OTR Interviews

Bachmann on Bachmann: Why She's Mulling a Run at the White House

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 24, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Everyone is buzzing about Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Is she running for the presidency or not? Now, we just asked, so you're about to hear her answer.

But first we asked about what she thinks about what is going on in Libya.


VAN SUSTEREN: Congresswoman, nice to see you.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: Nice to see you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: There's so much going on in Libya, and then the massacre today in Syria. If you were making decisions for this nation, what would you recommend and what would you be doing about Libya? And would you be looking to assist in Syria whether it is helping the protesters, what would you do?

BACHMANN: Well, I would not have done what the president did in Libya. I would not have intervened now at this time. We don't know hot opposition forces are. We don't know if the opposition is being pushed by Hamas, Hezbollah, or even Al Qaeda in northern Iraq. That could be a far worse outcome than dealing with Qaddafi. Qaddafi is not necessarily been the best friend of the United States, but in some ways he's been neutralized.

But the current situation in Libya is a very difficult one. But I would not have gone in with United States soldiers, particularly not without consulting Congress and without making the case to the American people.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it a distraction and unwise and something you wouldn't do or is it something that is dreadfully wrong that alarms you? There are two ways you can look at this, if you oppose it.

BACHMANN: I think it is the idea, Greta, again I don't think all of the information was on the table about the situation. Clearly, what we're looking at, we aren't sure who is in charged with allies. The United States went in. Are the allies involved? We were told initially the Arab League was involved, then they weren't.

There are so many uncertainties. One of the first phrases that came from the administration was "Qaddafi must go." In the same breath it was "But it is OK if he stays." There's so much incoherence from the administration now it is difficult to comprehend what their thinking was going forward with this, because we don't know what the endgame will be.

With all of the unrest that we are dealing with around the world, whether it's with Iraq and Afghanistan or the recent tragedies that we've seen in Japan and the earthquakes, there's been four earthquakes this last year, financial tension in the United States. I think the people of the United States are on edge now. And I just think they don't want to be engaged in yet within more conflict.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now the reason why, I quickly said let's book Congresswoman Michele Bachmann tonight. The political buzz is you were inching closer to making a decision whether or not you will run for president. Last time we spoke you said you hadn't made up your mind. Since we last spoke have you inched closer to making up your mind and making the decision to pull the lever and run for president?

BACHMANN: We have inched closer. I think because of that we've been making trips to the various early primary states to talk about the conversation about 2012. I think we moved a step closer at this point, we are looking at the Iowa straw poll in August in order to be part of that we'll have to make a decision about an exploratory committee.

And what we're saying is if we do make that decision and we are making serious consideration the decision is not made yet, I want to be clear about that. But if we do make the decision we are looking at the early part of summer.

VAN SUSTEREN: When I heard the news I started reading everything, including the "Des Moines Register," I should add you are coming to us tonight from the state of Iowa. You are running around the state today with Senator Kent Sorenstam who is a Tea Party guy, pretty much within the Republican Party. You met with member of the Republican Party in the Senate. It is said you were going to see the governor. I take it you did.


VAN SUSTEREN: It talks about how you are talking to the home school and evangelical element of Iowa which is what Governor Huckabee picked up when he won in 2008. It looks like that is your strategy. Am I on or off the mark?

BACHMANN: My strategy is to talk to all people in the early states not just one segment. I'm delighted to talk to all the people I've spoken with this time. When I was here on my last trip I think you sent Griff [Jenkins] along on that trip. I had given a speech for tax relief I focused on all of the fiscal issues during that time.

I'm continuing to talk about the fiscal issues on this trip as well. This is uppermost in people's minds no matter if they are self-identified as social or fiscal conservatives. Everyone is concerned about the anemic job creation in the United States. Everyone is worried about the out of control spending.

And what I'm hearing from people in Iowa is they want us to repeal and defund "Obamacare." That's a very strong message that I'm hearing. That's my commitment now as a member of Congress. I think that has to be done by our next president of the United States. We need a full and complete commitment that Obamacare will not only be rolled back it will be repealed and defunded so we can get back to free market health care and health care that will reduce the cost and provide better care for people.


VAN SUSTEREN: We have more of our interview with Congresswoman Bachmann straight ahead.

But coming up, she made a mistake and hammered for it. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann even owned up it to. But apparently that wasn't enough for some. Is there more to this story? The congresswoman will tell you herself.

Plus, Donald Trump teaming up with President Obama, really? Is Rush Limbaugh pushing that? You'll hear straight from Rush ahead.



VAN SUSTEREN: Are conservative women being targeted? I guess it depends on who you ask. Minnesota Congresswoman Bachmann says there is a double standard. She recently apologized for making a big gaffe. She made a mistake about the start of the Revolutionary War and was slammed by the media. But would a man face the same ridicule? We asked Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.


VAN SUSTEREN: As I said, I've been tracking you all day. It seems it was focusing on -- obviously your trip this time, the evangelicals and home-schoolers are organized when it comes to caucus it seemed like a smart strategy to go there.

But four years ago when Governor Huckabee won there was no Tea Party movement, and there is. Do you run the risk that you are a spoiler like a Ross Perot if you get a huge hunk of Tea Party people like Ross Perot was to President Bush 41, or am I jumping way ahead of myself?

BACHMANN: Remember the Tea Party is a coalition of America. It is made up of Democrats and independents and people who aren't political, libertarians, conservatives, and Republicans. It is a very broad swath of America.

And these are Americans who want the country to work again. They are very practical people. When I grew up here in Iowa, I'm a seventh generation Iowan. When I grew up in my family was Democrat, reasonable fair-minded people. We had Republicans and Democrats in our family. We weren't terribly partisan. We just wanted the country to work and have good jobs and fair taxes. That's what a lot of America wants. That's what the Tea Party wants.

So this isn't some sideline group. This is a broad swath of America. I'm talking to people from many different groups. I will be talking to pastors, to home-schoolers. I spoke to the governor. I spoke to the Senate today. I met with members of the Iowa House yesterday. I also met with leadership of various organizations across Iowa.

I'm trying to talk to as many people as I can from as many constituencies as I can as well as agriculture groups. Ag, of course, is the industry in Iowa. I spoke to a number of people as well. I'll be trying to talk to as many as I can, because the election is about all Americans and having the country work again.

VAN SUSTEREN: I travel a lot. A lot of things are said inside the beltway. When you go to these states it's sometimes very different. When we went up to Alaska and predicted Senator Lisa Murkowski would win. We I go to the Iowa papers I see -- Senate Majority Leader Paul McKinley said she is a dynamo and he says you are knowledgeable. You are making an impact there.

But what makes you different, for instance, from a Governor Sarah Palin going through Iowa or Senator Santorum. What makes you different?

BACHMANN: I love both of them. I know both of them. And I will have them both. They are great people. I think we'll have a very good, broad bench of candidates we put forward.

What I bring to the table is the fact that I'm a fighter. I'm authentic. I'm the same person when I campaigned as I am when I'm elected to public office. I was that way when I served in the Minnesota Senate. I've been that way in the House of Representatives. And I'm willing to fight and fight hard no matter what the opposition is for what the people of my district have sent me to do.

I've been willing to do that at the national arena. I think that's what people are looking for now in 2012. They want a candidate who is actually willing to take on, even if it is uncomfortable, the interests that are in Washington, D.C., even if it means taking on their own party. That is something I've been willing to do.

We have to do that if we want to see the spending change and also if we want to change the arch of history and pull back the government takeover of private industry. It can be done. I want people to know it is very possible that we could win the triple-crown in 2012 by winning the U.S. Senate, holding on to the House, winning the White House and actually having some real change in this country. That's what people are hoping for.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you about your gaffe in New Hampshire. And you struck back when the media went after you, or at least you said President Obama got a pass when he said there are 57 states in the union. And you said there's a difference in the way conservative women are and the men. I think it is women versus men and not necessarily a party affiliation.

But why is there that difference if there is between conservative women treatment by the media and men?

BACHMANN: I can't account for that. It would be the media makes the decision on how they treat people. I made a mistake. I was happy to admit my mistake and move on, happy to do that. That's old news now. I'm just looking forward to what we have going forward.

VAN SUSTEREN: Last time we had Governor Palin on she was the subject of vulgarity by Bill Maher. She didn't want to talk about it either. It is important dialogue how we cover politicians so we ask hard questions so that we also treat you fairly, all of you. Do you have any thought on whether women and men are treated the same.

BACHMANN: I really don't. I've never seen myself as different from a man in terms of professionally speaking. I grew up in a home where I had three brothers and no sisters. My parents treated us as equals. They thought us we could do and be anything we wanted to be.

So when I into my career and became an attorney and then a tax attorney and my husband and I started our business and I went into politics, I never saw myself as handicapped because I was a woman. I just believed I should rise based upon my own efforts and merit.

That's really the American dream, that all of us try and succeed. We try and fail based on who we are and our abilities and talents. That is what America should be about, not necessarily what our gender is.