Interview with Representative Michele Bachmann

Interview with Representative Michele Bachmann

By John King, USA - April 17, 2012

KING: Not everyone, of course, has jumped on the Romney bandwagon, including Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who not long ago was a Romney rival for the nomination. She's my guest now from Capitol Hill.

Congressman [SIC], are you ready? Is it time to back Mitt Romney?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Well, I think just like you saw in 2008, when Hillary Rodham Clinton dropped out of the presidential race, there were 18 million women that had gotten behind Senator Clinton. And it took some coalition building time for those women to be comfortable with Barack Obama's candidacy.

And I think what we're seeing right now, it hasn't hardly been a week yet since Senator Santorum dropped out of the race. We're seeing coalitions coming together. As you saw, the speaker of the House and the Republican leader of the Senate have come out today for Governor Romney. And I think we're seeing coalitions, whether it's social conservatives, Tea Partiers, they're assessing the situation. And I think that we will be seeing that coalescing and the uniting around our nominee. I have no doubt.

KING: But why aren't you ready just yet? The governor could use your help.

If you look at our latest polling, registered voters support for president, among women, Obama 55, Romney 35. A huge gender gap, Congresswoman. Governor Romney needs your help, and he could use it now. What's he lacking? Why haven't -- why aren't you ready to come on board?

BACHMANN: Well, there's a huge gender gap that Barack Obama has to deal with, too. It's a male gender gap. Men don't necessarily trust Barack Obama, especially with what he has done to the economy.

And again, we will see uniting within our party. But the gender gap is there. Barack Obama has a big problem when it comes to men.

KING: But what about you and women? Has Governor Romney called you? Has his campaign reached out to you? Are you looking to see something before you say, "Bang, I'm ready to sign on"?

BACHMANN: Well, after being involved in 15 debates with Governor Romney, we are friends and we've been friends for a long time with all of the candidates. And last week I was in contact with Rick Santorum. I had a wonderful conversation with Governor Romney.

And we'll continue to progress forward, because my goal has been to be a voice of uniting our party. And I'm a mother of five children and 23 foster children. And sometimes there's negotiations that go on. But we are seeing a coalition building. I'm very excited with what I'm seeing. Not a lot of bumps in the road, but I'm very exciting -- excited about bringing factions together. That's what I want to do: be a voice for uniting our party. KING: Give him some advice. You're in good standing with social conservatives, in good standing with the Tea Party. Governor Romney announced the beginning of his vice-presidential search process the other day. What kind of person should he pick? Should he pick a woman, for example?

BACHMANN: I thought it was a very good statement coming from Governor Romney, that he will be choosing someone who's pro-life as his vice presidential candidate. That's very important for a party. We're the party that stands behind the protection of defenseless, innocent human life. And I think that he sent a very powerful signal, and I know that some pro-life groups have already gotten on board with them, as well.

And again, this is what we're doing. It doesn't happen overnight. We're in the process of coalescing and uniting, and it's all in due time.

KING: Should Michele Bachmann be on that list?

BACHMANN: For -- for uniting? We will all be coming together, yes.

KING: As he looks at potential running mates, should you be on that list?

BACHMANN: Well, he'll make that decision. That's up to the governor. We trust him to make the wisest decision for his team and for our party. And we know that he'll do that.

KING: Let me ask you another question about our recent polling. Last year in 2010 in particular -- we're in 2012 now -- the Tea Party was the flavor of the month if you will, the driving force in American politics. If you look now at...

BACHMANN: It's more than a flavor of a month, John. This has been a long-term presence. This will keep. This is a two-year presence so far.

KING: So why these numbers? Favorable opinion of the Tea Party movement, 34 percent. Unfavorable, 43 percent. Unsure, 23. Why are more Americans now saying, "We have an unfavorable view" than a favorable view?

BACHMANN: I think what's even more important is the fact that people who call themselves Tea Partiers stand for the Constitution. They stand for "we're taxed enough already," and they believe that government has to stop spending more money than what it takes in.

When people know that that's what the Tea Party stands for, they say, "Hey, that's me, too." People share those dreams and goals.

And the Tea Party as an organization isn't looking at building itself up. It's looking at these ideas and issues. This is what they want to progress in the halls of Congress. And I think this fall President Obama won't be able to make the sale on any of those scores. He's a tax increaser. He's spent way more money than any other president has in past times. We've seen it with his debt accumulation. He's accumulated as much debt in one term as George Bush accumulated in two terms.

That's not going to sell well with the American people, and that's why I think he's going to have a very hard time this November. I'm very confident that our nominee will be able to win. It will be a tough fight. We've got to come together, but it can be done.

KING: Congresswoman Bachmann, appreciate your time tonight.

BACHMANN: Thank you, John.

KING: Thank you. 

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