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Bachmann in Swiss amiss U-turn

Former US presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has ended her Swiss citizenship less than diplomatically, saying she was giving it up to prove she was a "proud American citizen".

The Minnesota Republican said she had written to the Swiss consulate asking to withdraw her citizenship, just two days after it was first reported that she had taken steps to affirm it.

Right-winger Mrs Bachmann had drawn flak from critics who noted that Switzerland had universal health care, something she vigorously opposes.

"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% committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America," Mrs Bachmann said.

If the Swiss were offended by her snub, they did not show it. "The embassy does not comment on this private decision by Mrs Bachmann," Norbert Baerlocher, a spokesman for the Swiss embassy in Washington, said. He said the Swiss consulate in Chicago had received her request via email.

Bachmann spokeswoman Becky Rogness declined to comment on whether Mrs Bachmann's office had any concerns about offending the Swiss and said the congresswoman was not available for an interview.

Mrs Bachmann's move came two days after Swiss TV broke the news that she had registered for Swiss citizenship, which she initially dismissed as a "non-story".

By Wednesday, her office was scrambling to clarify how she had acquired citizenship.

Ms Rogness initially said Mrs Bachmann had been eligible for it because her husband Marcus was of Swiss descent, and that the family recently went through the process together because some of their children wanted to do it. Mrs Bachmann issued a statement later saying her dual citizenship had been automatic upon her marriage in 1978.

Mrs Bachmann ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination and had touted her Iowa roots while campaigning in that state. A founder of the congressional Tea Party Caucus, she represents Minnesota's 6th District.

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