Published April 12, 2010
The following is a rush transcript of the April 11, 2010, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: Joining us now, one of the more controversial figures in politics these days but a favorite among Tea Party conservatives, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who comes to us from St. Paul.
And, Congresswoman, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
REP. MICHELLE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: Thank you, Chris Wallace. Thank you so much.
WALLACE: Back in the 2008 campaign you famously said that Barack Obama may have anti-American views, and then you quickly expressed regret for those comments. But the other day, you took back your apology.
I want to put it up on the screen. You said, "I said I had very serious concerns that Barack Obama had anti-American views, and now I look like Nostradamus," the reputed seer from the 1500s. Congresswoman, why the switch? And do you really believe the president of the United States has anti-American views?
BACHMANN: What I'm — what I'm concerned about are the policies, Chris, of the last 15 months. It's stunning if you look at what's happened in our economy. We've gone from the United States having 100 percent of the private economy private to today the federal government effectively owns or controls 51 percent of the private economy.
Whether it's the large banks; AIG, the largest insurance company; Freddie and Fannie, the largest secondary home mortgage companies, which now has the federal government owning over half of all private mortgages; the student loan industry; G.M.; Chrysler; and now health care — that's 18 percent of the economy just in health care.
If you add all of that up, Chris, that's 51 percent of the private economy that the federal government now owns or controls. Those are the policies that I'm concerned about. We don't want the federal government owning or controlling private industry.
WALLACE: I guess there are two points I'd make there. One is that a lot of those things — the bailout of the banks and AIG — a lot of that was done by a Republican president, President Bush, and...
BACHMANN: That's right. That's right. That was unfortunate.
WALLACE: ... and you know, there's a — there's a difference of opinion. Then there becomes the question of whether you call it anti- American. You had a big rally with Sarah Palin this week and the Tea Partiers up in Minnesota. And afterwards, you talked to Sean Hannity and you said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: This is the most radical president, and the most radical speaker, and the most radical Senate leader we have ever seen in the history of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Again, I guess the question is a matter of rhetoric — anti-American, the most radical. You don't have any problem saying that?
BACHMANN: I think these policies are among the most radical we have ever seen in the history of the country. I mean, clearly, the country has never gone this far in taking over this much of the private economy. And it is changing the way that we're doing business in the United States forever. And I don't think it's going in a good direction.
WALLACE: But can it — obviously, you strongly — and a lot of Americans strongly disagree with the president's policies. Can't you disagree with his policies without saying that he's anti-American?
BACHMANN: Well, I didn't say that he was anti-American when I was on Sean Hannity's show. That is — I said that his policies are radical. And I think they are.
I think the federal government controlling parts of the private economy is a radical move that I don't think will get us anywhere. Let's face it. Right now the president is proposing a western European style tax, the value-added tax, a very expensive tax. You might call it a form of a national sales tax.
I'm a former federal tax litigation attorney. It isn't that we aren't taxed enough today in the United States. If we add a value- added tax on top of everything else, we could be looking effectively at a national sales tax in the — in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 percent. That will have a tremendous drag on our economy, and it will be very hard for to us go forward with full employment.
As a matter of fact, the administration has said that the new normal may be elevated levels of unemployment near 10 percent. That's unacceptable. We don't have to be at that level. Our policies can change so that we can go back to full employment and high prosperity.
WALLACE: I think, in fairness, we have to point out the president hasn't proposed that. One of his top economic advisers, Paul Volcker, this week suggested that the U.S. might have to consider it. But the president hasn't proposed that.
But let me — let me, if I may, go on to another subject. The day after the House passed health care reform, which I know is one of the issues that you're most incensed about, you went to the floor and filed — I believe it's the first piece of legislation that would repeal "Obamacare." Question: How would you handle the 30 million Americans or more that are currently uninsured?
BACHMANN: Well, my bill is H.R. 4903, and I encourage people to go to michelebachmann.com to sign the petition to repeal "Obamacare." We can do it. It won't be an easy lift. It will be tough. But we have to retake majorities this fall in the House and the Senate and then two years from now have a new president. And come February of 2013, we can repeal "Obamacare."
How would we take care of the 30,000 people that don't have insurance?
WALLACE: Thirty million.
BACHMANN: The easy — I'm sorry, thank you, 30 million people that don't have health insurance — the first thing that we should do is address the cost issue to make it more accessible for more people.
Number one, we would allow people to buy insurance anywhere they want in the United States. Number two, let them buy it with their own tax-free money. Number three, fully deduct all of their health care expenses, whether it's premiums, co-pays, high deductibles, whether it is vision, dental, chiropractor, whatever it is — fully deduct that on your income tax return. And have tort reform. If you do — which is lawsuit abuse reform.
If you do those four measures, you will dramatically lower the cost for all Americans, because in the United States years ago, it isn't that we didn't provide care for those who weren't able to afford it. We had charity hospitals, and a number of doctors provided free care on a pro bono basis. They did that because they didn't fear lawsuits that would be coming their way.
WALLACE: Congresswoman, I...
BACHMANN: Today, doctors don't have that luxury.
WALLACE: Congresswoman, I don't mean to interrupt, but I want to talk to you about a bunch of issues, and we're going to run out of time here.
BACHMANN: Sure. Sure. Go ahead.
WALLACE: The Tea Party — as we've said, you're one of the favorites of the Tea Party, and you have talked about how you believe the Tea Party will end up supporting and, in fact, being a great source of strength for the Republican Party in the 2010 elections.
But there are choices that Republicans are going to have to make in GOP primaries. Let me give you a couple of examples. In Florida, who do you pick when it comes to the establishment candidate, the sitting governor, Charlie Crist, who's running for the U.S. Senate, or the Tea Party favorite, Marco Rubio?
BACHMANN: Well, I have my personal favorite. I'm a Minnesotan so I'm not able to cast a vote, but my favorite would be Marco Rubio.
BACHMANN: Well, right now he is surging in the polls and I think that he has identified with Floridians probably more than either of the two candidates.
WALLACE: How about in Arizona where you're going to have a GOP primary, the sitting senator John McCain or former Congressman J.D. Hayworth?
BACHMANN: And again, that'll be for Arizonans to decide. I'm a Minnesotan. But both of those candidates are making a strong case. As I understand, J.D. Hayworth is closing in on Senator McCain right now. And it will be up to the voters in Arizona to make their choice.
WALLACE: You're taking a pass there, Congresswoman.
BACHMANN: Well, I know both gentleman, and they're both honorable men.
WALLACE: Now, you keep saying that Barack Obama is a one-term president. This weekend, the Republicans have been holding — the southern Republicans — a leadership conference in New Orleans. They also held a straw poll last night, and let's put up the results of that poll. Mitt Romney finished first, beating Ron Paul by one vote. Sarah Palin narrowly beat Newt Gingrich for third.
Congresswoman, what does that tell you about where the GOP is now in finding a candidate to run against Barack Obama and make him the one-term president you say he's going to be?
BACHMANN: Well, I think we're going to have a full bench of great candidates coming into 2012. If you look at the approval numbers for President Obama, he's fallen faster and farther than any previous president in the polling.
And I think it's his policies that people are looking at and they're recoiling from. His is not an agenda that people want to embrace. Therefore, I think that our candidate needs to be a strong, bold, courageous, constitutional conservative.
And I don't know that we fully yet know who our front-runner will be, although the results that came out yesterday point to Mitt Romney. But I think a lot will happen in the next two years. We'll have a vigorous debate coming forward with our candidates. And I know we're going to put together a top-flight candidate and vice president to run in 2012.
WALLACE: We've got about a minute left. Why do you think you're such a lightning rod both for your supporters, especially in the Tea Party movement, and for your many critics?
BACHMANN: Well, I think part of that may be because when I talk about what is happening in Washington, D.C., I use the actual statements or comments or the data that Nancy Pelosi or President Obama or Harry Reid refer to. I use their own statements on them. And usually they don't like that very much. They don't like to be quoted back with what they've said.
WALLACE: And briefly, I know your main goal is to get reelected from your congressional district in Minnesota in November, but longer term, what do you see as your role in American politics?
BACHMANN: Well, what I see really is being in the United States Congress. It's a — it's a tremendous honor to be able to serve there. It's the people's house. And it's really meant to be the fulcrum of our government where the people have their voice.
It's an honor for me to serve there, and that's — I don't look any higher than that. I just look in the House where I'm serving today. And I'm really about more making sure that our nation follows our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence. That's my focus right now.
And I see that our nation has strayed, and I want to make sure that going forward we get back to our constitutional roots. That's our greatness, and that's what I hope to continue to encourage.
WALLACE: Congresswoman Bachmann, thank you so much for coming in today. Now what we've had you on "Fox News Sunday," we'll have to have you back to talk some more.
BACHMANN: Be delighted to. Thank you, Chris.
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