UPDATE NO. 5: Michele Bachmann's campaign has released a letter from the attending physician of the House regarding her migraines. Slate's David Weigel has the letter and details here.
The takeaway: The doc says that all of Bachmann's brain scans and lab work have been "normal."
"Your migraines occur infrequently and have known trigger factors of which you are aware and know how to avoid," the doctor writes, adding that Bachmann is "able to control" her headaches with prescribed medication.
UPDATE NO. 4 on Wednesday at 2:07 p.m.: The ABC News reporter who was reportedly roughed up by Michele Bachmann’s handlers at a campaign event Tuesday says that the incident was “overblown.”
Brian Ross, an ABC investigative reporter, appeared on The View Wednesday morning to talk about Bachmann and her migraines. The first question he got from the panel was about the reports of being manhandled. (See UPDATE NO. 2 for the details of the original story.)
“I’m fine. 'Roughed up' is far overblown,” Ross said.
He continued: “I asked her about the votes and she wouldn’t answer the question. She read a statement and then walked away. I attempted to ask her that question: Have you missed any congressional votes because of these migraines? And the staff came up and pushed me away.”
That’s about as far as Whoopi Goldberg and co. waded into the manhandling issue, but they did continue to question Ross about the larger migraine story.
Asked if he would have posed the same migraine question to a male candidate, Ross responded: “Absolutely. Of course.”
UPDATE NO. 3 on Wednesday at 11:02 a.m.: It doesn't look like this migraine story is going away anytime soon.
A day after a conservative online website reported that White House hopeful Michele Bachmann suffers from frequent debilitating migraines, the story was given fresh life Wednesday with detailed reports of how the headaches have impeded the Minnesota congresswoman's work in the past.
Politico has one of the most comprehensive looks here. The basics: Bachmann's migraines have forced her to miss a number of votes during her time in Congress, and have also brought a sudden halt to her workday.
“On multiple occasions, we had to basically turn out the lights in her office, shut the door, and put a virtual do-not-disturb sign on her office for hours on end so she could lie there and try to recuperate from the headaches,” one former staffer told Politico.
Bachmann's camp has pushed back hard—maybe a little too hard (see Update No. 2)—against the notion that the migraines could impede her ability to perform her duties if elected president.
Bachmann has refused to go into specifics about her condition, but in a statement Tuesday she stressed that “my ability to function effectively has never been impeded by migraines, and [they] will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief.”
UPDATE NO. 2 on Tuesday at 4:36 p.m.: It appears as though Bachmann's camp is now literally pushing back.
Time magazine reports that Bachmann's staff appeared to rough up an ABC News reporter Tuesday who was following Bachmann in an attempt to get the White House hopeful to answer a question about whether she ever missed a House vote as a result of her migraines.
The alleged incident happened at a campaign rally in Aiken, S.C., after Bachmann ignored ABC's Brian Ross' original question.
Time's Michael Crowley explains:
Ross pursued her into a parking area behind the stage. Her aides grew alarmed. When Ross made a beeline for the white SUV waiting to carry Bachmann away, two Bachmann men pounced on him, grabbing and pushing him multiple times with what looked to me like unusual force. In fact, I have never seen a reporter treated so roughly at a campaign event, especially not a presidential one. Ross was finally able to break away and lob his question at Bachmann one more time, but she ignored him again.
Afterward, I asked Ross—a hard-nosed pro who nevertheless seemed slightly shaken—whether he had ever been treated so roughly. “A few times,” he told me. “Mostly by mafia people.”
We should note that Ross has his own story up now on ABCNews.com about Bachmann and her migraines, but the report stops well short of describing the alleged manhandling, instead saying only that Bachmann's staff "blocked reporters."
Here's the relevant passage:
Bachmann declined to answer a question from ABC News about whether she had ever had to skip Congressional votes because of migraines. Her security staff blocked reporters when they tried to follow her and answer further questions.
UPDATE NO. 1: As would be expected, Bachmann's camp is pushing back hard against the notion that her migraines are so crippling that they could prevent her from doing her job if elected president.
Spokeswoman Alice Stewart tells the Associated Press that suggestion is "just not true" and that while Bachmann suffers from migraines, they have never limited her efforts on the campaign trail.
Stewart refused to go into detail about Bachmann's medical history, but claimed that Bachmann has been campaigning intensely for more than a month in "stressful" conditions without incident.
Original Post at 1:18 p.m.: Michele Bachmann suffers from frequent stress-induced headaches that “incapacitate” her for days a time, former aides for the Republican presidential hopeful tell the Daily Caller.
“When she gets ‘em, frankly, she can’t function at all. It’s not like a little thing with a couple of Advils. It’s bad,” one unnamed former adviser tells the political website. “The migraines are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills. Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes.”
The report claims that Bachmann suffers from one of her debilitating headaches on average once a week, and that they have forced her to go the hospital at least three times.
A Bachmann spokeswoman refused to discuss the report in detail with the Daily Caller, although she maintained that the report was “incorrect.”
According to the Daily Caller, Bachman’s ex-staffers decided to come forward – under conditions of anonymity, of course – over their worry that the extreme headaches could affect Bachmann’s performance if she were to become president.
“As president, when she’s in crisis management mode, is she going to have the physical ability to withstand the most difficult challenges facing America?” one said.
For more on Bachmann, her migraines, and whether the Daily Caller’s report was sexist, head on over to Slate’s DoubleX blog, where they’ve got you covered.