Bill O'Reilly Presses Michele Bachmann About Her Presidential Aspirations

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 5, 2011. 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: Will Congresswoman Michele Bachmann run for president? In the first quarter of this year, she raised $2.2 million. By contrast, Mitt Romney raised $1.9 million. Ms. Bachmann has been in Iowa recently. She was born and raised there, and has told the media she's very interested in the 2012 presidential election.

Joining us now from Washington is Michele Bachmann. So do you want to make an announcement tonight, Congresswoman, to the world on what you're going to do? That would be good.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: Well, thank you. Maybe we'll do that sometime in the future, but I haven't made the decision yet. Probably sometime this summer.

O'REILLY: So why did you go to Iowa though? Why would you bother going there and shaking hands and you're a busy lady, and you go out there and you -- you are campaigning or politicking out there. Why would you do that?

BACHMANN: Well, because I have been here on the frontlines fighting against all of the gargantuan growth of government for the last five years that we definitely need a change. And I've been in the early primary states talking to the perspective voters about how we can -- how we cannot afford a second term of Barack Obama.

O'REILLY: But why go to the early primary states. Why are you there?

BACHMANN: Well, because they're the ones that will make a crucial decision about who our nominee will be. I personally believe we do have a very strong opportunity to make Barack Obama a one-term president. They are very crucial voters, so I want to talk to them about the issues. And in the course of that, I have been urged by a number of people in the states to actually consider running and we're in the process of doing that.

O'REILLY: OK. So you are considering running for the presidency. Now, what qualifies you -- it's very hard, as you know, for a congressperson to get elected president. It's usually senators or governors or, you know, that kind of a deal. But why would you be more qualified than the other hundreds of congresspeople to be president?

BACHMAN: Well, I agree. It is unusual. Usually it is a governor or a senator. But I think what people are looking for is someone who is new and different and someone who is a known quantity as a fighter against the political establishment of Washington, D.C., and I have credentials there. I spent my five years in Washington, D.C., fighting against the gargantuan growth of government and against the political class. I'm a former federal tax lawyer. I have worked in the United States tax court. I also am a business -- successful business person. We created jobs in Minnesota, and I also have a background in state government in Minnesota as well. I'm a reformer, a principled reformer. And I have fought on behalf of the people that I serve. And that's what I believe that people are looking for. A practical, principled reform-minded individual who will stand strong in some really tough fights, even if it means only serving as a one- term president. We need someone who is going to stand strong for the folks back home.

O'REILLY: Do you have the frame of reference to deal with complicated issues like China trade? Like Iran nuclear? Like the unintended consequences? We had Donald Trump on last week. I don't know whether you saw that or not. Mr. Trump is running almost on the same line as you are that the government has to be reformed, that he's an outsider, that he will take bold stances and this, that and the other thing. But the frame of reference required in this world is so extensive, and I think that's where Barack Obama ran into trouble. That he just doesn't have the experience level to deal with China, when China is devaluing its, you know, its currency and playing all kinds of games. And then Iran is doing this and trying to dominate the Gulf and backdoor and all of that. Do you have the frame of reference to do that?

BACHMANN: Well, again, I haven't made the decision. But I do have a very broad, extensive background. I'm a student of many years. I have studied a number -- a wide berth of topics. I sit currently on the Intelligence committee. We deal with the classified secrets and with the unrest that's occurring around the world. I also sit on Financial Services committee. But, again, I have lived life. Tomorrow I will be celebrating my 55th birthday.


BACHMANN: And I've had -- I've had a wide, extensive life. And, again, my background is a very practical solution…

O'REILLY: OK. And so you're a problem-solver.


O'REILLY: Now, you know the press is going to go after you. You made that gaffe in a speech where you said Lexington and Concorde were in New Hampshire when, of course, they're in Massachusetts. No. 1, what happened there? And No. 2, are you prepared for the onslaught of vicious press?

BACHMANN: Well, I did. I made a mistake and I promised I would never again use President Obama's teleprompter. And I intend to keep that promise. But -- I've -- I am used to vicious press. I come from a state that is what you might call a liberal state, and the press hasn't necessarily been on my side. But that hasn't bothered me at all.

O'REILLY: OK, so you are prepared for the Sarah Palin-type of attacks that will come your way? And why did you make that Lexington and Concord mistake? What happened there?

BACHMANN: Pardon me?

O'REILLY: What happened with the Lexington and Concord mistake? What happened there?

BACHMANN: Well, it was a mistake, and I don't want to throw anybody under the bus, so we're going to leave it at that. But the important thing to know is that no one endured more negative press…

O'REILLY: Well, wait a minute. I have to, you know, the No Spin Zone.

BACHMANN: No one endured more negative press, Bill, than Ronald Reagan, and the American people were able to see through that.

O'REILLY: OK, so what I'm taking from your answer there, just for curiosity purposes, is that somebody wrote that, you probably didn't read over your stuff and that's how it came out. Correct?

BACHMANN: I'm not going to throw anybody under the bus. I take full responsibility and we're just going to move on from there.

O'REILLY: All right. Tell me I'm a pinhead if I didn't characterize that right.

BACHMANN: I would never say that. Never say that.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, we like you. We think you are an honest woman. We think you've done a great job in Minnesota, but I just worry that the viciousness of this campaign, Congresswoman.

BACHMANN: It's very vicious, Bill. But that's – that's…

O'REILLY: Yes, it's going to be as vicious as we have ever seen in this country.

BACHMANN: It will, it will. There is no question. Because, again, what we're looking at is someone who would be coming up against Barack Obama.


BACHMANN: That's what we are looking at. We need somebody who is going to be very, very strong, very tough and willing to take on these arguments and these debates. During my time here in Washington, D.C., I have been unafraid to take on each one of these debates, whether it's the bailouts, the stimulus or today dealing with the current unrest in the Middle East.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, good luck to you, Congresswoman. I appreciate you coming on the program. If you want to make an announcement, you've got the forum here any time you want it.

BACHMANN: Thank you very much.

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