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Rep. Michele Bachmann Raps First Lady Over Breastfeeding Crusade

3 years ago
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Accusing the first lady of trying to create a "nanny state," Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) came down on Michelle Obama for her crusade to make it easier for women to breastfeed.

In an interview Tuesday with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, Bachmann slammed the first lady's push to get mothers to breastfeed their children as a way to reduce childhood obesity, saying it amounted to too much government intervention.

As Politics Daily's Lynn Sweet reported, Michelle Obama will speak out to remove barriers to breastfeeding, following a recent White House push for relaxed workplace rules and an Internal Revenue Service ruling that breast pumps and other nursing supplies are eligible for tax breaks.

"I've given birth to five babies and I breast-fed every single one," Bachmann told Ingraham. "To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump...That's the new definition of a nanny state."

Bachmann, a tea party favorite and potential presidential candidate in 2012, said Michelle Obama believes "government is the answer to every problem" and her agenda is "very consistent with where the hard left is coming from."

The first lady said last week that babies who are breastfed longer have a lower tendency to grow up fat, and that it just makes sense to promote breastfeeding as part of her "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity.

"Breastfeeding is a very personal choice for every woman," Kristina Schake, Mrs. Obama's communications chief, told Politics Daily. "We are trying to make it easier for those who choose to do it."

Ingraham asked whether Bachmann believed Michelle Obama might take a page from Hillary Clinton and run for Senate someday.

"She might," Bachmann said. "Can you imagine if Laura Bush was doing that, out trying to pass her legislation? I think the media would have been after her."

Bachmann, a third-term congresswoman, made national headlines last year for her sharp criticisms of the White House and her embrace of the tea party. She went on to form a tea party caucus on Capitol Hill.

Bachmann's comments Tuesday were reminiscent of another high-profile conservative woman with possible presidential aspirations. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took aim late last year at the "Let's Move" campaign.

Palin, also on Laura Ingraham's radio show, said in December that the first lady's fight against obesity in children reflected "government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician's wife's priorities."

Palin criticized the first lady's call for the nation's food makers to produce and market healthier products.

"She is on this kick, right? What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat," Palin said.

For her part, Michelle Obama said last March that she doesn't want to demonize junk food and rejected as "extreme" criticism that she wanted the government to put warning labels on foods contributing to obesity.

At a forum on obesity, the first lady said she wanted to parents to have "information about what's in the Twinkie and how much of this we can eat."

Filed Under: Michelle Obama, Tea Party

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