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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Michele Bachmann explains controversial comments



Michele Bachmann became the first major Republican presidential candidate to barnstorm the state this year, capping a six-city tour Monday in Miami where she sipped cafecitos, paid homage to Cuban Americans and kicked off a month of intensive GOP politicking in the state.

"We're going to be all over Florida because Florida chooses presidents. You choose presidents,"' Bachmann told dozens of supporters and onlookers at Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana.

Bachmann spent a little time Monday clearing up a few statements, such as her line that the recent hurricane and earthquake were evidence of the fact that God is trying to "get the attention of the politicians. … He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?'"

Bachmann on Monday said "it would be absurd and ridiculous to think" that she was pretending to know what God was thinking; she was just joking.

"If you know me, you know that I am a person who loves humor. I have a great sense of humor. And I think it's important to exhibit that humor sometimes when you're talking to a person as well," she said at Versailles after sipping Cuban coffee with her House colleague, Miami Rep. David Rivera. "I was being humorous when I said that because the American people have tried very hard to get the president's attention. He is not listening. And that was really the message."riverabachmann.jpg

Also, Bachmann explained her comments on whether she supports oil-and-gas exploration in the Everglades.

"Actually, what I have spoken about is the fact that God has so blessed the United States with natural energy resources. I haven't said specifically that we should be accessing energy there," she said.

"The American people are saying: Let's access this wonderful treasure trove of energy that God has given to us in this country. Let's access it responsibly. That's the answer. If we can access energy responsibly, we do it. If we can't, we don't. It's that simple."

Bachmann was rewarded with "drill baby drill!" crowd calls.

Story here. (AP photo: Rep. Rivera, left, with Bachmann and the owner of Versailles restaurant Felipe Valls)

[Last modified: Monday, August 29, 2011 7:23pm]


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