Michele Bachmann has more media than legislative staff

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The priority: Media exposure
The Washington Post reported recently on Rep. Michele Bachmann's preference for cocooning herself in the friendly confines of conservative media, where she doesn't have to answer uncomfortable questions about her frankly fact-challenged rhetoric and thin legislative record.

Now comes a story from AOL News based on public records showing that Bachmann has more media pros (3) on her staff of 17 than legislative aides (2). An "extraordinary low. You'd find normally a half-dozen [legislative staffers]," congressional scholar Norm Ornstein told AOL.

"If you don't have a substantial legislative staff, it really means that you're not on top of a lot of the issues that come up in Congress -- or you're not interested in having your own legislative product," Orenstein said.

The average number of bills introduced by members of Congress this session: 30. Bachmann's contribution: 18.

Bachmann has introduced just 18 standalone pieces of legislation, only one of which has passed -- a nonbinding House resolution designating the month of September as "National Hydrocephalus Awareness Month." In the 110th Congress (2006-2008), the average number of bills introduced per member was approximately 30.

On the other hand, Eric Ostermeier, at the Humphrey Institute's Smart Politics website, found that the two-term incumbent's cable news appearances have skyrocketed.

Analysis of media transcripts dating back to when Bachmann first took office in D.C. in January 2007 finds the Congresswoman has made 22 appearances on national television cable news programs through mid-August 2009 - the same number she made in all of 2008. (The Congresswoman did not make any such appearances in 2007).

Bachmann's DFL challenger Tarryl Clark leaped on the AOL story.

"Bachmann continues to prove that she is more interested in self-promotion than getting things done," said Clark campaign manager Zach Rodvold.


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