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Editorial: Bachmann and 'extortion'

Much has been made of the comments made by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, regarding the British Petroleum oil spill. It will be interesting to see if remarks made by one of Minnesota's U.S. House representatives will get similar exposure -- and deserved heavy criticism.

Bachmann, no stranger to controversial musings, was speaking recently at a luncheon of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, in Washington. She advised BP not to be "chumps" or get "fleeced" to pay for "perpetual unemployment and all the rest" -- they've got to be legitimate claims." In a subsequent interview, she remarked, "It seems that it's all about extortion -- and that's what they want to do is create a pot of money for themselves that they can control and that's not what the executive is supposed to do."

One would expect Bachmann to find softball questions lobbed at her by Fox News, but that's not what she got from Bill O'Reilly Friday night. O'Reilly quickly put Bachmann on the defensive, asking "If the executive branch, the presidency, isn't going to force BP to pony up the money, who will? Who would?" Later, O'Reilly added, "I think Obama did absolutely the right thing by putting maximum amount of pressure on these weasels." The interview doesn't get much better from there for Bachmann (the video can be found online).

Bachmann has gotten away with remarks that can be best described as questionable in the past. Will she emerge unscathed in November? One thing's certain: She's a bigger target for national Democrats than ever before.