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Fox host apologizes for Bachmann 'flake' question

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., waves to the crowd as she officially announces her intent to seek the Republican presidential nomination, Monday, June 27, 2011, in Waterloo, Iowa. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., waves to the crowd as she officially announces her intent to seek the Republican presidential nomination, Monday, June 27, 2011, in Waterloo, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
By David Bauder
AP Television Writer / June 27, 2011

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NEW YORK—Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace says he "messed up" by asking Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann whether she's a flake.

The talk show host posted the video apology after his "Fox News Sunday" interview with the Minnesota congresswoman, who formally announced her presidential bid Monday in Iowa.

Wallace said on the Fox show that Bachmann had a reputation in Washington for making questionable statements, noting she had called fellow members of Congress anti-American. He paused and asked her: "Are you a flake?"

Bachmann answered that she was a "serious person" and found insinuations that she was a flake to be "insulting."

She offered some career highlights and Wallace asked whether she recognized that as a presidential candidate she had to be careful and not say "what some regard as flaky things." She answered that of course a person had to be careful with things that they say. The exchange came at the end of her Sunday show appearance.

Wallace said later that since "it's really all about the answers and not the questions, I messed up. I'm sorry. I didn't mean any disrespect."

He said he had simply wanted to address issue with her directly because some people do dismiss her as a flake.

"She seemed to be a little perturbed about that and I think gave a very strong answer," he said. "In any case, a lot of you were more than perturbed. You were upset and felt that I had been rude to her."

The "Fox News Sunday" Facebook page had several angry comments from viewers, including some who suggested Wallace's question was sexist.

Wallace attracted attention earlier this month for an occasionally contentious "Fox News Sunday" interview with Comedy Central's Jon Stewart.