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Bachmann campaign forced to clarify on embassy in Iran


DES MOINES, Iowa -- A statement Michele Bachmann made about Iran Wednesday instantly set off a flurry of activity on Twitter –- and spurred a clarification from the Minnesota congresswoman’s presidential campaign.

Bachmann, speaking at a town hall at a Pizza Ranch in Waverly, Iowa, reacted to news that the British government had shuttered its embassy in Iran after protesters stormed the premises.

"You may have heard that there was a break-in at the British embassy, and the British had to pull their people out,” Bachmann said. “That's exactly what I would do.  We wouldn't have an American embassy in Iran. I wouldn't allow that to be there.  Because they are a state sponsor of terror.”

The U.S. has not had an embassy in Iran for more than 30 years, since relations between the two countries were severed in the wake of the 1979 hostage crisis.

When NBC News relayed that comment on Twitter, it set off a flurry of interest in Bachmann's comment, forcing the campaign to clarify.

“She was agreeing with the actions taken by the British to secure their embassy personnel and was speaking in the hypothetical,” the campaign said in a statement. “If she was President of the United States and if we had an embassy in Iran, she would have taken the same actions as the British.”

Bachmann, a member since January of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, often cites her work on the committee as a distinguishing factor among a crowded field of GOP candidates.

“If we don't have someone as our nominee who gets this, who gets national security,” she mused to the crowd of about 60 people in Waverly, before adding: “No else in this race gets it the way that I do."

Bachmann has made Iran a centerpiece of her foreign policy agenda, calling recently for the Pentagon to develop a war plan with Iran, and for the US State Department to launch a regime of “crushing” economic sanctions on the country, in conjunction with China and Russia. 

She also won praise recently for calling Pakistan “too nuclear to fail,” during a CNN debate Thanksgiving week – drawing a sharp contrast with Governor Perry of Texas, who favors cutting off American aid.

During a town hall in Charles City, Bachmann said she knew "from personal experience" that bias exists in the media.  "I can tell you from personal experience that is 100-percent true.  And it's disgusting to see.  It's absolutely disgusting," she said.

The remarks followed a show of hands from the crowd of about fifty people, after Bachmann asked: "Do you think there's bias in the media?"

Turning to the three journalists in the room, she said, "I think the press corps should take a good look at that.  Because that is what America thinks."