Archive for Thursday, August 11, 2011

Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann points to foster parenting — on her terms

August 11, 2011


— From her first campaign to her latest, Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann has used her time as a foster parent to help create an image of a family-focused Christian driven by compassion and social conviction.

Now, with the national spotlight shining bright, the Minnesota congresswoman is claiming her family is off limits.

In this instance, Bachmann is trying to have it both ways and may end up undercutting an authentic streak that’s helped her rise in polling to challenge the front-runner for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney.

“I am running for the presidency of the United States,” Bachmann said recently when asked to comment on reports of controversial treatments offered at her husband’s counseling clinic and about the family’s federally subsidized home loan. “My husband is not running for the presidency. Neither are my children. Neither is our business. Neither is our foster children.”

Yet, when it suits her, Bachmann mentions that she and her husband have been “the proud foster parents of 23 great children.” And she portrays her entry into foster parenting as an act of faith, saying that she and husband Marcus, a trained therapist, were following the lead of fellow parishioners at her church.

“Our hearts were broken for at-risk kids,” she said last month in an unpublicized appearance at Jonathan House, a communal center in Washington for young Christian men.

In a brief interview last spring, Bachmann told The Associated Press that her house had as many as nine children at once, her own five plus four more. She gave a similar account at Jonathan House, according to video someone in attendance posted on the Internet.

“We brought our first child in and we got a phone call. ‘Would we take another?’ And we did. Got a phone call, ‘Would you take another?’ And we did. Got another phone call. ‘Would you take another?’ And we did,” Bachmann said.

“Then we said, ‘Hold on just a minute,”’ she added. “We had another biological baby, and by that point we had a census of nine kids in the house. And at that point we couldn’t all sit around a table, so we had to blow out a wall and make our kitchen bigger.”

Bachmann talks about foster parenting in mostly abstract terms and never mentions the children by name. The government considers their identities protected. One located by the AP wouldn’t comment, and none has come forward to tell his or her story for attribution. Former neighbors confess having only vague recollections, if any at all, of the foster children.

The little that is known about this part of her life was pieced together from interviews and spotty public records.

The Bachmanns were first licensed as child foster care providers in 1992, when they were living in the scenic town of Stillwater, east of St. Paul, on the St. Croix River.

George Hendrickson, who managed Bachmann cases for several years through the Professional Association of Treatment Homes placement agency, remembers visiting a well-kept home big enough so that the foster children and the Bachmann kids didn’t have to share bedrooms. He said he found Bachmann to be relaxed, organized and engaging.


tbaker 6 years, 10 months ago

Picking apart a family's desire to care for foster kids. Brian Bakst should be ashamed of himself. What a piece of trash.

kernal 6 years, 10 months ago

Seems we can count on Ms. Bachmann for tea bagger irony on a regular basis. That has it's entertainment value but not good presidential material.

jaywalker 6 years, 10 months ago

you discount your opinion as soon as you type 'bagger'.

Mixolydian 6 years, 10 months ago

Promoting foster care (Good, very good) and telling the media that her specific foster kids are off limits is not contradictory or hypocritical.

What a piece of trash writing.

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 10 months ago

Whether or not she was a good foster parent doesn't have much to do with whether or not she'd be a good president.

jaywalker 6 years, 10 months ago

bad judgement? in what way?
And when did she say "no one has the right to ask about them"? She's correct in saying that she's running for prez, not her family.

BTW, nice screen name. There's help available, seek it out.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

I actually have to give it up to Brownback; he doesn't use the fact that he has adopted children as a political chip. As for Bachmann, I'm willing to leave her kids out of the picture; foster, adopted or bio. That should be a simple no-no on either side (despite the fact that Glenn Beck has no problem taking potshots at Obama's kids on a regular basis). But her husband and business? Not so much. This woman is an elected representative and makes a salary a lot of people only dream about. Despite that, her husband has received Medicaid payments for a psych practice that uses highly questionable, unproven and unsanctioned treatment methods. (Can we say, "Pray away the gay"?) That business has also received SBA loans. She and her husband have also received Federal housing mortgage assistance for their residence. Doubt me? She's an elected representative running for President. Her personal finances are open and online in compliance with the law. I guess for her it really is "good to be Queen". In Minnesota, at least.

jaywalker 6 years, 10 months ago

What in the good name of Oprah does Glenn Beck have to do with anything relative to what this topic is? And her finances are open and compliant with the law?????? So your problem is..........................................................?

tomatogrower 6 years, 10 months ago

You forget she gets payments for the foster children too. Would she still take them in, if the government cut off those payments? Maybe, but I doubt if she has turned down that government payment.

jaywalker 6 years, 10 months ago

Why should she? She's taking in children that aren't her own and would be wards of the state anyway. Wanna bet it's more expensive to have those kids in an orphanage?

KEITHMILES05 6 years, 10 months ago

How'd she get elected to office in Minnesota? Considering it's one of the more liberal states she must be quit the queen bee.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

Her district is the wealthiest district in the state, north of Minneapolis. It's the "Johnson County" of Minnesota. Other than that, you're pretty much right. Minnesota actually has a third party in power called the DFL (Democrat-Farm-Labor, which does affiliate with the Democratic party) at the state level. in a weird piece of twisted strangeness, if Bachmann gets the GOP nod, there's every possibility she won't carry her home state. Although there's been GOTP encroachment there as well. Remember how hotly contested Al Franken's seat was and how long it took for his election to be certified.

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