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GOP, eyeing House losses, pulls out of key races, including Bachmann's race

WASHINGTON (AP) - National Republicans have yanked TV advertising for Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's re-election bid after she suggested Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama may have "anti-American" views and urged an investigation of unpatriotic lawmakers.

Bachmann is one of four at-risk Republican incumbents left to fend for themselves by a cash-strapped House campaign arm in the crucial final days of the campaign amid a tough political environment for the GOP. The National Republican Campaign Committee has also canceled planned TV ads to help GOP Reps. Marilyn Musgrave in Colorado, Tom Feeney in Florida and Joe Knollenberg in Michigan, spokeswoman Karen Hanretty confirmed.

Musgrave, Feeney and Knollenberg are extremely vulnerable and Democrats - who are eyeing double-digit gains in their House majority - have been targeting them heavily. Bachmann, whose district is solidly conservative, has only recently emerged as a prime target after her controversial remarks on MSNBC's "Hardball," which sparked a flood of campaign contributions to her Democratic opponent and have reshaped the race.

Democrats' House campaign group is dumping $1 million on TV ads in the district in hopes of helping Bachmann's challenger, Elwyn Tinklenberg, unseat her.

In a statement, Carrie James, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Bachmann, "crossed the line by launching negative and divisive personal attacks."

Bachmann told the St. Cloud Times Wednesday that she regretted using the term "anti-American" about Obama, saying her appearance on "Hardball" was "a big mistake."

Earlier, she told the St. Cloud Rotary Club that she wished she could take back the statement, and she denied that she had said Obama was anti-American or suggested an investigation of members of Congress.

But during her "Hardball" appearance on Friday, Bachmann said of Obama: "I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views."

Of lawmakers, she said: "I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?"

Defending her TV comments Wednesday at the Rotary Club, Bachmann said that Obama "loves his country, just as everyone in this room does."

However, she reiterated her worries about him. "I'm very concerned about Barack Obama's views. I don't believe that socialism is a good thing for America," Bachmann said.

Republicans played down the decision to abandon Bachmann, noting that she still has more than $1 million to get her through until Election Day.

The GOP's House campaign committee - far behind its Democratic counterpart in fundraising - had already pared its advertising substantially in competitive races, scaling back planned buys in the districts of Rep. Jon Porter of Nevada and Rep. Bill Sali of Idaho.

The GOP also previously reduced ads in central New Mexico and in Minnesota's 3rd District, which is being vacated by Republican Rep. Jim Ramstad. Ads were also reduced in districts in Florida, Kansas, Louisiana and Texas that are home to vulnerable Democrats.