RUSH: Bob Schieffer State of the Union last night, special coverage. Katie Couric talked to him about Michele Bachmann delivering a Tea Party response. Katie Couric said, ‘How serious do you see this chasm developing? The GOP leadership allowing Bachmann to speak out there after Paul Ryan? What’s going on, Bob? You have all the answers. What do you say about that?’
SCHIEFFER: The fact that the Republican leadership is letting Michele Bachmann make a second response here just underlines that! I mean, my heavens! Can you imagine what Sam Rayburn, when he was Speaker of the House, would have done if one of his members had said, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m gonna make a response, too,’ or Lyndon Johnson when he was the leader of the Senate? They are letting her make this speech because they’re afraid to tell her not to, because they know how powerful these Tea Party people were and the power they had in the last election.
RUSH: What happened to diversity making us strong? Whatever happened to that, Bob? I thought diversity was a pillar, one of the foundational building blocks of our great culture! Except when the Republicans exhibit some. We have some of Michele Bachmann and her response. Let’s listen to a couple or three of them.
BACHMANN: Let me show you a chart. Here are unemployment rates over the past ten years. In October of 2001, our national unemployment rate was at 5.3%. In 2008, it was at 6.8%. But just eight months after President Obama promised lower unemployment, that rate spiked to a staggering 10.1%. Today, unemployment is at 9.4% with about 400,000 new claims every week.
RUSH: The media made fun of her for using charts. They loved Perot when he did it. They also chided her for not looking into the camera. She didn’t look straight in the camera and people wondered what she was looking at. Here’s the next bite. This is Obamacare and lightbulbs.
BACHMANN: What did we buy? Instead of a leaner, smarter government we bought a bureaucracy that now tells us which lightbulbs to buy and which may put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama’s health care bill. In the end, unless we fully repeal Obamacare, a nation that currently enjoys the world’s finest health care might be forced to rely on government-run coverage. That could have a devastating effect on our national debt for even generations to come.
RUSH: And finally this.
BACHMANN: I thought Paul Ryan did a wonderful job, and this wasn’t at all competition with what the GOP official response was. The Tea Party Express asked me if I would speak to their constituency right after the State of the Union, and we would do that via Internet. It was actually the media over the weekend that decided to make this a competition. I spoke with the leadership, I’ve spoken with Paul Ryan, they all know that this had nothing to do with a competition — and we all go to the microphones after the State of the Union and speak to people across the country. The Republican Party and the Tea Party are actually fairly simpatico.
RUSH: And CNN covered it. (chuckles) Nobody saw it, but they covered it.
RUSH: By the way, I don’t mind somebody, Michele Bachmann a little clumsy in the use of the teleprompter. I don’t mind it at all. She probably didn’t need one, and that may be one of the reasons that she wasn’t looking at the camera. And one of the more hilarious headlines of the day is from Salon.com: ‘Why Does the GOP Hide its Agenda?’ It’s an article about Bachmann and Paul Ryan’s responses. (laughing) Hiding the agenda? They laid it out.