This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 22, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: Well, Representative Michele Bachmann looking for a boost in the polls tonight after the big debate. She's also hoping to recharge her campaign with her new book. It is called "Core of Conviction: My Story." And Congresswoman Bachmann joins me now. Good evening. Good to have you here, Congresswoman.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be with you, Martha. Good to see you again, too.
MACCALLUM: Thanks for being here. So how did it go tonight? What did you think about the debate?
BACHMANN: Oh, I thought it was great. I love this subject, dealing with national security. It hasn't gotten talked a lot about in the debates. This is the second debate that we've had focused on national security. And this is something that America needs to deal with because we are probably at our most volatile levels than we have been in the past 40 years. So I'm very glad we could talk about it.
My background is in the Intelligence Committee, dealing with the nation's national security and classified secrets. I'm the only one of all of the candidates who is currently engaged in foreign affairs, sitting on the Intelligence Committee, and I'm grateful that we could talk about this important subject tonight.
MACCALLUM: You know, I thought one of the strongest moments for you tonight was when you were talking about China. And you said, you know, we're not just sending money there, we're sending power there. And you made a very interesting point about what all that means. Will you -- you know, just share a little bit of that with us tonight.
BACHMANN: Well, as many of your viewers know, we are in debt up to our ears to China. Well over $1 trillion we owe to them. That means we're making substantial interest payments to China. When we send our hard-earned money to China, that's our tax money. And what that means is we have less money for our military. And we just saw this year because of the failure of the Super Committee, $1 trillion less will be available for national defense.
When we cut back on national defense a trillion dollars, we are, in effect, sending money over to China in the form of interest. When we send the money over to them, they're able to build their military up. So the greater our debt, the less money on our military, our military goes down. The more money for China, their military goes up. So we actually have the United States taxpayers paying for China's new naval aircraft carrier, new fighter jets, new cyberoptics. This is a very frightening proposition, and it's not good for the security of the American people.
MACCALLUM: And we all know now that now that the super-committee has failed, the sequester will go into effect in 2013 and that's going to put a big bite out of our defense budget, as you're just alluding to.
You know, what did you think about what Newt Gingrich had to say, that he would be open to cutting defense because he thinks that, you know, it's reprehensible -- you know, that's my word for -- to sum up what he said -- that it takes 15, 20 years to come up with some of these -- you know, some of these weapons and the whole process of building them. And he thinks it's a wasteful process in some ways. Do you think it's a wasteful process?
BACHMANN: Well, I think that we're now engaged in four wars. President Obama has put us in two additional wars. There us no historical precedent for cutting back on resources for our brave men and women who are fighting on the field. So in a time of wartime, never before in the history of our country have we pulled back on resources.
This isn't the time to do that. That's not saying that the defense budget can't do things better. They can, and I'll give you one example. We pay for hardware for our military on a cost-plus-fee basis. What that means is the longer the delays in producing these items, the more money we pay these producers.
That's not right. What we need to do is have a fixed price basis, and we just say, We'll give you X amount of money for that weapons system and no more. That's something that we could do to actually reduce costs in the military. We can be efficient. But we can't possibly cut back on our brave men and women. That would be wrong to do that, to do their -- to carry out their assigned duty with not enough resources from the taxpayer.
MACCALLUM: You know, I know every candidate goes into the debate hoping that it's going to give them a boost in the polls out of it. Looking at your poll numbers right now in terms of the RealClearPolitics average in Iowa, which I know is a big hopeful for you in terms of your performance there, you're at 6.8 percent. You know, what's your realistic idea of where you could finish in Iowa at this point?
BACHMANN: Well, realistically, I truly believe that we're going to finish number one because after all, no one believed that I could win the Iowa straw poll at the last minute. But we've done something remarkable. We've identified more supporters for me in Iowa than Mike Huckabee had when he won the all-important Iowa caucus.
So our function is now a matter of getting our supporters out to the poll, and we're continuing to add more supporters all the time. And we're adding supporters who are Democrats, independents, and people who have never been political before. I'm a unifying candidate in this race, Martha, and I think a lot of people are going to be shocked on January 3rd.
MACCALLUM: Are you surprised, given all the time and effort that you've put into Iowa, that Newt Gingrich, you know, who was behind you for a long time in Iowa, is now at 20.8 percent in that average poll?
BACHMANN: Well, if you look at the course of this election, we've seen one candidate after another go up and go down and go up and go down. And if you look at the polling data, Martha, even more deeply, it says that about 70 percent of the electorate are undecided. Most people really aren't going to make their final choice until the final week before the January 3rd caucus.
I think people are going to come home in Iowa. I think they're going to come home to the candidate that they gave the number one support to, and that was me. And so I'm looking forward to making that case in Iowa. I'm campaigning there very hard.
But we're not just focused on Iowa. We're looking at all of the states and being the Republican nominee. I can't wait to debate Barack Obama. He needs to be defeated. I'm the best, most qualified candidate to take him on, and that's what I intend to do. I think we need to have a mom in the White House, and I can do this job.
MACCALLUM: Well, you're certainly a mom who can work very hard, I attest to that!
MACCALLUM: Like all of these folks, you guys are out there very, very long days and doing a great job of it, all of you. Thank you very much. It's good to see you tonight. Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman, thank you.
BACHMANN: Always a pleasure, Martha. Thank you.