Interviews

Bachmann Sounds Off Amid Iowa Campaign Turmoil

2012 candidate reacts to controversy

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 30, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, GUEST HOST: Welcome, everyone. I am Eric Bolling, in Neil Cavuto. And this is "Your World."

And with Iowa five days away, a major defection from the Bachmann campaign from no less than her state chair. First, he drops her. Then he accuses her of lying after she charges he took money from the Ron Paul campaign make the switch.

Now, in her first interview since his denial, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann responds.

Thank you so much for joining us, Congresswoman.

So, let’s start with this first.

You have been told by Kent Sorenson, your Iowa campaign director, that he was offered money to switch from your campaign back over to Ron Paul’s campaign very, very late, as late as last night; is that right?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I was told by Kent Sorenson -- actually, it was the day before yesterday.

He called me. There were rumors that he was going to defect because the Ron Paul campaign was actually in trouble after the Sioux City debate that Fox had hosted. That’s when I took on Ron Paul over the issue of a nuclear Iran.

Then, the next day, we started a 99-county tour all across Iowa. And what we saw was remarkable. People were very upset by what they heard Ron Paul say. They saw that he would make a dangerous president. And we literally saw thousands of people over the last 10 days switching away from Ron Paul and over to me because they understood that he wouldn’t keep American safe.

And so when that happened, I think the Ron Paul campaign got nervous. They were working with Kent Sorenson. And Kent had then called me to apologize, because he said he was sorry for putting us in a situation, that he had been offered money, a lot of money by the Ron Paul campaign. He said he was tempted because he said everyone else has pulled out in Iowa; why wouldn’t I? But he said I’m not going to do it. It’d be the wrong thing.

The next day, he joined me for an event in Indianola, Iowa, and he assured me again that he was on board. But, after that, he drove to a Ron Paul event. And the Ron Paul campaign issued an extensive press release that clearly wasn’t spontaneous. And then Kent announced that he was switching.

This is, really, I think, an effort on the part of the Ron Paul campaign to make it look like my campaign was in trouble, when, in fact, just the opposite is true. We have been gaining incredible momentum, including, last night alone, we had 150 new people say that they were going to sign up and speak for me at the caucuses.

We were at an event last night -- 300 people came out at one event. At the next stop, it was with 250. We have enormous momentum.

BOLLING: Congresswoman, let me do this. I want to stay on this for a minute, if I may.

Earlier today, our own Megyn Kelly interviewed Kent Sorenson. And he had something to say. He actually -- if he didn’t say -- call you a liar, he alluded to the fact that he thought you were lying about this interchange. Take a listen to the clip from earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENT SORENSON, FORMER MICHELE BACHMANN IOWA CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIRMAN: I did not accept any money from the Ron Paul campaign.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: But, you know, as you know, accept is different than offered. And I just want to make clear you’re also saying they never offered it? No one, not Ron Paul, not anybody affiliated with his campaign or supporting his campaign offered you any money to support Ron Paul?

SORENSON: I was never offered a nickel from the Ron Paul campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)BOLLING: Congresswoman, how do you respond to that?

BACHMANN: Well, I had a direct conversation with Kent Sorenson when he told he was offered money, a lot of money.

And it wasn’t just me that he spoke to. There is also Susan Geddes, his former campaign manager, who went on record with the AP and said that he told her the same thing. He told numerous people inside of our campaign that he was offered significant money, including our Iowa chair, Eric Woolson. And he’s willing to go on record.

We have a number of people that he said this to. And so it’s pretty clear. I know what Kent told me. And this is really about the Ron Paul campaign. They are nervous because their momentum has gotten stalled. We picked up that momentum. And they wanted a game-changer.

BOLLING: Congresswoman, do you think -- do you think Kent Sorenson was a Ron Paul mole throughout this whole ordeal?

BACHMANN: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think he was.

I think that what this was is a move on the part of the Ron Paul campaign. After the Sioux City debate, they saw they were in trouble. They were clearly wounded after that debate. And so they wanted to do a game-changer. And this is what they came up with.

BOLLING: You know, I’m just -- I listened to that interview with Megyn Kelly. And he started the interview saying that he has always been a Ron Paul fan, he wanted to work for Ron Paul, but then he came to you and decided to work for you.

BACHMANN: Right.

BOLLING: I’m watching this guy, and I’m trying to take this apart.

I’m wondering if all along he was working for Ron Paul, or at least had his eyes on working for Ron Paul. But, what a terrible time to leave your campaign, if anything, I commend you for being stand-up. Boy, you have had a -- you have worked so hard in Iowa.

For this to happen now, please comment. Tell us how you feel.

BACHMANN: Well, you know, I want to think the best about people.

And I think that -- I know that Kent had a lot of support from Ron Paul people when he ran for the state Senate. And I think they were disheartened when he went to work with me early on when I first announced. But I think they -- I think, honestly, this is an opening that the Ron Paul campaign people saw.

And they saw that, again, after the Fox debate in Sioux City, I very effectively took Ron Paul apart on his dangerous foreign policy concerns, his viewpoint. That’s really what this was about, because it’s unbelievable, the traction that we have had since the Sioux City debate, literally thousands of people switching and coming to my side.

And so, the Ron Paul people -- in fact, Ron Paul and I share about 50 percent of the youth vote. That’s a very important vote for Ron Paul, and he’s trying a last-minute move here. And this is what the move was.

BOLLING: Take a look at our own Griff Jenkins. He went to try and get a comment from Ron Paul. And this is what he got.

Guys, roll that clip, if you don’t mind.

BACHMANN: Sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEW REPORTER: Can you comment whether your campaign offered any money to Kent Sorenson to join your campaign from the Bachmann campaign?

(CROSSTALK)

JENKINS: Any comment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We’re going back down to the cars.

JENKINS: Congressman -- no comment at all, Congressman? No money went to Kent, no money offered?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: Congresswoman, have you heard from the Ron Paul campaign at all?

BACHMANN: No, I haven’t.

It’s really up to the media to go and check that out with the Ron Paul campaign. All I can tell you is what Kent told me, what he told his former campaign manager, what he told numerous people on our campaign. He was struggling, because he was offered the money, and he was tempted. And that’s what it was, pure and simple.

But the bigger picture in all of this is the fact that we’ve literally seen thousands of defections this last week because people see that Ron Paul is dangerous on foreign policy. And they had a decision to make and they were slipping toward me.

No other candidate is doing a 99-county tour of Iowa. We are. And we have just seen phenomenal response. In fact, we’re doing our 98th county in about 10 days. We’re doing it right now. And then we’ll end with our 99th. And it has been phenomenal.

Like I said, last night, we had 300 people at one stop, 250 at another stop -- 150 people more signed up last night to speak on my behalf. We had our best day financially yesterday online. And, so, we’re seeing this huge groundswell of support. And I think this is why it happened, because Ron Paul is getting nervous.

BOLLING: All right, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, thank you so much for at least telling your side of the story here. We’re going to continue on this.

Thank you so much, Congresswoman.

BACHMANN: Thanks again, Eric. God bless. Bye-bye.

BOLLING: And you as well.

Content and Programming Copyright 2011 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright CQ-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 CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.