Rep. Michele Bachmann on Radio Shoot-out With Sen. Arlen Specter

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This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 25, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: Last week, our pal Dom Giordano hosted a radio program in Philadelphia where Senator Arlen Specter and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann were guests debating Obamacare. It did not go well.


SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, D-PENN.: Now wait a minute. I'll stop and you can talk.


SPECTER: I'll treat you like a lady, so act like one.

BACHMANN: Well, I am a lady.

SPECTER: My question to you was what did you vote for?

BACHMANN: I voted for prosperity. I didn't vote for the government takeover of private industry.

SPECTER: She said, I voted for prosperity. Well, prosperity wasn't a bill.

BACHMANN: Well why don't we make it a bill?

SPECTER: Now wait a minute, don't interrupt me. I didn't interrupt you. Act like a lady.

BACHMANN: Well, I think I am a lady.

SPECTER: I think you are too, that's why I'm treating you like one, but just don't interrupt me.


O'REILLY: What was he talking about? Joining us now from St. Paul, Minnesota, is Congresswoman Bachmann. I may have to interrupt you, but I'm not going to tell to you act like a lady. Act like a lady, what is he talking about? All right. Let's just set this up. You are debating Obamacare. Clearly, you were saying, look, I don't want the government to take over the health industry.


O'REILLY: What didn't Arlen Specter understand about that?

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BACHMANN: Well, you know, I think last week was so much pent-up frustration for the Democrats. In light of what happened to Scott Brown overwhelmingly winning in Massachusetts, you could just feel the tension, Bill, last week in Washington, D.C., with Democrats. I think it was very difficult for them to come to terms with what had just happened, perhaps that's what happened. This was my first time to ever meet Senator Specter in person but I also wanted to say that he did call me yesterday at my home. He apologized. I accepted his apology. And we said let's just go back to Washington…

O'REILLY: Good for him.

BACHMANN: …work together and move forward. So I give him that.

O'REILLY: A couple of observations. No. 1, you were magnificent, the way you kept your cool and you just — declarative sentences and you destroyed him. And people should understand there are a couple ways to debate. You could have gone right after him and said you are disrespectful, don't talk down to me, don't be condescending. You could have done that. I would have done that like an idiot. I probably would have played right into Specter's hands and been worse than he was. But you were so cool and just destroyed him with, "I am a lady."

Now, here's the question. Were you aware of what was happening? Did you have to restrain yourself from being more, you know, aggressive toward him?

BACHMANN: Well, we sat about 12 inches apart from each other and I was frankly stunned by the interchange but I was really talking about the substance. I was talking about the substance of not only health care but the out-of-control spending and I really wanted to get to my points because, to me, this sort of thing is kind of a circus side show.

What's really happening is our country, which is spending more money than we can possibly afford to pay back, the concerns with national security, with health care. This weekend the president said he is planning on going forward with health care, so those are the issues that I really was worried about. Not really this kind of circus sideshow.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, why do you think, other than frustration from the Massachusetts election, that a veteran guy like Specter has been through it all, I mean, he has seen it all. He is a crusty old guy. I mean, there is no doubt about it. He doesn't like to be challenged. He doesn't like to be interrupted. He has been in the Senate for a very long period of time. But it seemed to me that he was more annoyed with you personally, that there was a personal edge there. Did you feel that?

BACHMANN: I wouldn't know why, again, because it was the first time I met him. But what it seemed to me, Bill, it was emblematic of what happened last week. The voters have seen an arrogance come out of Washington, D.C., and I think that's kind of what you heard in that interchange, in that radio conversation, was a sense of arrogance that came out and telling the people, the little guy to kind of sit down and shut up, Washington knows better. That is not true. And I think the American people right now are trying to tell Washington, listen to us. We have figured out some things. Listen to us. We don't want you spending this money that we don't have and we don't want you taking over our health care.

O'REILLY: All right. Now I've got to ask you this question because we had discussed it before you came on the first couple of segments. You have been involved with the Tea Party movement to some extent. I know you have spoken to those groups. Do you see a tension between the Tea Party people and so-called moderate establishment Republicans?

BACHMANN: Well, I think that what we are seeing is that the Republican Party is waking up, too. And they are recognizing that the real uprising happening across America isn't just about Republicans. It's about disaffected Democrats, independents, Republicans, saying wait a minute, the country isn't working anymore. Let's get back to balance here. And I think now we're seeing elements in the Republican Party listen to the people. That's why…

O'REILLY: Will the Tea Party — and I know I just interrupted you.

BACHMANN: Go ahead.

O'REILLY: Will the Tea Party people become the dominant force of the Republican Party?

BACHMANN: Well, I think they will. And if the Republican Party is smart, they will embrace the Tea Party movement.

O'REILLY: All right. Congresswoman, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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