The Washington Times - January 27, 2011, 02:23PM

Rep. Jason Chaffetz has backed off criticism of fellow conservative Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and her televised rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address, saying he was mistaken as to the timing of her event.

Ms. Bachmann’s tea party-sponsored rebuttal was held independently of the GOP and took place minutes after the party’s official response to the the president’s speech Tuesday evening, which was delivered by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee.

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Mr. Chaffetz, of Utah, earlier this week said the speech should have been delivered at a different time, telling Politico that for Ms. Bachmann “to try to upend Paul Ryan was just wrong.”

But on Thursday, Mr. Chaffetz said his comments were based on his mistaken assumption the two rebuttals were held simultaneously and stepped back from his criticism of the Minnesota Republican and tea party favorite.

“Congresswoman Bachmann’s speech was never billed by her office as being the ‘alternative’ to Chairman Ryan’s. Now understanding the true order of events, I would not have made the same comments to the media,” said Mr. Chaffetz in an e-mail sent to reporters.

“All members of Congress’ points of view are valuable and contribute to the public dialogue that helps to drive the conservative message in the media. We need more people like Michele.”