• With: Rep. Michele Bachmann

    This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 20, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: A big warning to the Republicans from Rush Limbaugh. Rush says there is still hope for Republicans in 2012, despite what you hear in the mainstream media. Here's Rush Limbaugh.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What's widely out there is Obama's approval numbers are up! The Tea Party's defunct! The conservatives are a minority and nobody cares what they want! And they're the extremist whackos, and so forth.

    This is all because -- folks, I'm concerned. I know how you're going to get hit. And I know how difficult it is to not be affected by a media onslaught. Even I, El Rushbo, as aware and knowledgeable of who these people are and what they do and how they do it and how they try to do it -- even I, if I let my guard down for a split second, can get sucked in!

    And I just know that over the course of the next 12 months, I'm going to be getting phone calls, Rush, it's over! You see this? That's why I'm trying to make you see that it's not over. It's nowhere near over. If it's over for anybody right now, it's over for Obama and the efforts that the media is going to be making from now to November is evidence that it's over for them! If the election were today, it's over.

    They're the ones that have an indefensible track record! They're the ones have an indefensible agenda! They're the ones that have to lie about what they hope to do! They're the ones who have to lie about what they have done!

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    VAN SUSTEREN: So what will the GOP candidates do to beat President Obama? Congresswoman Michele Bachmann joins us from Iowa. Good evening, Congresswoman.

    REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good evening. It's great to be with you from Davenport, Greta.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Great to have you from Davenport. All right, now, tell me, what is going on within the Republican Party, the candidates, because you are all savaging each other at this point. And frankly, it doesn't seem like the Republicans are even competing with President Obama, but that they are tearing each other apart limb by limb.

    BACHMANN: Well, actually, I think that sometimes that's a media game. What we're seeing is just clarifying between the differences of the candidates. A lot of people want to pretend that we're just exactly the same. We aren't. There are very bold, strong, distinct differences between us on where we stand on issues and what our record is. That's very important for the American people to see it.

    And after all, don't ever forget for a moment, whomever our nominee will be, President Obama and his team will make sure that they take apart our nominee limb by limb. So we need to remember that we need a candidate who has no surprises. We need a candidate who's a true conservative with a core of conviction. And I think I'm the best choice on that score.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think the media is somewhat complicit in this. I mean, they pit one of you against another. But it's not -- you know, I don't think the candidates necessarily at this point are without blame themselves. I mean, we've seen a super-PAC and Congressman Ron Paul taking out ads, going after Speaker Gingrich with a vengeance. We've seen Paul go on the "Tonight" show and make a pronouncement that you hate Muslims.

    I mean, you know, we see a lot of this, and it's not just...

    BACHMANN: It's outrageous.

    VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, it's not just the media -- it's not just the media provoking it. And then you -- and then each one of you says that you admire Ronald Reagan as the president. And I think, well, as I recall, President Reagan said the 11th commandment something about the Republicans shouldn't speak ill of other Republicans, and now I see you all savaging each other, with some help from the media, and not going after your -- what would be ultimately your real opponent, the other party.

    BACHMANN: Well, remember, Ronald Reagan also clarified the differences between himself and his opponents also in the primary election. We need to point out what those differences are because it's important that the American people and especially the Republican voters have a true choice in the primary.

    If you look at the 1980 election and the political climate this year, they are very similar because what we needed in the 1980 election was the most conservative candidate to take on a very liberal Jimmy Carter.

    I would say Barack Obama is far more liberal than Jimmy Carter ever dreamt of being. And therefore, we need a strong, bold, distinct candidate to hold Barack Obama accountable. And just like I held Ron Paul accountable in the last Fox debate when it came to dealing with a nuclear Iran, I will hold Barack Obama accountable in the upcoming debates. And I can't wait to shred his radical policies in the debating arena.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Speaker Gingrich said today that he would like to -- he's calling for an end to negative ads, and I think he's making a real strong reference about super-PACs, which is a very effective way where a politician can basically eviscerate an opponent without having any fingerprints because it's not -- it's the super-PAC and it's not the politician. Would you join Speaker Gingrich in calling for an end to negative ads?

    BACHMANN: Well, I don't have a super-PAC, and I'm not running negative ads. What I'm trying to do is get out my positive message. Tonight, when I'm in Davenport, we are just at the halfway mark. We're doing retail campaigning. We're on the ground. We're doing a 99-county tour all across Iowa. We're doing all 99 counties, Greta, in a 10-day period. It's very aggressive. We're going to 10 counties a day and we're speaking with real Iowans face to face, person to person, handshake to handshake, and we're just at the halfway point right now. And we have another five days to go with our tour.

    This is the way to campaign, speak directly with the American people, and in our case, here in Iowa. And it's been a great joy. I've got to tell you, my faith is renewed. And I heard the comments that Rush Limbaugh said and I echo his comments because the American people that I see here in Iowa, they have, without a shadow of a doubt, made up their mind. Barack Obama will be a one-term president. A lot of Democrats, a lot of independents will be voting for me and for any Republican this year.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you two questions. First one's simply a yes or a no because we don't have a whole lot of time. And the first one is whether or not anyone in Iowa has asked you a question -- are they interesting in foreign policy, or is it economics, I guess, the question is. Are they interested in foreign policy? And number two, since you have served on the Intelligence Committee in the House, I'm curious what, if anything, if you were president tonight, you would be thinking about in terms of the developments in North Korea, for instance.

    BACHMANN: Well, yes, people ask me ask it about quite a bit because of the debates, and they're very happy that I took on Ron Paul. And I think what this shows in North Korea is that we live in a very dangerous world. Of all of the candidates, I'm the only one with current national security experience dealing with the nation's classified secrets. Our president will be tested almost immediately, Greta, and I am the best prepared to take on that threat.

    VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of North Korea, though, because, you know, in some says, I think we got caught us with our pants down because nobody saw it coming. It was only 48 hours after Kim Jong Il dies that we suddenly think, Oh, he -- we get the information from the North Korean media. I realize it's a very closed society and hard to penetrate, but it does say something about our intelligence. And we have had intelligence failures in the past that have been very painful to our country.

    BACHMANN: Yes.

    VAN SUSTEREN: I'm just -- I'm just curious, is there anything you would do differently? Would you have -- would you engage in six-party talks with them? Would you isolate them? What would be your thoughts? And there's really no right answer, I'm just curious what you would think about doing tonight.

    BACHMANN: You're right, North Korea is a closed society. They were formerly on our list of state sponsors of terror. At that time, there were five. Now we're down to four. We could put them back on our list of being a state sponsor of terror, and then increase our covert activity and also increase the amount of intelligence that we're doing.

    We spend a tremendous amount of resources on intelligence. We need to be better at it because, again, we see that they're very aggressive. They are essentially the Wal-Mart of missile delivery systems that actively engage with the Chinese to send technology over to the Iranians. This is completely unacceptable. And we need to work with as many allies as we can to let the North Koreans know this is not acceptable and it's not in their best interests.

    VAN SUSTEREN: A very important issue here on Capitol Hill. And we only have about a minute left. This -- now we're watching the deadline of December 31st on this extension of the payroll tax credit. Should members of Congress and the House and the Senate and the president -- should they go on vacation, or should they stay here and resolve it by the first of the year?

    BACHMANN: Well, Harry Reid made a very foolish decision. He threw a grenade into the House of Representatives and went on vacation. President Obama said in no uncertain terms to the House Republicans, Pass it, my way or the highway.

    President Obama has failed to lead. The House Republicans have tried to negotiate. John Boehner was dealt a very difficult hand. What we need to do -- this is the problem with Washington. We have got to be about the people's business. There are members there that want to be about that business. But we need a president who will lead.

    I'll do that. I would call all 535 members back into Washington and say, We're going to make this decision right now. I'm talking to businesses all the time, Greta, and they're extremely upset here in Iowa. And that's what we need to do, get us on a path of certainty. This is complete uncertainty.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Congresswoman Bachmann, thank you. And good luck on your journey around Iowa. I know you're spending a lot of time there. Thank you.

    BACHMANN: We are. Merry Christmas to you and your viewers.