Bachmann: The Left 'Terribly Afraid' of Tea Party, Want to Throw It Under the Bus, Shut Down Government

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 29, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Does Senator Charles Schumer have egg on his face tonight! This is one conference call the senator will never forget! He gave colleagues a pep talk before they spoke to the media. There's only one problem. Journalists were already on the line and recording.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-NY: As I mentioned to Barbara a minute ago, I gave a floor speech along these lines. But I think it's our feeling that -- you know, that we should have not just the leadership doing this all the time, but you folks. So we really appreciate it. Harry and Dick and Patty and me really appreciate everybody getting on the phone.


SCHUMER: OK. The main thrust is, basically, that we want to negotiate and we want to come up with a compromise, but the Tea Party is pulling Boehner too far over to the right, and so far over that they're not -- there's no more fruitful negotiations. And the subtext of this is the only way we can avoid a shutdown is for Boehner to come up with a reasonable compromise and not just listen to what the Tea Party wants because the Tea Party wants to stick to HR-1, with its draconian extreme -- I always use the word "extreme" -- that's what the caucus instructed me to do the other week -- extreme cuts and all these riders. And Boehner's in a box. But if he supports the Tea Party, there's going to inevitably be a shutdown.


VAN SUSTEREN: Oops! The line suddenly went dead. Maybe someone in the senator's office caught on that journalists were also on the line.

Earlier tonight, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Congresswoman, nice to see you.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: Good to see you again, too, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, we don't have a budget, but at least now we finally know whose fault it is that we don't, and it's all yours.


BACHMANN: I didn't know I was that powerful! It is amazing! Same song, second verse because they've been after the Tea Party from the very beginning. It appears that the left is so terribly afraid of the Tea Party, and so they want to throw the Tea Party under the bus once again because they've decided they're not willing to negotiate. That's what we heard from Chuck Schumer. They're not willing to negotiate. So they want to put John Boehner in a box.

He won't be allowed to be put in a box. All the conservatives are trying to hang together right now because we definitely want to come to a solution. We're trying to work together. Chuck Schumer is saying they're not going to work together because they want the government to shut down. That's what they want. We want to make this thing work.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's sort of interesting. I suppose that in the Republican caucus in both houses, they're given instructions, too. But it's rather -- you know, it's sort of enlightening for the rest of us to hear Senator Schumer find out -- he takes marching orders from his caucus. They're all using the word "extreme." And I guess that it's sort of hard to think that if you're automatically tagging your opponent with "extreme," it's sort of hard to get a negotiation, get any traction when negotiating. But he got caught with his pants down on this one.

BACHMANN: Well, he got caught in a very unfortunate situation for himself because he's calling people extreme who just simply don't want to increase taxes, who don't want government to spend more than what it takes in and who wants us to act within the Constitution. That's who Chuck Schumer is calling extreme. And I think that's why so many of your viewers are continuing to reject the message of the left because it doesn't make any sense. They want government to shut down. We want to get to an answer and a solution so that we can make this work.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, former presidential candidate Howard Dean, former head of the DNC, was quoted earlier today with discussion about whether or not there'll be a government shutdown and his view of it. Here's what he's quoted as saying. "From a partisan point of view, I think it would be the best thing in the world to have a shutdown. That's because," Dean said, "Republicans would be blamed for it." Any thoughts on Howard Dean's remark?

BACHMANN: Well, I think what he's trying to do is send a message out to all of his buddies in the press corps, This is the direction we're going to take, we need you to help pile on. I think that, actually, the American people are going to see through this because they know now this is about a political chess game from the part of the left. And we're not about trying to be political right now. We really are wanting to solve this problem.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, it's very troubling. And again, like I said, I don't have tapes from your caucus or from the Republican caucus on either side. But Howard Dean went on to say, "If I was head of DNC, I would be quietly rooting for it," meaning the showdown. He says, "I know who's going to get blamed. We've been down this road before."

And I guess is the American people are trying to figure out, you know, how to keep their jobs, how to pay their mortgages.

BACHMANN: That's right. That's right.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you hear that a party -- and I said the Democrats got caught today, I don't know what the Republicans are doing -- but with having their code words of extreme, getting it all sort of set up and be cagey about it, and you've got the former head of the DNC saying he's rooting for a shutdown, it really doesn't suggest that -- you know, that this is a type of negotiation of good heart and good mind. It feels like gamesmanship.

BACHMANN: Well, because that's exactly what it is. And I think when you have people that prominent, like Howard Dean or like Chuck Schumer, coming out and saying this is their goal, their end goal is to see the government shut down -- it isn't our goal. We are principled and we do have positions that we want to fight for, but it isn't our goal to see a shutdown because, quite frankly, they believe that the American people -- they want the American people to blame Republicans.

Well, now we have proof positive you can't blame Republicans. Republicans aren't wanting to shut the government down. It's Chuck Schumer and Howard Dean saying they want to see the government shut down! So I think the cat's out of the bag.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, Speaker Boehner says he won't commit to any short- term continuing resolution. What's your view on a continuing resolution, if we get to April 8th and there's still no budget?

BACHMANN: Well, I think that in our Republican -- the Republicans in the House, we want to see a long-term solution. We just think that it's time to have this thing end. We need to get a budget going from now until September 30th because, remember, Speaker Pelosi...


BACHMANN: ... failed to pass a budget. So we have to get it done, so we...

VAN SUSTEREN: And if there's none? And if there's no budget on April 8th, will you vote for a continuing resolution or a shutdown?

BACHMANN: Well, I -- we don't know what it's going to be until then. We really don't. And here's my thing that I'm concerned about is all of the funding for "Obamacare" -- it was on your show where I revealed that there's $105,464 million of funding already appropriated to put "Obamacare" into place. I think the American people deserve that money back. That's what I want to see as a part of any budget resolution and as a part of a debt ceiling.

Remember, there's another, bigger vote coming around the corner, and that's the fact that Congress is spending so darn much money, now we have to raise the debt ceiling so Congress can keep spending. That's a very dicey vote, and I think that we need to change the arc of history and get all that spending from "Obamacare" back. That's what's driving all of this, the stimulus spending, the budget -- the "Obamacare" -- that's driving the need for all this spending.

VAN SUSTEREN: So that I understand your view, I mean, how many billions would need to be cut from the budget for to you vote for it? Do you have a number?

BACHMANN: What I need to have is I need to see a defunding of "Obamacare." I'm not worried as much, Greta, about whether it's $20 billion or $62 billion. In my opinion, that won't change the arc of history. What will change history is whether or not "Obamacare" is funded. Today, as you and I are talking, it's funded. We need to see it defunded because the American people, the members of the House...

VAN SUSTEREN: Then let me ask you...

BACHMANN: ... the members of the Senate...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... this question...

BACHMANN: ... didn't even know about this funding.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm trying to understand the position. Is it -- if there's no defunding of the national health care, will you still vote for a budget?

BACHMANN: I will not. I will not because I'm going to fight on this issue because the American people want us to. Sixty-two percent of the American people, Greta, more than at any other time since "Obamacare" passed, want us to get rid of this bill. They expect us to fight, and that's what I'm going to do.