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On Citizenship Question, Bachmann Not So Neutral

Under assault from conservative blogs that are normally friendly to her — and facing some skepticism in Minnesota, where she's up for re-election — Rep. Michele Bachmann wants to give back her just-revealed Swiss citizenship.

But despite reports that she's renouncing the Swiss side of a newly acquired dual citizenship, both Bachmann and Swiss officials say it's a status she has technically enjoyed for more than three decades.

On NPR's Morning Edition, Minnesota Public Radio's Mark Zdechlik reported that a spokesperson for the Swiss Embassy says Bachmann technically became a Swiss citizen 34 years ago, when she married her husband, Marcus, whose parents were born in Switzerland.

And in a written statement on Thursday, the onetime Republican presidential candidate said as much:

"Today I sent a letter to the Swiss Consulate requesting withdrawal of my dual Swiss citizenship, which was conferred upon me by operation of Swiss law when I married my husband in 1978," wrote Bachmann.

"I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen. I am, and always have been, 100 percent committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America. ..."

Bachmann's citizenship status became an issue this week, when a Swiss television station spoke to Bachmann outside her congressional office with several visiting members of the Swiss Parliament. Bachmann openly answered the questions with camera rolling, even good-naturedly joking with the Swiss politicians when asked about running for office in their country.

The new part of Bachmann's status appears to be an application for documents of dual citizenship for herself and her family; the documents were filed with Swiss officials in February and approved in March, Zdechlik reports.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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