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Chaffetz walks back Bachmann critique

Published January 27, 2011 3:53 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz learned this week not to cross rising GOP star, Rep. Michele Bachmann, and the Utah Republican has offered a mea culpa for criticizing the Minnesota congresswoman's post-State of the Union speech.

Chaffetz was quoted in Politico Thursday saying Bachmann should have delivered her speech at another time as not to conflict with the official Republican response to President Barack Obama. Her speech, carried by all the major networks, followed Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's sanctioned address.

"To try to upend Paul Ryan was just wrong," Chaffetz told the Arlington, Va.-based news outlet.

Early Thursday afternoon, Bachmann's office — not Chaffetz's, mind you — sent out an "in-case-you-missed-it alert" notifying the news media that Chaffetz had backed down.

"My primary concern with Congresswoman Bachmann's speech was the timing of it relative to Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) official response to the President's State of the Union address," the statement quoted Chaffetz as saying. "I felt at the time the proximity of her speech was too near Chairman Ryan's official response. I have since learned that the timing of Congresswoman Bachmann's address was not simultaneous to Chairman Ryan's official response.

"Congresswoman Bachmann's speech was never billed by her office as being the 'alternative' to Chairman Ryan's. Now understanding the true order of events, I would not have made the same comments to the media. All members of Congress' points of view are valuable and contribute to the public dialogue that helps to drive the conservative message in the media. We need more people like Michele."

Consider Chaffetz duly chastened.— Thomas BurrTwitter.com/thomaswburr