Decoding Michele Bachmann's New Book

Michele Bachmann—or at least her publicity manager—did her research. The Prospect received an early copy of Bachmann’s new book, "Core of Conviction: My Story," last week. In honor of the book’s release today, we’ve compiled the five “Best of Bachmann” moments from the book.

1. Bachmann’s great-great-grandfather won a farm from Jesse James in a game of poker. Bachmann claims that Halvor Munson won a farm in Iola, Kansas, playing poker with Jesse James on a river raft. According to a short biography on Munson, written by a family genealogist, it is likely that Munson did meet Jesse James (before his name became synonymous with outlaws of the American West), but the claim that he won a farm from James is nothing more than family lore.

2. Bachmann is not a fan of Gore Vidal. She even goes so far as to insinuate that Vidal’s book, Burr, prompted her to change her party affiliation to Republican. She refers to Vidal as “snotty” and “disgusting.” She spends two pages slamming the novel for showing Aaron Burr as a hero. Telling history from Burr’s perspective is, of course, the point of the novel. Apparently, Bachmann hasn’t spent much time reading fiction. She finishes by assuring her audience that she “never, of course, read another Gore Vidal novel.”

3. Every parent occasionally miscalculates a child’s age; most don’t do so in a published book. Predictably, Bachmann invokes her “five biological children” often. She refers to her sons being five- and two-years-old in 1988. Several pages later, she notes that they’re five years apart; the boys were born in 1982 and 1987.

4. Bachmann steers clear of religion in discussing New Heights Charter School. In the book, Bachmann claims that parents withdrew their children from New Heights Charter School, which she helped found, because of the school’s focus on “at-risk kids with lower levels of academic achievement.” Ryan Lizza’s article for The New Yorker, which quotes parents and the school’s superintendent, notes that Bachmann was forced to step down because of the school’s religious orientation.

5. Bachmann glorifies her Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act of 2008. If the bill’s name seems laughable, wait until you hear her description of compact florescent lightbulbs: They “aren’t lightbulbs at all: they’re squiggly-shaped things and sort of dark even when lit.” Although CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury, the notion that “your home could be declared a hazmat site” if one breaks is a slight exaggeration.