Michele Bachmann Attacks Michelle Obama Over Breast-Feeding

This may well qualify as the most idiotic political controversy that Michelle Bachmann has ever waded into:

Washington (CNN) – Rep. Michele Bachmann, a potential Republican presidential candidate, is taking issue with Michelle Obama over the first lady’s recent promotion of breast-feeding.

Speaking to conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham Tuesday, the Minnesota Republican said Obama’s efforts to promote breast-feeding and the IRS’s announcement that nursing supplies that aide in the practice can be deducted from tax returns amounts to a “new definition [of] the nanny state.”

“This is very consistent with where the hard left is coming from,” Bachmann told Ingraham. “For them, government is the answer to every problem.”

“I’ve given birth to five babies and I breast fed every single one of these babies,” she added. “To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump for my babies? You wanna talk about the nanny state, I think you just got a new definition.”

Of course, Bachmann is completely mis-representing what’s going on here. If  this were really the “Nanny State” then the government would be mandating that all babies be breast-fed, although it’s unclear how such a mandate could ever be enforced. What this is all about is a question of whether or not a breast pump should be considered a medical device under the tax code, and thus a tax deductible as a medical expense (although, of course, medical expenses are only deductible if they reach a certain percentage of Adjusted Gross Income). While I would much prefer a simpler tax code with fewer of these types of deductions. I don’t see how a breast pump isn’t a medical device, and I don’t really have a problem with making it deductible.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. sam says:

    Golly, I sure hope she didn’t communicate the reason anti-bodies that seem to course through her to her kids.

  2. Contracts says:

    Totally disappointed by the picture in this article.

  3. Pug says:

    I hope her kids turn out OK. I’m a little worried about them.

  4. jpe says:

    I don’t see how a breast pump isn’t a medical device

    I actually agree w/ the IRS’s original position. I don’t see how it’s a medical device. It’s a method of getting food to kids. Food and food accessories – no matter how healthful the food – are non-deductible personal expenses.

  5. Alex Knapp says:

    Wait, I thought that tax decutions weren’t government expenditures. Won’t the fringe conservatives make up their damn minds on this issue?

  6. maineliberal says:

    @jpe I don’t see how it’s a medical device.

    HSA allows withdrawals from the account to pay for out of pocket medical expense such as this.

  7. Anne says:

    Michelle Bachmann never passes up an opportunity to make a big fool of herself. In that respect, she is running neck-and-neck with Palin. But in Bachmann’s case, we are talking about a woman who will be 55 on her next birthday. With the obesity epidemic affecting even children, along with attendant ailments some of which are life-threatening, why would any sane, rational human being oppose something that could help to alleviate this problem? Since Bachmann is a mother, one would think she would welcome a measure like this. In addition to being more healthful, it is certainly cost-effective. Anyone who is serious about health care costs would surely welcome this suggestion.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    You know, I don’t think we should be creating more tax deductions, not even for worthy causes like promoting breast feeding. That said, Bachman is a tool.

  9. blumuze says:

    Bubblebrain Bachmann is fine with Uncle Sam buying milking machines for her cows, but hates the idea of supplying breast pumps to poor women?? UDDER HYPOCRISY!


  10. Bfan says:

    Is anyone else kinda turned on by the mental image of Bachmann breastfeeding?

  11. Jen K says:

    If condoms are considered a medical expense then breastpumps should be too.
    proven medical benefits of breastfeeding
    ~decreased risk of breast cancer
    ~decreased risk of post partum depression
    ~decreased risk of childhood obesity
    ….and much much more. It’s simply the natural HEALTHY choice.