WASHINGTON – Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said the United States was founded on racial and ethnic diversity and that the founding fathers were responsible for abolishing slavery.
Speaking at an event sponsored by Iowans For Tax Relief, Bachmann hailed the "different cultures, different backgrounds, different traditions" of the early European settlers in America, adding that the "color of their skin" or "language" or "economic status" didn't preclude them from seeking happiness.
"Once you got here, we were all the same," she said. "Isn't that remarkable? It is absolutely remarkable."
The Minnesota Republican called slavery an "evil" and "scourge" and "stain on our history."
"But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States," Bachmann added, claiming "men like John Quincy Adams... would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country."
Slavery was an institution in the United States for generations after its founding in 1776, largely due to a compromise between the founders that established African-Americans as three-fifths of a person. Several of the founding fathers themselves held slaves.
One of the framers, Thomas Jefferson, famously fathered children with Sally Hemmings, one of his slaves.
Slavery was not fully abolished until 1865, when the United States ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that expressly forbade it. Though he wasn't one of the founders, John Quincy Adams is credited by historians as having been a strong opponent of slavery.
A tea party hero, Bachmann has earned something of a cult following with her vicious attacks and occasionally conspiratorial claims about the Obama administration. She's also no stranger to factual inaccuracies. Bill Adlair, editor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, said her claims tend to be false more often than just about any other politician.
Bachmann announced plans to give her own response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday, though Republicans said hers would not be the party's official rebuttal.
This video is Bachmann's speech, uploaded to YouTube.