OTR Interviews

Bachmann: Obama has been 'defeat through weakness'

Congresswoman discusses new district lines and other challenges in reelection campaign, the latest in the 2012 race

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 21, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has big news. She joins us from Minneapolis. Good evening, Congresswoman.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: Good evening, Greta. Good to be on with you tonight.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I understand you had some big news this afternoon, so I won't steal the headline. I'll let you do it. What was your announcement today?

BACHMANN: Well, I announced today that I'll be running in the sixth congressional district here in Minnesota. The maps finally came out, and so I made my announcement about what I'll be doing. And the battle is engaged. And I won't be running for president, but I will be running for my seat again here in Minnesota in the sixth district.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what's peculiar, though, is you don't live in the sixth district, so explain that. What happened?

BACHMANN: Well, what happened is that the judges drew the maps, and so I'll be continuing to represent the district that I did for the last six years. I'll be running for that seat. So I'll stay with the seat that I was, but the judges drew me out of that seat and drew me into a Democrat seat.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so that your home is still in -- is in the 4 -- your home was in the 6th, is that it, and then they carved you out into the 4, or vice versa?

BACHMANN: That's right. The sixth congressional district that I formerly represented stayed essentially intact, other than they drew me out of that seat. Per the Constitution, we don't have to physically live in the district to represent it, and what I'll be doing is continuing that representation of the people that I represented before, and I'll put my name in to run again in that seat.

It'll be very tough because these always are. And there is no bigger burr under the saddle of President Obama. I can't imagine there's any other member he'd like to see less in the House of Representatives than myself. So it'll be a very difficult fight, but I announced today that I'll be running in the sixth congressional district.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Let's go to Michigan for a second, a very close race in Michigan. Your thoughts on it? I mean, everyone's wondering what happens if Governor Romney loses it because, of course, that's his home state. That's where he was raised. Your thoughts on why it's neck and neck there?

BACHMANN: Well, it's anyone's guess as to why it's neck and neck. I think things will be in sharper light after the debate tomorrow night. I look forward to hearing the debate. That's the only debate that we have before Michigan and Arizona and the only debate that we have before super- Tuesday.

So I think there's a lot of pressure tomorrow night on this debate, and I think it'll bring a lot of issues to light for people. They'll take a look at that, and I think that'll have far-ranging impact going forward.

VAN SUSTEREN: What kind of issues could possibly be left, I mean, for people to consider, unless you -- unless you've been -- you know, haven't paid any attention at all to the debates? And I suppose there are people in those home states who have been busy working and putting food on the table and taking care of the children and they haven't followed it. But for the most part, are there -- I mean, haven't the -- haven't the issues sort of been debated and argued and the differences been established and now we're just left into this food fight?

BACHMANN: Well, I think that whatever the issues are at the moment, that's what people are paying attention to. People saw 3D what "ObamaCare" looks like in the last few weeks. That played heavily into the last races, the last elections.

Now I think we're seeing, as well, the Middle East coming more to the fore. What's happening with foreign policy? What has President Obama done wrong in terms of strategic blunders on foreign policy? And they're legion. So I think you're going to hear the candidates talk much more about foreign policy. They'll be talking about "ObamaCare."

This will be very important in this upcoming debate, and that'll help define the presidential election going forward. And super-Tuesday I think will be extremely important in choosing our nominee.

But again, don't forget, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton battled this out until June four years ago, and I think that we'll probably see a nominee far before that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think you're right. There's been sort of a narrative. I made a list of issues. We started with jobs and we went to social issues like contraception and the battle over that issue, and then now there's a little discussion of gasoline. And then everyone's got his eyes on whether or not Israel hits Iran or not and what our position is in terms of supporting whatever Israel does.

So I mean, there is sort of the narrative. I do agree with you on that. But I'm curious, are you going to be endorsing a candidate?

BACHMANN: Well, I still reserve the right to. My intention is to be a unifying person in this race, and so I will be with whoever the nominee is. But at a certain point, it may make sense to come out and make an endorsement. At this point, I think it's still wide open and the people need to have their say. My intention, more than anything, is to pull people together, and at the right time, that's what I intend to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: How does it -- when does it make sense -- you say, if it makes sense to endorse, you will. What would that be?

BACHMANN: Well, I think those factors will come together. I think we need to get through super-Tuesday. I think that's very important. That's a high collection of races, and I think we'll have more clarity at that point.

And again, I have been focused on my sixth congressional district, what's going to happen here. And I know without a shadow of a doubt I'm going to remain a very high, visible target for the Democrats to defeat, so I've been focused on that today in particular.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you about Iran and Israel. What would you be -- what's your position on that? What should we be doing?

BACHMANN: Well, as president of the United States, Barack Obama should have come out full square in Israel's court from day one of his presidency That's the number one strategic blunder in foreign policy that this president has made.

And couple that with the fact that he was willing to sit down with Iran for negotiations without any preconditions -- terrible strategic blunders with far-reaching consequences. The president has given Iran the luxury of time to develop nuclear weapons, and he's continuing to make that.

I think what was horrific last week, we saw a suicide bomber attempt to blow up the Capitol on Friday in the same week that the FBI director sat down with groups that were calling on the FBI to pull over 1,000 different pieces of material so that the FBI could no longer even consider the Islamist slant of these potential suicide bombers.

That's dangerous. It's shortsighted. We can't be politically correct when it comes to securing the safety and security of the American people. These are strategic blunders made by the Obama administration, reprehensible, and ones that need to change.

VAN SUSTEREN: In light of where we are in terms of -- I mean, the president didn't sit down, it didn't happen, it didn't go right. I'm curious whether or not you think looking into the crystal ball whether or not you think that Iran is going to have a nuclear weapon or whether that will be stopped.

BACHMANN: Oh, I think there's no question what Iran's intentions are. They couldn't be more...

VAN SUSTEREN: But will they get it?

BACHMANN: ... clear with the world.

VAN SUSTEREN: But will they get it?

BACHMANN: They will if we don't -- they will if we don't prevent them from getting it. And that's why we have to not only go forward with economic sanctions, but we have to let it be known in no uncertain terms to every nation in the world that we are prepared to use any weapon, including any form of our military, put it all on the table, let them know that we will stand with Israel.

That has to be absolutely unequivocal if we are to truly achieve peace because President Obama has engaged a position that has been the antithesis of Ronald Reagan. Reagan was peace through strength, and Obama has been defeat with weakness. That's what we are seeing. We're seeing the rest of the world has perceived weakness on his part, and that's why you've seen these rising levels of aggressive hostility.

That's very dangerous. This, I believe, is Barack Obama's legacy. It's failures on strategic policy and foreign policy. It's why he can't have a second term!

VAN SUSTEREN: Congresswoman, thank you. Got to go.