Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, plans to respond to Obama's State of the Union address on behalf of the tea party movement. The Michelle Bachmann response is not the official GOP rebuttal, but Republicans dismiss appearances of a divided party.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Republicans are rushing to defend Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) of Minnesota, who plans to deliver a response to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night on behalf of the tea party movement.
Some television networks plan to show at least some of Congresswoman Bachmann’s response, after Congressman Ryan’s, creating the appearance of a divided Republican Party with dueling messages.
But that would be a false impression, Republicans insist.
"I think you get a variety of opinions and all Republicans aren't the same, but I don't see it as trying to usurp somebody else's prerogative," said Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky, a tea party favorite, in a CNN interview Tuesday. He foresees “one main Republican message, but other voices as well."
Tim Pawlenty, the Republican former governor of Minnesota, called Bachmann’s planned speech “cool” in a CNN interview Monday. “It’s all good,” said Mr. Pawlenty, who is probably running for president and has every reason to play nice with the tea party and Bachmann, a fellow Minnesotan who has suggested she also might run.