Bachmann creates firestorm for joking hurricane is God’s message

Hurricane Irene and the recent East coast earthquake were directed at America's politicians, according to a statement from Michele Bachmann.

The Minnesota congresswoman and presidential candidate told an audience gathered at a Shriner's temple in Sarasota, Fla., Sunday that God was trying to communicate a message about fiscal responsibility via the two recent natural disasters. From the St. Petersburg Times:

I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?' Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending.

Bachmann's comments immediately stoked a firestorm of media attention. In a follow-up statement, Bachmann's campaign said Monday the candidate's observations were merely a joke, according to Talking Points Memo.

"Obviously she was saying it in jest," spokeswoman Alice Stewart told TPM in a statement.

Stewart did not immediately respond Monday to The Ticket's request for comment.

A clip circulated Monday of Bachmann's comments shows the lawmaker clearly smiling and nearly laughing as she delivers a similar message about "God's wrath" during that speech. Watch the video below via MSNBC:

Bachmann is an evangelical Lutheran who has long stressed her personal relationship with God in public forums. She previously revealed that while serving as a state senator, she asked God for guidance "and just through prayer I knew that I was to introduce the marriage amendment in Minnesota" that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. She also has said that God gave her and her husband visions of marrying one another prior to their first meeting, and that God called her to run for Congress.

For some, Bachmann's comment this weekend immediately brought to mind televangelist Pat Robertson, who infamously claimed Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for legalized abortion.