Bachmann gives Obama a thumbs down; takes criticism too

GOP presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) gave a resounding thumbs down to President Obama's jobs speech on Thursday night.

During her response, the Minnesota lawmaker said she was "disappointed" with the ideas that Obama presented to Congress.

She took offense that Obama called the House a "political circus," saying that he called for the Joint Session of Congress.

"For the president to call the members of congress back today, and he called it a political circus - that was an unfortunate use of terms because this wasn't at the behest of congress, this was the president who called 535 members back to hear what I believe was nothing more than a political speech," Bachmann said.

Bachmann wasn't in the chamber when Obama gave his address. The congresswoman's flight was delayed due to the day-long downpour of rain in the D.C. area so, she listened to the president's speech over the radio on her way to the Capitol.

There was no official Republican response to the president's speech, but earlier in the day Bachmann scheduled a press conference to respond on her own.

The move did not sit well with some other House Republicans who accused her of “show boating.”

The lawmakers, who requested anonymity, told The Hill that the GOP presidential nominee hopeful scheduled the conference in “panic” after her performance at the GOP presidential debate Wednesday night in California.

“This is just show boating theater that she’s doing. I doubt very many people will watch. What do we need, another speech?,” one lawmaker told The Hill, noting that the NFL season opener would be under way by the time Bachmann held her 8:30 p.m. EDT news conference.

An image of the NFL opener popped up on one of the TV screens in the press room as Bachmann gave her news conference.

Another high-ranking GOP lawmaker said “it’s clearly a desperate attempt to become relevant again. Three weeks, she’s lost her momentum, she’s lost her campaign team, and last night, she was about as close to irrelevant in the debate as I’ve ever seen.”

A third GOP House member noted that Bachmann gave an official response to the president’s State of the Union Address earlier this year — that went head to head with the official GOP response delivered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

That lawmaker agreed that Bachmann scheduled Thursday night's press conference to regain the spotlight for her presidential bid.

"She’s panicking, she’s in ‘try-to-catch-up’ mode. I don’t think she had a good time [Wednesday night at the presidential debate]," the member told The Hill.

Bachmann said that she would not take questions regarding her presidential bid at the press conference because she was holding the media event on Capitol grounds in her official capacity as a member of Congress.

Becky Rogness, Bachmann's press secretary, told The Hill that the Minnesota lawmaker is simply doing her job.

"By giving her reaction to the President's speech, Congresswoman Bachmann will be doing exactly what members of Congress do after most presidential addresses to Congress. Constituents expect to hear a response from their elected representatives and that's exactly what she'll be doing," Rogness said.

This story was originally posted at 5:40 p.m. and has been updated.

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