Michele Bachmann reflects on her run for president

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 26, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Personal Story" segment tonight, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Minnesota has announced she will seek re-election this year and she joins us now from Minneapolis. So are you happy you're out of all the nastiness and you don't have to do that. Not that you were. You weren't.

But if you were a contender you would be getting hammered right now. Are you happy you are out of that?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN(R-MN), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, that's part of the fray. You do get the snot beaten out of you. And that's just the way that this system works and it's actually a good system. I defend the process.

This the toughest job in the world. You have to be a very tough individual. I actually enjoyed the process. It made me a better person. The toughest thing about --


O'REILLY: Do you wish though, right now that you were, quote, "getting the snot beat out of you". Do you wish that were happening to you right now?

BACHMANN: I wish -- I wish I was going to be on the debate stage.


BACHMANN: I loved the debates. I wish I could have been a part of every single debate. I wanted to answer every question. It's a wonderful process because it helps to explain positions to people across the United States and explain why Barack Obama can't have a second term. It's a wonderful process.

O'REILLY: Ok, now, Laura Ingraham and I just discussed the right going after Newt Gingrich pretty hard. A lot of the -- you know, Chris Christie, Bob Dole, George Will, Ann Coulter they're all hammering Gingrich. Are you surprised by that and why do you think that's happening?

BACHMANN: No. It's going to continue until the voters make their decision about who our nominee will be. This will keep up and you will see people in various camps. But this will continue until the voters decide. And it may be fairly quickly, may be Florida.


O'REILLY: But why -- why is the right going after what used to be a - - why is the right going after what used to be a standard bearer of the right? That surprised me. I didn't think they were going to do that.

BACHMANN: Oh I think you're going to see them continue to go after whoever rises to the top.


O'REILLY: Why would -- why would conservative Republicans -- why would conservative Republicans go after whoever rises to the top they want -- I'm not talking the media here Michele, I'm talking about stalwart Republicans who don't want president Obama re-elected. They are going after Newt Gingrich in a big way. And I think that's pretty surprising.

BACHMANN: Well I think that -- again, it's whoever is at the top. And people for -- are -- are divided up into various camps. And they are going to go -- you are going to see names going after certain candidates.

For me, I intend to play a unifying role. I want this party to come together. I want Independents to be attracted to our candidate. Because I am committed to making sure that Barack Obama doesn't have a second term.



BACHMANN: I said all throughout the campaign.


O'REILLY: Who is the stronger candidate right now, right now against Obama? Of all four --


BACHMANN: Well, let -- let me finish saying.


O'REILLY: Wait, wait, now if you don't want to answer just say -- people will understand.

You got four guys competing in Florida right now. In your opinion, you know them all, you competed against them all. Who is the stronger today? Which one?

BACHMANN: I am not going to answer that question.

O'REILLY: Ok. And I respect that. I respect it.


BACHMANN: Because I do believe -- because I do believe as I said through the campaign that this is the last exit ramp for the country. If we don't get it right this time, we may not be able to get our way back.

O'REILLY: Ok, all right.

BACHMANN: But this process is doing the vetting that needs to be done.

O'REILLY: Now, Mitt Romney has done a little bit better this week in Florida. He's rising in the polls according to Rasmussen and Gingrich is very, very competitive. But he's going down a little bit. And I think it's because of Ann Coulter and Bob Dole and Chris Christie and they're putting doubt in the minds of the conservative hierarchy in Florida. They are going gee, if all of these people don't like him, Tom Delay. Tom Delay, if all of them don't like him and it's personal, very personal this stuff, there must be something wrong there.

And I don't know how the speaker can -- how can he mitigate that.

BACHMANN: Well, whoever goes to the top, if you go all the way back to August -- whoever goes to the top, they don't stay there very long and they go straight down. And people have a very short shelf life. And it's almost like the voters have whiplash. They go from one candidate to another and they -- they completely go with one candidate and then they'll hear some information and they'll move away. And so people are looking for perfection.

But at a certain point, they'll recognize we have to have a standard bearer. And I think Florida's result will be decisive. Whichever way it goes I think it will be decisive because it's a winner take all.


O'REILLY: But that's interesting, so you say whoever wins Florida you think is going to get the nomination?

BACHMANN: I don't know if I'm going that far.


O'REILLY: Well decisive -- Congresswoman decisive that's the word.

BACHMANN: It will be decisive -- it will be decisive in that we could see a few candidates drop out and I think it could be a rallying point.


BACHMANN: Because it's winner take all. And even though we have a long way to go to get the requisite number of delegates. The fact on the ground is that you have to have money to be able to keep the mother ship going.


O'REILLY: And the money will come. Sure.

BACHMANN: In that's -- that's the determiner.

O'REILLY: All right, Congresswoman always a pleasure to speak with you. Thanks for coming on.


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