The Cutline

Michele Bachmann campaign accuses CBS News of debate bias; network defends ‘candid exchange’

Dylan Stableford
The Cutline

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Bachmann at Saturday's debate. (AP)

Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign is accusing CBS News of bias against their candidate, after a leaked email exchange between network officials suggested she would get limited questions during Saturday's debate.

In the email chain, a CBS staffer relayed a message from Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart to CBS News political director John Dickerson, saying that Stewart had volunteered Bachmann for CBS' post-debate webcast. The employee copied Stewart on the email and told Dickerson that she had been included on the message.

"Okay let's keep it loose though since she's not going to get many questions and she's nearly off the charts in the hopes that we can get someone else," Dickerson replied, apparently unaware that Stewart was copied on the email.

The Bachmann campaign promptly posted the emails on its Facebook page.

CBS spokeswoman Sonya McNair defended the network, telling The Ticket in a statement that it was a "candid exchange about the reality of the circumstances"—pointing to Bachmann's low-polling numbers.

The response, of course, did not satisfy the Bachmann campaign. According to CNN, Keith Nahigian, Bachmann's campaign manager, stormed into the spin room after Saturday's debate.

"He's a piece of sh--," Nahigan said, per CNN. "He is a fraud, and he should be fired."

Speaking to reporters after the debate, Bachmann slammed CBS.

"I think it's only respectful to allow the candidates to be able to speak and not intentionally ahead of time make a decision to limit candidates' opportunity to speak to the American people," Bachmann said. "Clearly this was an example of media bias."

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