OTR Interviews

Bachmann: Why did I endorse Mitt Romney? Two words: Barack Obama

Former presidential candidate explains her backing the presumptive GOP nominee and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 3, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, it's been a big day for Governor Mitt Romney, former presidential candidate Representative Michele Bachmann officially endorsing her former rival.

Congresswoman Bachmann joins us. Good evening.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN./FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good evening, Greta. Good to talk to you this evening.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, things certainly have changed. So I know that it's no surprise that this candidate -- that this next phase of the election gets rolled out, you are going to see every sound bite you ever made saying something about Governor Romney. You're going to have to answer to it. It's going to be in every ad. And you're going to do it to the other side.

So tell me, you called him a frugal socialist. Now what are you going to do? How do you -- how do you support him now?

BACHMANN: Well, of course I can support him. Two words, Barack Obama. That's our alternative. We have President Barack Obama or we can have President Mitt Romney. It's very easy for me to come forward and support Mitt Romney because we simply have to win the election. He is our nominee.

This week, we saw Newt Gingrich drop out of the race. And what I've said from the very beginning, Greta, is that I want to be a unifying voice to bring our party together at the right time. I've spent a long time working behind the scenes, trying to draw in people from the Tea Party, evangelicals, social conservatives. We all have to come together.

Everything's at stake right now. It's far bigger than the differences between the primary candidates. Now it's about the country and getting the country back on the right track.

VAN SUSTEREN: But -- but how do you inspire the -- you know, the evangelicals or the Tea Party, who are the people who have been very loyal to you, for instance, in this -- how do you inspire them when, essentially, it seems that I hear from you and from Speaker Gingrich is that -- that your support for Governor Romney is, Well, he's not as bad as the other guy?

I mean, that doesn't seem particularly inspiring, like, you know, Go out, he's going to change things and fix things (INAUDIBLE) going after him, it's, like, how inspiring is it to say he's not as bad as the other guy?

BACHMANN: Well, the process of the primary makes the candidate so much stronger. And of course, when each one of us were running in the primary, we had our differences. They were legitimate differences.

But now they pale in comparison to what Barack Obama has done to the country for the last three-and-a-half years. I have full confidence in Mitt Romney's ability to be able to be our standard bearer for our party.

And more than just the Republican Party, I truly believe that he will appeal and reach out to independents and disaffected Democrats because, after all, they don't want to pay 110 percent more for a gallon of gas at the pump, either. And they want a job for their kids that are graduating from college, too.

This is far more than partisan differences, and I think it'll be very easy for all factions to come together and get behind Mitt Romney. He's the guy that we can trust to put the economy back on track.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Jonathan Karl of ABC reported that you told him that -- that Governor Romney can't beat -- this is prior -- obviously prior to today -- that Governor Romney can't beat President Obama and it's because of the Massachusetts health care.

Has something changed since you told him that? Or do you have -- have you rethought it? I mean, because that seems like a pretty strong statement.

BACHMANN: It was a very strong statement. And when I said that to Jonathan Karl, of course, it was during the primary election. And something did change, and let me tell you what it is.

This was my major contribution to the presidential candidacy of the primaries. I've made "Obama care" a signature issue of mine because that was President Obama's signature issue of his presidency. When Governor Romney began the primary process, he said that he was going to issue waivers to "Obama care." And from my point of view, that didn't cut t. We need a full-scale repeal.

Today, I spoke to Governor Romney. He's fully behind full-square repeal of "Obama care" and nothing less! That's a tremendous advancement in Governor Romney's view on "Obama care." And I think this is exactly where the country is, and he will be able to lead us to the repeal of "Obama care."

VAN SUSTEREN: Were you able to -- in your discussions with Governor Romney in anticipation of the endorsement, were you able to sort of extract some sort of agreements in terms of, like, you know, what your role would be vis-a-vis, like, trying to, like, get the Tea Party vote or evangelicals, or even any -- any role you'll have in this campaign or in the -- at the convention?

Were you able to sort of, you know, work out something that -- so that your supporters are content?

BACHMANN: Well, if you're asking if I got something personally out of this deal, the answer is...

VAN SUSTEREN: Not personally.

BACHMANN: ... no.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't mean...

BACHMANN: I wasn't looking for anything...

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't mean...

BACHMANN: ... out of this.

VAN SUSTEREN: I didn't mean personally, but I mean...

BACHMANN: I wasn't looking for anything because...

VAN SUSTEREN: I didn't mean -- let me...

BACHMANN: ... because for me, quite frankly...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... just say -- I didn't -- I didn't -- I didn't mean personally. But I mean, your supporters want you to get something, I mean, because -- I mean, they -- they admire you. They want you. And so you -- you know, you -- in some ways, you got to get something for them. It may look personal, but you get it for them.

BACHMANN: Well, I think what Governor Romney is giving to the country is he's standing full-square behind the pro-life cause. He stands for life. He believes in marriage between one man and one woman. He stands for that. And also he stands for the full repeal of "Obama care."

We have one chance, Greta, to get rid of "Obamacare." It's the 2012 election. And if Governor Romney is willing to stand behind the full-scale repeal of "Obamacare," that is a big get for everyone in this country because there are elements in our party for social conservatives that need "Obama care" repealed because it means for the first time in our country, taxpayer-subsidized abortion. That's anathema.

And also, it's the biggest job killer in the United States, the number one reason that job creators cite for not creating more jobs. This is a big get for our party!

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, suppose that by the end of June, the Supreme Court throws out the health care. And that's sort of -- you know, that's what the -- Governor Romney -- I mean, like, many of his supporters are running on. But suppose that they throw that out. Now what you are running on July 1st to election day?

BACHMANN: Well, that would be a wonderful advancement. I hope that the Supreme Court does declare "Obamacare" unconstitutional because I firmly believe it is unconstitutional and it's going to be anathema for our economy to be able to turn around. I'm fully hoping that they do that.

If they do pull that down, there are so many issues for us to run on because Obama has taken over other parts of the economy, too, whether it's with Dodd-Frank or taking over the student loan industry. There's no shortage of issues to run on.

And the issue that we talked about today in Portsmouth, Virginia, with Governor Romney was on energy. And this is one of the chief areas of job growth. Millions of jobs can be created in America on energy. And that's what Governor Romney is committed to doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congresswoman, thank you very much. Hope to see you in the studio soon.

BACHMANN: We will. Thanks again, Greta.