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Bachmann Boasts About Leading Weekly Constitution Classes In Congress, Then Waffles About Civil Liberties Under The PATRIOT Act

Reported by Ellen - October 13, 2010 -

Michele Bachmann visited the Glenn Beck show yesterday (10/12/10) where she and guest host Judge Andrew Napolitano wondered about the effects that winning Tea Party candidates will have on Washington, D.C. and vice versa. Bachmann said she plans to do her part to keep Tea Party legislators from being “so susceptible to melting” by conducting weekly classes on the Constitution for Congressional freshman. But no sooner had she invited Napolitano to be one of the guest experts, than he asked her whether the Tea Party would advocate for restoring civil liberties abolished under the Bush administration. Suddenly, Constitution-champion Bachmann began waffling and fumbling.

Bachmann told Napolitano, “I’m asking experts from around the country to come in every week and teach our Constitutional principles, and Judge, I'll ask you right now, on national TV, if you'll come in and be one of our experts and lead our members of Congress in these principles. I'm serious about this because we have to make sure that they know what it is that we are swearing to uphold.”

Napolitano said he was “deeply flattered” and acknowledged that the Tea Party doesn’t want “to spend more than we take in” or “ legislate in areas that the Constitution doesn't authorize.” But, he asked, “What about the area of civil liberties? For example, Congresswoman Bachmann, should the government be able to hack into your email without a search warrant from a judge?”

Bachmann immediately waffled. “I think that’s a very serious issue and one that I don't think anyone wants to see happen going forward.”

Napolitano pressed, “But it happens under the PATRIOT Act, which many Republicans, most respectfully, yourself included, voted for.”

“That's true,” she acknowledged. Then she waffled some more. “The PATRIOT Act was a bundle of different measures that were put together in response to the terror attack on 9/11. Clearly, the federal government needs to have the appropriate authority to deal with the issue of terror, but on the other hand it can't be at the expense of civil liberties. You know better than anyone else, Judge, that's what the Bill of Rights is all about — to secure our individual liberties from an overweening, huge, bureaucratic, large, big government. And so we've gotta get the balance and the tension right between individual liberties and the government's prerogative and duty to keep the American people safe.”

Napolitano didn’t mince his words. "You know if I teach that class for you I'm going to argue that it's not a balance. It's a bias - in favor of human freedom. Freedom is the default position."

“We’d love it. We’d love it if you do that,” Bachmann gushed.

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