Clad in Republican power red, GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann had a sit-down with Jay Leno, one of many comedians whose hobby it is to takes jabs at the Minnesota congresswoman.
Thanks for being a good sport, Leno told Bachmann. We've done a million jokes. Hopefully, you haven't been watching any of them, he said.
Bachmann taped her segment before heading downtown to address the California Republican Party's fall convention. In her first appearance on The Tonight Show, Bachmann attempted to exhibit her lighter side by making a Christian anti-gay therapy joke, but Leno wasn't totally in the joking mood, challenging her instead on gay rights, the HPV vaccine, and her opposition to raising the federal debt ceiling - among other conservative positions.
And while the tone was friendly, the talk show host told the congresswoman she is pretty strident.
Well, that whole 'pray the gay away' thing, I don't get that, Leno said.
Well, see, I think when I heard that, said Bachmann, who co-owns with her husband a Christian counseling clinic that offers to convert clients from homosexuality, I really thought it was like, kind of a midlife crisis line - 'Pray away the gray.' That's what I thought it was.
But it sounds like if two gay people want to get married, that's their business; that doesn't concern us, Leno said. I mean, why is that even an issue?
Well, because the family is foundational, Bachmann said, and marriage between a man and a woman has been what the law has been for years and years.
Pressed on her opposition to a vaccination aimed at preventing cervical cancer, the congresswoman offered a new reason for her stand, the Los Angeles Times reported.
It gives a false sense of assurance to a young woman when she has that, that if she's sexually active that she doesn't have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases.
Bachmann created quite the media firestorm, and was the recipient of widespread ridicule, when she said that a woman in the debate audience told her that her daughter became mentally retarded after receiving the vaccination.
Something like 30 million people have had this shot, Leno said, and there haven't been any cases of this [retardation], or at least recorded cases.
Well, I wasn't speaking as a doctor. I wasn't speaking as a scientist, Bachmann told Leno. I was just relating what this woman said.
Bachmann also acknowledged that Texas Gov. Rick Perry's entrance in the race may have caused her to slip down in the polls.
It changes the dynamic, Bachmann said. But we're in for the marathon. We're not in for the sprint.