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Bachmann won't answer questions about family clinic; says she, not husband, running for office

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Michele Bachmann steadfastly refused Thursday to answer questions about her family's business and finances, saying that she - not her husband - was the one seeking the White House.

The Minnesota Republican faced queries about Marcus Bachmann's Christian counseling clinic that attempts to convert gay patients as well as her own beliefs on sexuality during a luncheon at the National Press Club. With her husband sitting nearby, Bachmann said she expected scrutiny as a candidate but questions about her family were off-limits.

"I'm running for the presidency of the United States. My husband is not running for the presidency. Neither are my children. Neither is our business," she said.

"I am more than happy to stand for questions on running for the presidency of the United States," she continued. "I have no doubt that every jot and tittle of my life will be fully looked at and inspected prior to November of 2012."

Bachmann, who is campaigning hard ahead of next month's debate and straw poll in Iowa, has steadfastly refused to discuss the family's business that has faced criticism from gay rights groups. When asked to describe her beliefs on gay therapy, Michele Bachmann said she loved her husband of 32 years and then said her husband was not a campaign issue.

She also faced questions about her opposition to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Washington Post reported this week that its analysis of her loan documents suggests her family used those federally subsidized programs in 2008.

"Unlike all of you, who I'm sure paid cash for your homes, there are people out there like myself who actually have to go to a bank to get a mortgage. This is a problem: it's almost impossible to buy a home in this country today without the federal government being involved," she said.

"We need to get the federal government out of these programs."

Bachmann used her speech to discuss Congress' ongoing effort to increase the limit on the nation's credit card. She downplayed the catastrophic consequences predicted if lawmakers allow the United States to default on its debts.

Bachmann, a darling of the libertarian tea party, has vowed to vote against any increase in the debt ceiling and called the deal being negotiated on Capitol Hill as one based on "illusory" and "counterfeit" savings. She said President Barack Obama has misled the American people on when the government would run out of borrowing authority and has employed "scare tactics" that have needlessly spooked Wall Street.

"The current negotiations over the debt ceiling illustrate exactly what is wrong with Washington, D.C., today," said during her speech. "The lack of a clear plan from our president to substantially reduce our debt is what's scaring the markets. ... The markets know when politicians are serious about spending cuts and the markets know when politicians are not."

The nation faces a Tuesday deadline to increase Washington's borrowing power to pay its bills. Congressional leaders were working to find a compromise that cuts future spending as a trade-off to avoid a government default that could send world markets crashing and could downgrade the United States' credit rating.

Bachmann said that would not happen; she offered no specifics to back up that claim.

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