacked slavery at that time, before world opinion swung on a custom around since Adam & Eve, then the Thirteen Colonies would not have united. When appropriate, it should also be noted, the Civil War Sesquicentennial underway, that the same situation existed in 1860 even though the British Anti-Slavery Movement was underway worldwide. Consequently, the country fractured when later it might not have . Maybe there is a slight hope for CNN.

    January 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  33. Meaghan

    I teach middle school students US history, and any student in my class (or any class I've taught in almost 10 years) would know that those statements are false.

    January 25, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  34. tm

    She needs to be told that she doesn't have the qualifications to run for office.
    We need a President like Bill Clinton, who was knowledgeable in history, foreign polices & economic affairs.
    She also lacks compassion for the poor & disabled who rely on medical aid.


    January 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  35. Diane

    Thank you, Anderson, for "Keeping them honest". Congresswoman Bachmann's rhetoric has been inflammatory and misleading on many issues. The work you do addressing this type of misinformation is critical in order for us to have informed and honest exchanges about the issues we face as a nation. Opinions of pundits have replaced good journalistic reporting and examination of the facts. I hope CNN continues to support the important work you do. Your program examines the issues even if it makes us uncomfortable which is important if we are to think critically about the difficult challenges we face. Please continue to "keep us honest".

    January 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm |