NBC Highlights Bachmann Trouble: Flubbed Yiddish, Slavery Controversy, Sting By Gay Activists

 On Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kelly O’Donnell filed a report recounting recent criticisms of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. The report included a clip of Bachmann mispronouncing the word "chutzpah," a video clip produced by gay activists who visited her and her husband’s counseling clinic, and a pledge she signed that included a hyperbolic statement about slavery which has been distorted by liberal critics.

After anchor Brian Williams set up the report by noting that Bachmann is getting "closer scrutiny" now that her poll numbers are up, O’Donnell began her report by highlighting the Minnesota Congresswoman mispronouncing the "ch" in "chutzpah" like the "ch" in "change":

KELLY O’DONNELL: And on nighttime cable, the GOP contender hammers the President, always a magnet for attention and criticism, like when she mispronounced the Yiddish word "chutzpah."

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): Because he has a lot of chutzpah. He spent a trillion dollars on the stimulus - it failed.

O’Donnell soon informed viewers of a pledge Bachmann signed in which she promised to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage. At one point, the lengthy document highlighted the high out-of-wedlock birth rate of the black population by hyperbolically noting that black families were more likely to live with both parents during the slavery era than in modern times.

As if the statement were meant to be a defense of slavery, O’Donnell highlighted the exaggerated criticism of Bachmann for signing the overall document:

O’DONNELL: But on a separate page, the group made a startling claim. A child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised in a two-parent household than a child born after President Obama's election. Aides say Bachmann signed only a portion of the document. The group later removed the slavery reference.

BACHMANN: Certainly it would be absurd for anyone to think that a child raised in slavery would be better than not. That's a terrible thing to say.

After including a statement by Bachmann from 2004 in which she argued that homosexuality is a mental disorder and that homosexuals have often suffered through abuse and need treatment, O’Donnell highlighted video filmed recently by gay activists who visited a counseling clinic of Bachmann and her husband:

O’DONNELL: And there’s new criticism aimed at the counseling clinic run by Bachmann and her psychologist husband, Marcus. A gay rights activist took undercover video there last month and says he was told prayer and therapy could make him straight.

On Monday, ABC's World News had led with the story.

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Thursday, July 14, NBC Nightly News :

BRIAN WILLIAMS: To presidential politics tonight, and, while it's way early yet, Michele Bachmann has emerged as something of a rock star on the right, at the top of the polls in the state where she was born in Iowa. And she's gaining nationally as well. But as any front-runner will tell you, with that status comes closer scrutiny, and that's exactly what's now happening to Michele Bachmann. The story tonight from NBC's Kelly O'Donnell.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): That's what we're trying to figure out, what would be-

KELLY O’DONNELL: Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's day job is wrapped up in the debt limit showdown.

BACHMANN: Well, I’m no on raising the debt ceiling right now.

O’DONNELL: And on nighttime cable, the GOP contender hammers the President, always a magnet for attention and criticism, like when she mispronounced the Yiddish word "chutzpah."

BACHMANN: Because he has a lot of chutzpah. He spent a trillion dollars on the stimulus - it failed.

O’DONNELL: And social issues are causing heat for her campaign. Last week, Bachmann signed an Iowa conservative group's 14-point marriage vow in which she pledged vigorous opposition to same-sex marriage or any change to traditional marriage. But on a separate page, the group made a startling claim. A child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised in a two-parent household than a child born after President Obama's election. Aides say Bachmann signed only a portion of the document. The group later removed the slavery reference.

BACHMANN: Certainly it would be absurd for anyone to think that a child raised in slavery would be better than not. That’s a terrible thing to say.

O’DONNELL: Bachmann's past comments against homosexuality are also getting scrutiny. In a 2004 speech, she referenced the devil and said homosexuals need compassion.

BACHMANN AUDIO: It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say that this is gay. It's anything but gay.

O’DONNELL: And there’s new criticism aimed at the counseling clinic run by Bachmann and her psychologist husband, Marcus. A gay rights activist took undercover video there last month and says he was told prayer and therapy could make him straight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE THERAPIST: I really am going to recommend that we start working on how you can develop your attraction towards women.

O’DONNELL: Bachmann has avoided questions on the clinic. Aides say she cannot respond because of patient confidentiality. Bachmann's social views help make her a front-runner in Iowa. Aides tell me they'll release her latest fund-raising figures tomorrow and claim they're pleased with the numbers. Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News, Washington.