If you want to find out who is behind Michele Bachmann’s migraine story woes, consider the fact that three former Bachmann staffers are supporting Tim Pawlenty.
In March 2006, migraines Bachmann suffered in the aftermath of an appendectomy prolonged her recovery from surgery, causing her to suspend her campaign and miss a week of work in the Minnesota state Senate, where she served at the time.
A migraine attack in May 2010 forced Bachmann to retreat to her congressional office and lie down in the dark. She managed to attend early afternoon congressional votes before flying to California to attend two political events, but she was in pain much of the time and sought emergency treatment. When Congress reconvened the following Tuesday, Bachmann missed a day of votes.
In July 2010, Bachmann missed eight House votes while being treated and released for a migraine by a Washington hospital. Her staff at the time said an unspecified illness was the reason for the missed votes. The attack caused her to cancel a campaign trip. According to her own account, it took her four days to recover.
Here’s Karl Rove on Fox News today telling Bachmann to get on top of this:
Rove said, “For the Bachmann campaign, this is the first big challenge. It’s evidence of what happens when you jump up into the top ring of these polls, and the kind of scrutiny that you get. It’s going to be important for her to get her doctors out there quickly to provide medical records and to provide the reassurance that people are going to want to have that this is not a serious issue.”
This is GOP primary politics 101. Republicans like to anoint their frontrunner, and when an insurgent candidate like a Michele Bachmann gets in the way, they mount a campaign to take the Un-Chosen One out. It is not a coincidence that just as Bachmann is overtaking Mitt Romney in many polls, this story about her migraines hits the media.
The motives behind the timing of the story are put into an even more dubious light by the fact that it was Tucker Carlson’s conservative website that broke the story.
So far the campaigns of Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitt Romney have all denied pushing the story, but only one candidate is actively out there turning Bachmann’s headaches into a political issue. Today Tim Pawlenty spoke about Bachmann’s health, “Setting all that aside, all of the candidates, I think, are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job all of the time. There’s no real time off in that job.”
It is possible that the Pawlenty campaign is telling the truth that they didn’t push the story, but maybe they didn’t have to. A trio of former Bachmann staffers including a former chief of staff and a campaign manager both announced in late March that they were backing Tim Pawlenty. If Bachmann’s migraines were as common knowledge as some media reports suggest, then these two working “independently” of the campaign could have taken the story to The Daily Caller, and also played the role of the unnamed individuals quoted in the piece.
Since Bachmann’s surge, the Pawlenty campaign has hit the skids. Pawlenty is in a do or die situation in Iowa. His supporters would have everything to gain and nothing to lose by sinking Bachmann. The GOP establishment knows that Bachmann can’t beat Obama. By helping Romney win the nomination, Pawlenty or his supporters may be hoping that this will make the former Minnesota governor the favorite to be Romney’s running mate.
Once all campaign is over and the books are written about the 2012 election, I don’t know if anyone would be surprised if it was former staffers aligned with another campaign that tried to sink Michele Bachmann.