Over the past week, news has been swirling around The Family Leader, an Iowa-based conservative group that created a marriage pact for presidential candidates (it has been signed by former Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Michele Bachmann).
The document, entitled, "The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family," defends traditional marriage, discusses the impact of divorce and takes a strong stance against Sharia Islam. The controversy, though, has surrounded the pact's curious statement on slavery. The declaration says:
Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an AfricanAmerican baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President.
While the passage was allegedly removed following public outcry (though it still appears in the document here), the controversy surrounding it has yet to simmer. Now, some in the media are attacking Bachmann's response, claiming that -- like the original statement in the declaration -- her campaign's response is insensitive. Politico has more:
A Bachmann spokeswoman said earlier Saturday that reports the congresswoman had signed a vow that contained the slavery language was wrong, noting it was not in the "vow" portion.
"She signed the 'candidate vow,' " campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart said, and distanced Bachmann from the preamble language, saying, "In no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible."
Mediaite's Tommy Christopher had this to say about the response:
Here’s a pro tip: if you really think something is horrible, you don’t then list something far less horrible, and say that it’s horrible, too.
The one saving grace here is that it was a spokesperson, and not Rep. Bachmann herself, who made the statement. If the congresswoman is asked about it, she needs to make clear, in no uncertain terms, that slavery was not only way more horrible than economic slavery, but that it actually included economic slavery, along with every other adjective you can put in front of the word slavery.
After that, she should probably stop talking about slavery until she’s had some time to read up on it.
The Bachmann campaign has surely attempted to do some damage control surrounding the document's slavery reference. While Stewart distanced the presidential candidate from the preamble, The Washington Post wonders how it was possible to miss the wording when the entire declaration spanned just four pages. Keith Olbermann, as could be expected, also went nuclear on Bachmann's signing of the document. He called her "either crazy or un-American":
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/i6Ks-UXnFR4?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
Santorum, while claiming that he was initially "taken aback" by the pledge, said that he does not find the document intrusive. One wonders: Was the slavery reference one of the elements that contributed to the politician's initial feelings on the declaration?