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Bachmann Asked if She Would be 'Submissive to her Husband'

Was the question at Iowa’s debate last night out-of-bounds?

In the first Republican presidential debate in Iowa, all of the candidates were asked about their positions on issues and their qualifications, and the topic of marriage came up more than once. Only one candidate, however, was asked about her own marital relationship. The Washington Examiner's Byron York asked Michele Bachmann if she would "be submissive to [her] husband." York's inquiry has now become its own debate topic: was the question out of bounds?

York framed his question by asking about Bachmann's own statements on submitting to her husband. Bachmann spoke at the Living Word Church in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, in 2006. Bachmann recounted how she felt God to lead her into law and, eventually, a career in politics.

York asked:

In 2006, when you were running for Congress, you described a moment in your life when your husband said you should study for a degree in tax law. You said you hated the idea, and then you explained: 'But the Lord said, be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husband.' As president, would you be submissive to your husband?

Bachmann paused (while many in the audience booed) and then answered:

Thank you for that question, Byron. [laughter in audience] Marcus and I will be married for 33 years this September 10th. I'm in love with him. I'm so proud of him. And both he and I...what submission means to us, if that's what your question is, is respect. I respect my husband. He's a wonderful godly many and a great father. And he respects me as his wife. That's how we operate our marriage. We respect each other. We love each other. And I've been so grateful that we've been able to build a home together. We have five wonderful children and 23 foster children. We've built a business together and a life together, and I'm very proud of him.

York has received criticism for asking the question. On Twitter, York said, "Thanks to all for comments on 'submissive' question. It's the kind of question a candidate will have to face, if they go far enough in race..." He later tweeted, "Haven't talked to Bachmann campaign, but I think they're happy with her answer. It was a good one, and most human moment of the night."

This was not the first time Bachmann has been asked about her statements on submission. In a recent Newsweek interview, Bachmann said that as president, "I would be the decision maker."

Gary Marx, executive director of Faith and Freedom Coalition told CNN's Belief Blog, "She answered it the most appropriate way in the context it was being asked. She was being asked a deeply theological question in front of millions of Americans. That's why there was such a strong and visceral booing over the very premise of the question."

Other conservatives saw the question as appropriate. The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin said Bachmann supporters are "feigning outrage."

"That indignation is unwarranted. She said it and should be asked about it," Rubin said. "Moreover, her answer was a home run, not only in substance but in delivery. First was the dramatic pause. Then the smile — no offense taken — and then the conservative feminist grand slam. Whether her answer is scripturally accurate, I have no idea; what matters is this is how she thinks and how she expresses her religious views."

What do you think? Was the question legitimate or inappropriate? 

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Related Topics:Politics
Posted:August 12, 2011 at 12:01PM
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Bachmann Asked if She Would be 'Submissive to her Husband'