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Michelle Bachmann brands Planned Parenthood a criminal enterprise

WASHINGTON -- Sounding every bit like a candidate on the campaign trail, Rep. Michele Bachmann scorched President Barack Obama’s Israel policy Friday, urged conservative activists to block the new health care law in their states and branded Planned Parenthood a criminal enterprise.

Speaking to scores of conservatives at a Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, Bachmann gave a sample of what her key themes are likely to be if she enters the race for the 2012 Republican nomination as expected. She said 2012 presents a prime opportunity for conservatives to take make headway on the abortion issue and a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Bachmann, R-Stillwater, called for defunding of Planned Parenthood, which provides family planning programs and other services for women, such as cancer screenings, breast exams and HIV testing.

“We’re giving money to corrupt groups like Planned Parenthood,” an organization that she said is “committing crimes and enabling young, minor girls. This organization has by their own records performed 324,008 abortions in 2008 and 2009, and that’s in addition to the trafficking of underage girls that has gone on under Planned Parenthood’s nose.”

Planned Parenthood said in a statement that the organization has an excellent track record of providing care to millions of women and teens.

“The health and safety of patients is our No. 1 priority and Planned Parenthood has a zero-tolerance policy for any staff member who does not comply with the law in reporting threats to the welfare of a minor,” the statement said. “Planned Parenthood takes very seriously the trust placed in us by the public.”

Having won a third term to the House of Representatives last November, Bachmann, 55, is weighing a presidential bid. Political experts expect the tea party champion to enter the fray, and there have been more signs recently that she’s preparing to announce her candidacy.

On Wednesday, Bachmann’s chief of staff, Andy Parrish, notified staff via e-mail that he was taking a leave of absence to work for Bachmann in a different capacity. And CNN announced Friday that Bachmann would be among seven Republican 2012 prospects participating in the first presidential debate in New Hampshire, on June 13. Bachmann has said she intends to reveal her decision this month.

If she enters the race, Bachmann would join fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty, the former governor, in a GOP field that includes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a 2008 candidate who is considered the frontrunner. The field also includes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Georgia businessman Herman Cain and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

While Bachmann did not announce her candidacy during her speech Friday, she reiterated her goal of making Obama a one-term president. She harshly criticized the president’s recent remarks on settling the territorial dispute between Israel and Palestinians and declared her support for Israel.

“President Obama speaks for a very tiny minority,” Bachmann said. “He may be president of the United States, but he doesn’t speak for us on the issue of Israel.”

Bachmann also repeated her assertion that Obama and Democrats hid $105 billion in funding for the health care law, a charge that several fact-finding organizations have debunked. She urged the activists in the audience to “work in your states to prevent the early implementation of ObamaCare.”

“I will not rest until we repeal ObamaCare,” Bachmann shouted, bringing many in the crowd to their feet with applause.

On the issue of gay marriage, Bachmann said she was encouraged by what she sees happening at the state level, citing the Minnesota legislature’s recent decision to put the question of gay marriage before voters in a 2012 referendum.

“This is the time,” Bachmann said. “If you don’t have an amendment in your state, consider it.”

Bachmann pointed out she and her husband have raised five children and 23 foster children and will celebrate their 33rd anniversary this year. But, she added, the latest U.S. Census data offers depressing statistics on marriage. The bureau’s latest survey found that the percentage of people in their late 20s who have been married was 53 percent in 2009, compared to 73 percent in 1986.

“Marriage is under siege like no other time in America,” Bachmann said.

In closing, Bachmann led the audience in prayer. Afterward, she declined to expand on her charge about the alleged trafficking of young girls as she was being whisked away from reporters. But she did reiterate that she believes Obama is vulnerable.

“He’s at a very low ebb right now,” Bachmann said, “as far as public opinion polls are concerned.”

Yet, a recent Suffolk University poll found Obama’s favorability rating at 51 percent, compared to 42 percent who had an unfavorable view. The favorable-unfavorable results for Bachmann were 20 percent and 28 percent, respectively.



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