GOP presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said she was insulted Sunday morning when Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked her whether she is a “flake?”
“You have a history of questionable statements, some would say gaffes ... Are you a flake?” Wallace said.
“Well, I think that would be insulting, to say something like that, because I’m a serious person,” Bachmann responded.
I’m no Bachmann supporter, but she's right that Wallace’s question was phrased in a demeaning way and reinforces gender stereotypes. It’s unlikely he would have asked a male politician a similar question.
A Google search shows the phrase “flaky women” is used more than twice as much as “flaky men” (6.4 million to 2.5 million). I didn’t hear anyone call President Barack Obama “flaky” last week when he blamed our country’s economic woes on ATMs.
Here's the full transcript of the exchange from Fox News' site:
WALLACE: Finally, let's talk about Michele Bachmann because -- and you say -- it's interesting. You say that the people saw in the debate and saw you as a serious person. I don't have to tell you that you have -- the rap on you here in Washington is that you have a history of questionable statements, some would say gaffes, ranging from -- talking about anti-America members of Congress -- on this show -- a couple of months ago, when you suggested that NATO airstrikes had killed up to 30,000 civilians.
Are you a flake?
BACHMANN: Well, I think that would be insulting, to say something like that, because I'm a serious person.
WALLACE: But you understand when I say that, that that's what the rap on you is?
BACHMANN: Well, I would say is that I am 55 years old. I've been married 33 years. I'm not only a lawyer, I have a post doctorate degree in federal tax law from William and Mary. I work in serious scholarship and work in the United States federal tax court.
My husband and I raised five kids. We've raised 23 foster children. We've applied ourselves to education reform. We started a charter school for at-risk kids.
I've also been a state senator and a member of United States Congress for five years. I've been very active in our business.
As a job creator, I understand job creation. But also I've been leading actively the movement in Washington, D.C., with those who are affiliated with fiscal reform.
WALLACE: Do you -- do you -- and I think it's important to say that. But do you recognize that now that you're in the spotlight, in a way that you weren't before, that you have to be careful and not say what some regard as flaky things?
BACHMANN: Well, of course, a person has to be careful what statements that they make. I think that's true. And I think now, there will be an opportunity to be able to speak fully on the issues. I look forward to that.