Michele Bachmann Discusses Campaign Strategy in Light of Falling Poll Numbers

GOP presidential candidate discusses falling poll numbers, campaign stumbles


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 26, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET!

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: A new CNN poll taken just after the Republican debate last Thursday says this: Rick Perry maintains a lead among Republican voters at 30 percent, Mitt Romney 22 percent, Newt Gingrich 11, Herman Cain 9, Ron Paul 7 percent, finally, Michele Bachmann at 6 percent. The question is: Can Congresswoman Bachmann turn things around? She joins us now from Des Moines, Iowa. So, Congresswoman, what say you?

MICHELE BACHMANN, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sure we can turn things around. That's why I'm here in Iowa today. We did a wonderful rally up in Des Moines, and we're down in Des Moines right now. And I think what we saw -- I won the Iowa straw poll. We had a wonderful response with that, and then of course Governor Perry came into the race and there was an assumption that he was going to walk away with the nomination. Now there is a relook at that. People are looking after the debate and they are saying that they think now they need to look for their champion, and I am the constitutional conservative in this race, and I'm running to be people's champion and their voice in the White House.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, Perry took some of your support, but you are indicating here, and correct me if I am wrong, that you think you are going to get it back. Why? Is Perry not performing well? Is he a charlatan? Why?

BACHMANN: Well, I think that, again, I think people are looking at the candidates on stage in the debates, and they are taking the full measure of the candidates. And in the midst of all of that, I think people are giving this a second look and they are seeing who we are, what we stand for, what we're about to do to turn this economy around, and people are saying now that they don't want to settle. Because every four years, people are told that we need to go with the moderate in the race because that's the only one that will win. And now we're seeing that that's not true, that we can really have a true constitutional conservative for our nominee. And so I'm putting forth…

O'REILLY: But how are we seeing that? How are you seeing that if the CNN poll number has you at 6 percent? I don't know -- see, look, I know what you are saying, that you present a viable alternative to Perry or Romney or some of the others. But the numbers that you have, and, you know, polls are inexact. We understand that. But these are among Republicans. These are taken among Republicans. Polls that you have show your campaign didn't get traction after the last debate.

BACHMANN: Well, and again, I think that it takes time sometimes for these numbers to catch up. But we're doing exactly what we need to be doing. We're here in Iowa. We're meeting with people. And, of course, this is where it will all begin after Christmas.


BACHMANN: It will start in Iowa, and then New Hampshire and South Carolina.

O'REILLY: And that's your strategy, your strategy is you win Iowa, then you get some more donations, you get re-infused, and this and that. I assume you are going to be spending most of your time in Iowa, because it costs a lot of money to whip around the country into all these other states. Is that what you are going to do, just make it Iowa-centric, hope you pull off the win there, and then take it out fast to the other states?

BACHMANN: Well, we have been in all the other states, too. We have been in Arizona and South Carolina, New Hampshire, Florida. We have been in all of them. And we spent a significant amount of time in South Carolina as well. But we are focusing on Iowa as No. 1. And then after that it's New Hampshire and South Carolina. So, we are looking at how this is going to play out. And Iowa is where we are putting our time.

O'REILLY: So that's it. And you know, in this day and age, that's a strategy that, you know, absolutely could bear some fruition. Now, do you think you are being treated differently because you are the only woman in the race? You got eight sweaty guys. They're all sweating and then you are there. Are you being treated differently because you are the only woman in the race, do you think?

BACHMANN: You know, I don't think so. I have never felt that way.

O'REILLY: So there is no gender bias.

BACHMANN: I grew up with three brothers and no sisters.

O'REILLY: Nothing…

BACHMANN: No, I don't think -- no, I mean, I grew up with three brothers and no sisters. That's the best preparation for politics any girl can have. So I don't feel in any way that I'm discriminated against. I'm just grateful to be able to be in the race. I think it's wonderful.

O'REILLY: OK, that's refreshing to hear because we hear all this stuff. Remember Hillary Clinton when she ran last time, she said, you know, I'm getting hammered because I'm a woman. You don't see it that way. Now what about…

BACHMANN: I don't think so.

O'REILLY: …do you and Governor Perry have this little, you know, because obviously you embarrassed him with the vaccine thing. Do you think there is a little animosity there now? Are you feeling a little vibe that you guys aren't going to go vacationing together?

BACHMANN: No. I'm not feeling a vibe like that at all.

O'REILLY: You think it's just business?

BACHMANN: Well, I think when we are on the stage, you know, we are trying to put our best foot forward. And we are trying to let the people know who we are and what the difference is, and we are seeing those distinctions now. And the voters will be making their choices.

O'REILLY: So you don't think he is a little teed off with you for giving him a little of this and a little of that? Because you have -- you figure that Romney and these -- and Perry are going to go back and forth. But that vaccine thing, that got a little personal with you saying shouldn't be imposing this on these little girls. They don't need this. It was different than most of the policy. You know that. It got a little personal.

BACHMANN: Well, you know, that was a question that was asked of me, and so I responded. And, again, it's a distinction. All of us have to go through this. That's why this is so important. We have to go through this vetting process so that the voters can take a good look at us and who they want to be their voice in the White House in 2012. This is the key election. And the people need to know who will repeal Obamacare? Who will repeal Dodd-Frank?

O'REILLY: All of them are going to repeal…

BACHMANN: Who is going to turn the economy around?

O'REILLY: Everybody up there. Maybe Huntsman wouldn't, but everybody…

BACHMANN: No, that's not true.

O'REILLY: They all would. Come on.

BACHMANN: Oh, you couldn't -- you know, with all due respect, you couldn't be more wrong. Because the two governors…

O'REILLY: You don't think those guys would all repeal it? They all would except for maybe Huntsman. I think he would, too. No?

BACHMANN: There is such a difference in this race because the two governors have said they would issue an executive order. I have been in the midst of this fight with Obamacare from the beginning, and the one thing I know, Bill, the only way you can get rid of it is by a full-scale repeal. I am absolutely committed to that full-scale repeal, and that's why this is the signature issue for 2012. Who will get rid of it? I will.

O'REILLY: All right. Thank you very much, Congresswoman. Good luck. We appreciate you coming on the program.

Content and Programming Copyright 2011 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright 2011 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.