On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared that Michele Bachmann "faces new candidate scrutiny, including financial records for a family business" and proceeded to hype a non-controversy of a mental health clinic run by Michele Bachmann's husband accepting Medicaid reimbursements for treating low-income patients.
O'Donnell implied such reimbursements conflicted with the Minnesota Congresswoman calling "for less government spending and opposes an expansion of Medicaid." Appearing on the broadcast minutes later, left-wing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow cited O'Donnell's report and proclaimed: "Michele Bachmann is trying to make this case that she's a purist Tea Party candidate despite the fact that she has this hypocrisy problem with having benefitted herself from so much government spending."
At the end of her report, O'Donnell actually acknowledged that there wasn't much to the supposed controversy: "That's the kind of thing that many health clinics do do, and there's no suggestion that there's anything improper about that."
Here is a full transcript of O'Donnell's June 29 report:
MATT LAUER: We're only halfway through 2011, but the 2012 presidential race is already intensifying. And some key players have been focusing a lot of their attention on the key battleground state of Iowa this week. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell's in Pella with the latest. Kelly, good morning to you.
KELLY O'DONNELL: Good morning, Matt. We've been talking to voters here around the state who say this is really an ideal time for them to get to see and size up a number of candidates and would-be candidates. That's sure happening among Republicans. But another candidate who knows how valuable Iowa can be to a White House run was back, and that's the President of the United States.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Eye on Iowa; President Obama & Palin Woo Crowds in Key State]
BARACK OBAMA: Hello, Iowa!
O'DONNELL: Iowans expect to hear plenty of this.
OBAMA: You know, I know you've been seeing a lot of politicians around lately.
O'DONNELL: Warmly courted by the President Tuesday, who stopped at an aluminum manufacturer to talk jobs.
OBAMA: Iowa, you and I, we go a long way back.
O'DONNELL: A few hours away, Sarah Palin brought her brand of celebrity to a movie premiere attended by about 300 Iowans.
SARAH PALIN: It is a wonderful story about American values.
O'DONNELL: Shot documentary style, the movie depicts Palin favorably, as a tough reformer in Alaska.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Sarah had the courage to try. She had taken on the system already.
O'DONNELL: Made by conservative filmmaker Steven Bannan, who says Palin cooperated but had no control over the film's content.
STEVEN BANNAN: I think this film plays to the core values of those – of that of the Tea Party and the Tea Party movement and I hope it energizes people to get actively engaged.
PALIN: We're still thinking about that.
O'DONNELL: Palin was asked about daughter Bristol's comments that mom has already decided whether she will run or not.
BRISTOL PALIN: She definitely knows. We've talked about it before but some things just need to stay in the family.
SARAH PALIN: You know what I told Bristol when I heard that? I said, 'Bristol, what we say on the fishing boat stays on the fishing boat, you don't need to be announcing anything..'
O'DONNELL: Just-declared candidate Michele Bachmann-
MICHELE BACHMANN: You are the first people in the United States to see the 'Bachmann for President' bus!
O'DONNELL: Who made stops in New Hampshire and South Carolina Tuesday, faces new candidate scrutiny, including financial records for a family business.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: On the Record; Bachmann's Clinic Received Government Funds]
BACHMANN: I'd like you to meet my husband, Marcus Bachmann!
O'DONNELL: The couple owns Bachmann & Associates, a Minnesota mental health clinic run by the Congresswoman's husband, who is a clinical therapist. While Bachmann campaigns for less government spending and opposes an expansion of Medicaid, NBC News obtained state records that show the Bachmanns' clinic received government funds. $137,000 In federal and state medicaid payments since 2005. That money considered reimbursement for treatment provided to low-income patients.
And that's the kind of thing that many health clinics do do, and there's no suggestion that there's anything improper about that. We reached out to the Bachmann campaign for a specific comment. We did not hear back. But Michele Bachmann will be coming back to Iowa for her first bus tour as a candidate officially in just a couple of days. Ann.
BACHMANN: Alright, Kelly O'Donnell, thank you so much.