Bachmann Was Just Kidding; God Didn't Pick Hurricane Irene as Messenger

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on August 29 2011 4:16 PM ET

Michele Bachmann was just kidding. God didn't send Hurricane Irene as a a wake-up call for America, after all.

With right-wing figures so quick to describe acts of nature as messages from God — the latest coming from a prominent rabbi who said acceptance of gay people caused the East Coast's recent quake — it was apparently too easy to believe that the conservative Minnesota congresswoman had actually meant it when she said Hurricane Irene was God expressing frustration with Washington's out-of-control spending habits.

"Of course she was saying it in jest," Alice Stewart, spokeswoman for Bachmann's campaign, told Reuters.

Video from the event in Sarasota, Fla., shows the audience laughing repeatedly at Bachmann's kidding. (See for yourself below.)

“I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians,” said Bachmann, whose words were first reported by Florida newspapers, including the St. Petersburg Times. “We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane,” Bachmann said, with a big smile and the audience laughing.

“He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?' Listen to the American people, because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending.”