Michele Bachmann’s bodyguards developing reputation for bullying reporters

Dylan Stableford

CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon says that Marcus Bachmann, the husband of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, and two members of her campaign staff pushed him into a golf cart during a campaign stop at the Iowa state fair in Des Moines before Bachmann's victory in Saturday's straw poll.

"She came out, after speaking for just a couple minutes," Lemon said on CNN. "There were other reporters and cameras there. And I asked her very respectful questions: 'How do you think you did in the debate last night?' and 'How do you think you're going to end up in the Ames Straw Poll?' And her two campaign aides started elbowing me."

Lemon continued: "I told them, asked them not to elbow me. And then her husband Marcus started doing the same thing. And then he elbowed me into the cart. And I said, 'You just pushed me into the cart.' And he goes, 'No, you did it yourself.'"

"Why they would choose to do that?" he added. "We weren't asking any 'gotcha' questions."

"Our number one priority is the safety and protection of Michele Bachmann," Alice Stewart, the press secretary for the Bachmann campaign, said in a statement. "It was just too crowded. We were just trying to get her out in order for her to go to other events at the fair and that's what we were doing."

The incident comes less than a month after a similar scene at a campaign stop in Aiken, South Carolina, where ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross was "manhandled" by two of Bachmann's bodyguards.

After Bachmann disclosed that she takes prescription medication to control migraine headaches, Ross attempted to ask her if the condition had ever caused the Tea Party hopeful to miss a House vote.

"I was never closer than 10 or 12 feet to her," Ross later told Bill O'Reilly. "The people around her recognized me and came up and identified themselves as with the staff said they knew who I was. And the blocking was all about me. Other cameraman, other reporters were allowed to get close."

Bachmann's security guards then grabbed and pushed Ross, according to Ross and several news accounts.

"They kept me from going closer," Ross said. "The people around them are doing their best to protect them, not as a matter of security but from kind of annoying reporters like me asking a question that is a very penetrating question."

The Bachmann camp blamed Ross for the encounter. "We were on a tight timeframe to get her back to D.C. for an important vote on Cut, Cap and Balance," Stewart told CNN. "We were on a beeline to the car. And he jumped up on stage. We repeatedly told him not to do it. And he did it. And then he ran around a group of people--just repeatedly disregarded our request for him to stay back so she could get in the car and go to D.C."