As Hurricane Irene ravaged the East Coast this weekend, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said the storm and last week’s earthquake were God’s way of trying to get politicians in Washington to deal with soaring federal deficits.

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. 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,” Bachmann said in Sarasota on Sunday, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

On Monday, Bachmann said the comments were said as a joke.

“If you take everything that a person says as straightforward you misunderstand the intent,” Bachmann said in Florida. “So of course I was being humorous when I said that because the American people have tried very hard to get the President to pay attention; he is not listening. And that was really the message that I was trying to give in those comments. So it was a great deal of humor; it would be absurd to think that it was anything other.”

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