The emerging storyline after the Republican presidential debate this week was that far-right Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is for real, mostly because she managed to sound, well, a little less crazy than she’s sounded before. (No, they didn’t quite put it like that.)
Let’s take the Times‘ lead:
The key question for Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota before the Republican debate on Monday night was whether she could appeal to voters beyond the Tea Party wing that she helped to create, while avoiding the gaffes that have sometimes emerged from her strident, passionate persona.
By most accounts, she did just that. Ms. Bachmann toned her rhetoric down a bit and offered herself as a competent, knowledgeable insider who would nonetheless carry on the fight against big government with the zeal of a Tea Party activist.
She’s hired veteran GOP strategists, the Times‘ Michael Shear notes:
Those moves suggest that Ms. Bachmann, who is often mocked by late-night comedians and liberal cable hosts as a nutty right-winger, wants to dispel that caricature as she pursues the nomination.
Well OK. Then turn to the Times editorial about the debates, where you read this:
Michele Bachmann had the strangest, most simplistic economic solution of all: simply close down the Environmental Protection Agency, which she said “should really be renamed the Job-Killing Organization of America.”
I guess if I was writing a piece about how Bachmann toned down the crazy in this debate, I’d leave out that quote too. It kind of makes it sound like she didn’t.