POLITICS

Marcus Bachmann describes role as First Spouse

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Byron York

LE MARS, Iowa -- Marcus Bachmann, husband of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, said for the first time publicly today that as First Spouse, he would make traditional marriage, pro-life issues, and family-raising his focus in the White House.

"You know every First Gentleman has an opportunity to have a cause," Bachmann told a crowd at the Family Table restaurant during an appearance by his wife.  "I've decided my cause is not going to be happy meals.  I've decided my cause is going to be what Michele and I have been a part of all of our lives, and that is pro-marriage, pro-family and pro-life.  We're going to get the message across that marriage is between one man and one woman.  We're going to get across the fact that life is precious from conception to natural death.  And I'm going to have the opportunity to talk to fathers about the role that fathers should have…We're not going to minimize what a family is -- we're going to promote families."

Asked for some details on what his work as First Spouse might entail, Bachmann said, "I'm very comfortable speaking to the American people about the issues of the family."

But wouldn't a focus on gay marriage be controversial?  Presidential spouses in the past have stayed mostly with non-controversial issues, like literacy and nutrition.

"Are you going to say to me that the family is controversial?" Bachmann asked.

"Well, gay marriage is an issue."

"We're talking about a focus on family," Bachmann continued.  "What is controversial about improving the standard of parents being involved with their children?  My focus is not gay marriage…In all fairness, if that is the focus you will take, that's not fair."

"But is it fair to say that is part of it?"

"Well, certainly.  And then will you be fair enough to say if you take a poll of most Americans, what is the view on traditional marriage?  The polls will say that the American people will define marriage -- remember, we are not disrespectful or dishonoring of someone who is choosing and being gay in their lifestyle or wanting to be married.  That's up to the churches.  But as the government defines marriage as between one man and one woman, that's pretty universally understood."

Marcus Bachmann has spoken about a possible role as First Spouse in small non-public meetings with supporters.  But this is apparently the first time he has done so in a public forum.

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