In the Loop

Mr. President, this what we call the 6th District "death grip"

Posted at 3:19 PM on January 24, 2007 by Jeff Horwich (7 Comments)

Ok, I guess it wasn't just us. The New York Times and other State of the Union viewers couldn't help but notice newly elected Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann's "death grip" (as the NYT's "Caucus" blog put it) on President Bush's shoulder as he made his way out of the House after his speech. ( has some video up, if you missed it.)

bachmannweb.jpgLove her or hate her (and we, of course, admit to neither), it was odd. Play-by-play: Bachmann gets an autograph from Bush on her speech invitation. She then gathers up invitations from other people around her, and gets Bush's attention again to sign those invitations. As he walks away, her hand goes to his shoulder. It stays there -- about 30 seconds -- as he wanders across the aisle and talks with other lawmakers. It stays there as he kisses the cheek of the woman next to her. And it stays there as he finally accepts the inevitable and plants one on Bachmann herself. Big smile throughout. (Screen shot: CNN)

It was smart (think of the face-time on national TV) or silly. Or both. Either way, you kind of get the feeling the Congresswoman is somewhat fond of the President...

Comments (7)

The kiss is what killed me and my wife.

She kinda scooped in to kiss him - it looked like on the mouth - when the president was aiming for her cheek.

Thoroughly cringe-inducing.

Posted by elmer benson | January 24, 2007 4:02 PM

It is an embarrassment to the 6th district, Minnesota as well as an insult to the President (not to mention the First Lady). Bachmann does not understand her responsibility as a Congresswoman...that is to represent her constituents professionally.

Posted by Kasper | January 24, 2007 4:25 PM

I thought I was the only one "creeped out" by Michelle Bachman acting like a teeny bopper at a rock concert. She looked like (and maybe wants to be) the new Katherine Harris.

It did not take long for her to embarrass Minnesota.

Posted by Phyllis | January 24, 2007 6:06 PM

I really creeped out my roommate when I started laughing uncontrollably when I saw this. I immediately informed as many people as I could and I'm pleased to see this virtual movement across the web of people around teh country googling her aweful, aweful name. My only hope on the evening of November 7th was that it wouldn't take long for her to make a fool out of herself. Looks like it only took four weeks.

Posted by Adam | January 25, 2007 12:17 AM

Sorry, but this note is a little cynical..

Here is the perspective of someone from outisde your state on this incident. It did not happen. It was a non-event. Who cares? Someone actually counted the seconds?

This reminds me of the national TV news article I saw after the Presidents speech. Someone was analysing the blink rate of the Speaker of the House. Seriously, the rate at which Nancy Pelosi was blinking was the most important thing they could think of to talk about.

Posted by Mike | January 29, 2007 6:36 PM

When the winters get cold, you know, you do what you can to keep busy, Mike!

Actually, my wife pointed out the blinking as we watched -- "Nancy's blinking like a turkey in a hailstorm" was the exact phrase she uttered, if I remember. That made me concentrate on Cheney, who did not blink (or move at all, really) for a very uncomfortable period of time.

It makes you think: In an age when people say they have a hard time believing what politicians say, maybe body language is at least one place we all still tell the truth.

Posted by Jeff Horwich | January 29, 2007 9:53 PM

Perhaps this thread has run its course, but I just noticed Polinaut put up an interesting quickie-interview transcript on the protocol for interacting with the President of the U.S.

Apparently, no kissy-kissy. But the etiquette expert also points out that it looks like the president started it. You've got your hand on his shoulder for 30 seconds, and finally moves back in and wants something a little more than a standard photo op: What would you do?

Posted by Jeff Horwich | January 29, 2007 10:07 PM

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