OTR Interviews

Bachmann on GOP Presidential Electability: 'This Is America's Last Chance to Get It Right'

Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann on why all the current GOP contenders could beat Obama and her personal choices for cabinet positions

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 30, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight the GOP presidential candidates are clawing at each other. No one knows who will land on top and run against President Obama. But despite the scandals and the gaffes, Rush Limbaugh insists the Republicans can't lose in 2012.

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RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I don't know about you, are you tired of hearing things like, If the Republicans nominate -- and fill in the blank -- then Obama win? Are you tired of hearing about, Fill in the blank is not electable? They're all electable! Half of this country (INAUDIBLE) story in my stack. Half of the country is afraid to buy Christmas presents because of the economy! Half of the country is feeling bad because the holiday season is coming up and they may not be able to go out and participate in it! And we are being told that our candidates are unelectable! It's all BS! If anybody, by all rights, by what's decent, should be unelectable, it's Barack Obama!

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VAN SUSTEREN: New Jersey governor Chris Christie also comes out swinging at President Obama today.

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GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: The best way that we can help our party to move forward and our country to move forward is for us to go back to our states and do our jobs and do our jobs well and set an example of what real leadership looks like. And real leadership is not what you see in the White House right now. As I said before, it's a sad day in our country's history to have a bystander in the Oval Office.

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VAN SUSTEREN: A candidate who wants to take President Obama's place in the Oval Office is Representative Michele Bachmann, and she joins us. Good evening, Congresswoman.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good evening, Greta. Good to be with you tonight. Thanks.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to be -- nice to have you. All right, Rush Limbaugh says that any Republican is electable and that President Obama is not electable. Do you agree that the full complement of candidates are all candidates who could beat the president?

BACHMANN: Oh, without a shadow of a doubt. Like most things, Rush Limbaugh is exactly right on target because President Obama is wildly unpopular across the United States. That's why the key message is we don't have to settle. We can have it all in a candidate and we need to have it all in a candidate because this is a highly unusual election.

This is America's last chance to get it right. We've got to get the country back on the rails. We have to get rid of "Obamacare." We have to get rid of Dodd-Frank. We have to have a pro-growth tax code. And that's why we need to have a very different, bold candidate, and I'm the only candidate in this race that's been the consistent no-surprises conservative. And I leave every issue on the table with Barack Obama. I can't wait to shred his radical agenda to pieces in the debates!

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So I suppose you disagree a little bit then with Governor Chris Christie when he says that President Obama is a bystander in the Oval Office when you are fighting some of the things that he has spearheaded, for instance, national health care, Dodd-Frank, so that he's not a bystander in your view, perhaps, but someone who has been quite active but someone you disagree with.

BACHMANN: Well, I would give Governor Christie the benefit of the doubt. I think perhaps what he might be referring to is the fact that President Obama has completely disengaged from his job. You're right, Greta, he occupies the Oval White House -- or the Oval Office, but he's not doing the job of a president. All he's doing is a job of a campaigner-in- chief. He's on a perpetual reelection campaign right now, when the country needs him to pay attention not only just to the domestic economy, but to the real problem, which is Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon.

He's not. He's only concerned about himself and his reelection plans. That's not going to help the American people. I'm in Charles City, Iowa, tonight. People here are extremely upset with the president of the United States. I can tell you there's not a lot of love lost on the president. Not personal, not vindictive, they just see that he's absolutely ham-handed in the way he's handling the economy and foreign affairs. They're done with this president!

Rush Limbaugh's right. Chris Christie's right. The president needs to get back to work. But I think the people have already made up their mind, Greta. They're going to have a different president in 2012. We've got to get it right and we have to get it right with a nominee who's right on everything, on social issues, on the Tea Party issues, on national security.

And I'm the only one currently involved in national security issues of all the candidates, and on fiscal policy. That's why I bring the entire party together. I can unify our party and defeat Barack Obama in the upcoming election and in the debates.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, it's being reported tonight that you have said that if elected president of the United States, that you would consider Senator Rick Santorum for one of two positions, vice president or attorney general. Do you want to explain that?

BACHMANN: Yes, I will. I think that Rick Santorum is a wonderful man personally, but also, I think that he's very gifted when it comes to the area of legal issues. And I think I could see him as an attorney general. I think he'd do a great job. I haven't talked to Rick about that, but I think he'd be wonderful, or another cabinet position. And I think that he'd also be on my short list of people that I would consider for my vice president.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, anyone off the sort of -- as long as you brought up the issue, as long as The Des Moines Register is talking about it, so I think it's probably fair game for discussion -- anyone not -- anyone who's not running for president who you think would be an ideal vice president for you?

BACHMANN: We've got a lot of wonderful candidates who would fit that bill. Easily comes to find I think would be Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina. Marco Rubio of Florida certainly would be in that category. There's a lot of great people out there. And Donald Trump is someone that I think a lot of people would be intrigued with, too.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think people would probably be very intrigued, not to mention that he'd probably love it himself. All right, now, you oppose the extension of the payroll tax. Why?

BACHMANN: I did. Well, because, as I warned my colleagues, number one, it would blow a hole -- and it did blow a hole in the Social Security trust fund of $111 billion a year. Social Security is running in the red right now. That means in order to keep our promise to senior citizens and write out the checks, Greta, we have to go into the general treasury.

Well, we're flat broke in the general treasury, which means we have to go borrow more money from China. This doesn't make any sense. Barack Obama said if we lowered the payroll tax, we'd create jobs. Even his own economic advisers have said this hasn't created jobs. And so now he wants to continue to blow that hole in the Social Security trust fund.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, we only have less than a minute left. But doesn't that mean a tax increase to about 160 million Americans?

BACHMANN: Well, what it means is that, yes, the payroll tax would go up. I opposed lowering it in the first place because we've got to keep our promise to senior citizens. That's what we have to recognize. We're continuing to borrow money from China that we can't afford to continue to pay back. And we have to keep our promise to senior citizens.

President Obama's promise that it was going to create jobs didn't work. That's why his reasoning doesn't work to keep it at the rate it's at now. That's why I can't vote to extend the payroll tax reduction.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you very much. Hope you'll come back. It's going to be an interesting race. Thank you very much.

BACHMANN: I will. Thank you.