Michele Bachmann L.M.M. ’88, one of 11 Republican candidates for the 2012 presidential election, can be added to the list of national figures whose roots run green and gold.
The Minnesota congresswoman graduated from the William and Mary Marshall Wythe Law School with a Master of Law degree in 1988, and has since drawn on her educational background in times of political trouble.
“I’m not only a lawyer, I have a post-doctorate degree in federal tax law from William and Mary,” Bachmann said when Fox News Host Chris Wallace asked her if she was a “flake” June 26, 2011. “I think that would be insulting to say something like that because I’m a serious person.”
Bachmann was born in Waterloo, Iowa and moved to Minnesota when she was 13 years old. She graduated from Winona State University in Minnesota in 1978 and then received a J.D. from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., in 1986. After receiving her degree from the College in 1988, Bachmann worked as an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service.
Bachmann’s enrollment in the College has been a source of controversy because she attributes the decision to divine instruction and her husband, Marcus Bachmann, who runs a Christian counseling center.
“My husband said, ‘Now you need to go and get a post-doctorate degree in tax law,’” Bachmann said Oct. 15, 2006, during her first congressional campaign. “Tax law? I hate taxes. Why should I go and do something like that? But the Lord said, ‘Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husband.’ And so we moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, and I went to William and Mary Law School there…. Never had a tax course in my background, never had a desire for it, but by faith, I was going to be faithful to what I felt God was calling me to do through my husband.”
Bachmann became the first Republican woman to represent Minnesota in the House of Representatives in 2006. She has been an outspoken opponent of President Barack Obama since his election in 2008.
“I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views,” Bachmann said about Obama on MSNBC’s show Hardball. “That’s what the American people are concerned about.”
In addition to forming the House Tea Party caucus, Bachmann sits on the Financial Services Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which oversees the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency.
Wallace’s line of questioning reflects the controversy Bachmann has created during her campaign, both from her statements and her struggles with migraine headaches. Bachmann’s campaign denied that migraines would affect her ability to lead as president.
“On multiple occasions, we had to basically turn out the lights in her office, shut the door and put a virtual do-not-disturb sign on her office for hours on end so she could lie there and try to recuperate from the headaches,” a Bachmann staffer told Politico.
Bachmann led the Iowa straw poll with 29 percent of the 17,000-person vote Aug. 13, 2011.
“You have just sent a message that Barack Obama will be a one-term president,” Bachmann said after her straw poll win, according to a New York Times article. “This was a wonderful down payment on taking the country back.”