As U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann heats up the 2012 Republican presidential race, attention has turned to the man behind the fiery Minnesota congresswoman.Although he tends to stay out of the spotlight, Marcus Bachmann, Michele Bachmann’s husband of 32 years, has wholeheartedly embraced his wife’s White House bid, abandoning his Christian counseling clinics in Minnesota to join her on the campaign trail.
By most accounts, Dr. Bachmann’s campaign role is unique — he describes himself as his wife’s political “strategist” but also doubles as a personal assistant, press secretary, and confidante. And his political and religious ideologies are reportedly completely in sync with his wife’s take-no-prisoners brand of Tea Party conservatism.
But who is Dr. Bachmann? Here are some interesting facts about the man who could be the nation’s first FHOTUS.
Dr. Bachmann has played a central role in Michele Bachmann's meteoric political ascent -- particularly when it comes to her wardrobe.
A self-described 'strategist' for his wife's campaign, Dr. Bachmann is the Congresswoman's body man, image consultant, and personal shopper. It's an important campaign role for any female politician and one Dr. Bachmann apparently does well.
'He's got a good sense of style,' Michele Bachmann told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2006, adding that before an event with then-Vice President Dick Cheney, Dr. Bachmann hit the stores for his wife and came home with 'a sleek, simple hourglass dress with a yoke collar in winter white....I just slipped it on.'
Many believe Dr. Bachmann has played a major role in his wife's religious evolution, and consequently, in developing her Tea Party brand of social conservatism.
As members of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, a particularly conservative brand of evangelical Protestantism, the Bachmanns believe that the wife's primary purpose is to be a 'submissive helper' to her 'godly husband.'
Michele Bachmann commented on that belief in a speech at a Minneapolis megachurch in 2006, where she told congregants that she got her degree in tax law not because she had any particular interest in taxes, but because it was what her husband wanted.
'Why should I go and do something like that?' she remembered thinking. ''But the Lord says, 'Be submissive wives; you are to be submissive to your husbands.''
While Michele Bachmann is widely known for her virulently anti-gay comments and opposition to same-sex marriage, her husband appears to abhor homosexuality with even greater fervor.
In an interview last year with a Christian radio program, Bachmann compared gays to 'barbarians,' and warned that accepting homosexuality would have disastrous social consequences.
'We have to understand: Barbarians need to be educated,' he said. 'They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn't mean that we are supposed to go down that road. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps.'
Minneapolis City Pages reports that Bachmann & Associates, the two Christian counseling centres Dr. Bachmann runs in Minnesota, has practiced 'reparative therapy,' which aims to 'convert' homosexuals to heterosexuality by helping them find salvation.
Dr. Bachmann has occasionally denied the rumours, but in a 2006 seminar titled 'The Truth About The Homosexual Agenda,' Bachmann presented three 'ex-gays' as proof that homosexuality is a choice that can be cured.
Bachmann & Associates employs 27 counselors including Dr. Bachmann, who use 'Christ-centered' methods to treat a range of mental health problems, including 'co-dependency', 'shame,' 'spiritual issues,' and marital problems.
Dr. Bachmann's virulent anti-gay comments have set off a firestorm among gay activists and supporters -- including Cher, an icon in the gay community.
Cher took to Twitter last week, where she went after Marcus Bachmann for his 'barbarian' comment and then suggested that Dr. Bachmann is gay himself.
Other notable commentators have also called Dr. Bachmann's sexual orientation into question, including pundit Andrew Sullivan, who compared Dr. Bachmann to Waiting for Guffman's Corky St. Clair.
His clinic gets more than $137,000 in Medicaid each year, even though Dr. Bachmann doesn't have a licence.
Dr. Bachmann is not registered with any of the three boards that certify mental health professionals in Minnesota, according to Politico.
But despite his lack of credentials, Bachmann & Associates has collected more than $137,000 in annual Medicaid payments for treating patients since 2005, NBC News reports, in addition to roughly $24,000 in federal and state grant funds that the clinic received to train staff on how to deal with clients suffering from chemical dependency and mental illness.
On the registry of national Medicare and Medicaid providers, Dr. Bachmann is listed as a psychologist but there is no licence number.
Dr. Bachmann, who grew up on a dairy farm, is also an owner of the Bachmann Family Farm Partnership, a 951-acre Wisconsin farm once owned by his father Paul Bachmann, who died in 2009.
The farm received nearly $260,000 in federal funds -- mostly corn and dairy subsidies -- from the U.S. Department of Agriculture between 1995 and 2008, according to the LAT.
Michele Bachmann's financial disclosure forms show that candidate received between $32,503 and $105,000 in income from the farm between 2006 and 2009.
The Bachmanns, who have five biological children ranging in age from 17 to 29, took in 23 foster children, all teenage girls, between 1992 and 2000.
The family received state funding for the kids, some of whom were enrolled in a University of Minnesota program for girls with eating disorder, the NYT reports.
Because of Dr. Bachmann's clinical background, the Bachmann home was legally defined as a treatment home, which qualified the family for a higher reimbursement rate from the state (the current rate is about $47 per child per day).
Bachmann has enthusiastically embraced his role as campaign spouse during his wife's bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Politico notes that he is ubiquitous on the campaign trail, acting as the candidate's confidante, travel assistant and media director.
Although he has largely remained on the sidelines, Dr. Bachmann hasn't been able to resist a few impromptu dances to Elvis Presley's 'Promised Land' at the end of her campaign events.
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