On CNN's Starting Point Tuesday morning, GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann surprised interviewer Soledad O'Brien by arguing that social issues had no bearing on the 2012 election, accusing O'Brien of using gotcha questions when the host tried to grill her about some anti-gay comments she made in 2004.
Soledad O'Brien Takes on Michele Bachmann
The Starting Point interview turned testy when O'Brien took Bachmann to task for a series of homophobic comments she made at an Educators Conference in 2004.
You have taken a lot of flak for some of your very strong social issues, where you stand on them, and I want to talk about some of them, O'Brien said. Your stance on homosexuality.
You said, at the Educators Conference in 2004, 'Gays live a very sad life,' and that 'it's part of Satan,' and that's a quote, O'Brien said. You've taken a lot of flak for that. Do you pull back on any of that?
'It's a gotcha question.'
Michele Bachmann did not pull back from her statement. In fact, the primary candidate, on the day of the 2012 Iowa caucus, refused to consider her statements at all.
It's a bizarre thing to bring up, Bachmann said. She then went on to argue that when it came to the next president, social issues were negligible, an interesting tact for a candidate who's based much of her campaign on a family values platform.
Today is the election, Bachmann argued. What people recognize is that the most important issue that people will be looking at is, 'Who is the best person to deal with the economy?'
O'Brien, however, refused to back down. What you're telling me is you don't want to discuss social issues because you want to talk about the economy? the CNN interviewer countered. I don't think it's a bizarre question. I think it's a fair question.
It's a gotcha question, Bachmann argued, coming way out of the past.
'Personal Bondage, Personal Despair and Personal Enslavement'
In fact, O'Brien chose some of Bachmann's less inflammatory statements to examine during the CNN interview.
Though she prefaced the statement by saying she was not bashing people who are homosexuals, Michele Bachmann went on to call the LGBT community victims of sexual dysfunction and sexual identity disorders.
Earlier in the conference, she said being gay meant personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.
She finished by saying that while Minnesota residents should feel profound compassion for the LGBT community, bringing it into the mainstream and giving it legitimacy would impact every man, woman and child in the state.
Bachmann: 'I say what I mean.'
Although Michele Bachmann continued to assert that O'Brien was using gotcha journalism, she did re-affirm her belief that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples. She then went on to state the other (apparently unimportant) social issues she stood behind.
I stand very strong for marriage between one man and one woman. I believe in protecting human life from conception until natural death. I believe in the family, I believe in religious liberty and for people to practice their faith freely, Bachmann said.
I say what I mean, the GOP presidential hopeful concluded. I'm very consistent. People know that they can count on me. I won't be shifting my positions over the years.
As votes start pouring in for the 2012 Iowa caucus, Bachmann is looking to make a surprise comeback after a swift fall this autumn. Saturday's Des Moines Register poll shows her in sixth place, with seven percent supporting her candidacy.
Below, take a look at the interview between Bachmann and O'Brien, courtesy of Medialite.
Soledad O'Brien to Michele Bachmann: 'I think it's a fair question.'