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Fox News "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" - Transcript

Interview

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, it's a big night for Governor Mitt Romney. Is he the GOP nominee? Congresswoman Michele Bachmann joins us. Good evening, Congresswoman.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN./FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good evening, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, it's not official, but he swept five. Big night for him tonight.

BACHMANN: He did. This is Governor Romney's night. This was -- this kind of told the tale. I don't think anyone really thought that was going to be in contention, but I think this really was turning the page in the Romney campaign, and ultimately, to gain access to the White House because now what we know that we need to do is make sure that Obama's a one-termer, and I think Mitt Romney's the man to do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does that mean you're ready to endorse Governor Romney?

BACHMANN: Well, I've been working very hard for the last few weeks to be able to unite our party. That's really been my focus. It isn't about me, it's about defeating Barack Obama. So I've been working with the Tea Party and conservatives, social conservatives, to try to bring people together, and I think we're making a lot of progress.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's the -- why don't you just endorse him? I'm curious. I mean, I understand you're sort of working everybody together. But now that it's sort of fait accompli, I mean, everyone -- I mean, I realize that Speaker Gingrich has not moved out yet, but why -- why not endorse him if he's the party -- and I take it you'd rather have him president than -- than President
Obama president.

BACHMANN: I know that I don't want President Obama to have a second term. That goes without even saying. But what my focus has been -- again, not on me. I'm not the important part, but...

VAN SUSTEREN: But I think people...

BACHMANN: ... Governor Romney...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... look to you.

BACHMANN: ... and the victory that he's put together is extremely impressive. And so...

VAN SUSTEREN: But I think the Tea Party looks to you. I think they see you and I think that you've got a lot of supporters out there, and I think they're sort of wondering because now sort of the party is coalescing, people probably wondering when -- whether Rick Santorum -- Senator Rick Santorum -- he's going to meet with Governor Romney in May.

BACHMANN: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: But you know, now...

BACHMANN: And I -- and the thing is, I haven't been shy. I've said that I will back the nominee. I think that it's becoming very apparent who our nominee will be, but it hasn't been about giving an endorsement or withholding an endorsement. My work has really been behind the scenes, behind closed doors. I'm working with real people to draw the party together, and that's what I want to continue to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Speaker Gingrich is still in. He lost tonight in Delaware, which he was hoping to win. That was one -- what is your advice for him?

BACHMANN: Well, the speaker will know what to do. It's up to him. I know what my decision was. When it became very clear that I wouldn't be the nominee, I chose to leave the race. And I've been trying to work to make sure that our nominee will be the winner. And Newt Gingrich will make his decision.
The focus rightly is on Barack Obama and his failed policies and how we need to have an agenda that's going to get people back to work.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you've got some loose strings, though. I mean, you've got -- the party isn't all united if everyone hasn't endorsed a single candidate. He hasn't clinched all the delegates.

BACHMANN: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: You've still got people in the race. I mean, there are some -- you know, there's some -- you know, some issues...

BACHMANN: Quite honestly, this is pretty -- this is pretty low on the priority level because the biggest priority of all is coming together. That's what we're doing. Remember, don't forget, the Democrats were in complete and total disarray in June of the election year. We're going to be more than united by the time June arrives.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is Governor Romney a conservative?

BACHMANN: Well, that's what the voters are choosing right now. I think that he's got a -- he's got a very good record in a number of different areas, and he's explaining that record. He's doing that in a big policy speech tonight.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has he satisfied you?

BACHMANN: Again, the point is he's -- he is satisfying people across the country in the primary races. Overwhelmingly, he's satisfying them because they're giving him the vote. He had a clean sweep tonight. I think that's a pretty strong endorsement.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, we should let the viewers know that you came here essentially from the airport. Where have you been?

BACHMANN: Well, I left last Thursday for Afghanistan to visit our troops. I was in Afghanistan. I was with our general there, General Allen, and also the ambassador, Ryan Crocker. But even moreso, I was with hundreds of troops all across Afghanistan. I was in the number one trauma hospital, which is at Camp Leatherneck. That's down by Helmand province. And I went to the United Arab Emirates. I also went up to Qattar and I met with the emir.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think it's only fair to give a shoutout to the top doctor in the hospital and the top nurse in the hospital because where are they from?

BACHMANN: They are from my district. I was absolutely thrilled. I had no idea. The number one trauma hospital in the world is serving our guys and gals in Afghanistan, and the top doc is Dr. Morris. He's from Woodbury, Minnesota. And the top nurse is Lisa Johnson from Elk River, Minnesota. I'm extremely proud that the top two professionals running that hospital are from Minnesota.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, people don't realize, I mean, it's tough to get all the way over to Afghanistan and back in a weekend. It's tough to go to the sort of the...

(CROSSTALK)

BACHMANN: It's a good 14-hour trip, 15-hour trip to get there.

VAN SUSTEREN: But -- but when you -- but when you actually get there and see it, it makes it -- you really understand...

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, it really helps you understand better to do your job.

BACHMANN: Yes, it really does because the big question is, is it the right thing to be there? Should we get out? And my opinion has been when President Obama said, We are going to be out by 2014, come hell or high water, I thought, Well, if your goal isn't to win and be successful, why even expend one more human life, if that's not your goal?

But when I went over this weekend, and I mean, literally, I spoke with hundreds and hundreds of our soldiers over there. And to a person, they're on the mission. Greta, they're getting up at 5:00 and 6:00 in the morning. They're working solid until 11:00, 12:00 o'clock at night because their goal is, by the time 2014 ends, they want to hand over the reins of winning this effort against the radical Islamic jihadis -- it will be run by the Afghan national forces.
So the Afghanis will do it, but as General Allen said, they are literally building the plane while they're flying it. In other words, they're trying and create the Afghan national forces. But they're doing a great job.

Can I tell you a good story?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes.

BACHMANN: OK.

VAN SUSTEREN: I like good stories.

BACHMANN: Not this weekend but the weekend before in Kabul, your viewers might remember that there was an 18-hour siege by the Taliban. The Taliban had spent almost a year putting together an assault on Kabul. That's the capital of Afghanistan.

Well, here's the good story. The Americans said, We're here to help you, Afghanistan. We'll help you win and defeat the Taliban. The Afghan national forces said, We're good. We think we can handle this.

The Taliban intended to keep control of Kabul in this fight. In 18 hours, the Afghan national forces defeated the Taliban in Kabul. There were only four civilian casualties.

It wasn't reported as a success in the media. This was a wild success! And you should have seen the servicemen and women in Afghanistan. They're seeing that what they're doing matters. And so we will be handing off the baton, and our men and women are doing everything they can to make sure it happens effectively.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, every time I see our men and women in combat, you know, I see how hard they're working...
(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: ... unbelievable.

BACHMANN: ... never seen anything like the sacrifice.

VAN SUSTEREN: But it is tough.

BACHMANN: Oh, it's awful!

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean -- I mean, what they are enduring and what they are seeing...

BACHMANN: It's tough.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... and what they're experiencing...

BACHMANN: Well, when I was in the hospital, we had the occasion -- there were five of us. It was a delegation held -- led by Louie Gohmert. We went into the ICU, the intensive care unit. When we were in there, there was a soldier that just a couple of hours before had lost his legs. We stood over his bed. He'd lost his legs and our doctors were trying to save his arm.

And he didn't even know what had happened to him. He was in medically induced coma. We stood over his bed. We wrote in his journal. We prayed for him. And he will have the finest medical care that the world can provide, and he deserves it all and more.

VAN SUSTEREN: But he'll get it now, but when he comes back, you know, do we -- you know...

BACHMANN: He will get it always.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do we...

BACHMANN: We are committed to him.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are we -- are we really taking care of these soldiers who come back with missing limbs and giving them, you know -- you know, these cars so that they can drive, having to be especially equipped. Are we -- are we really taking care of our...

BACHMANN: The good news is we have made incredible advances. The top doc at that hospital told me that we've made so many medical advances, before this young man's life probably would have been lost on the battlefield.

VAN SUSTEREN: But we have to follow through.

BACHMANN: Now we're saving it.

VAN SUSTEREN: But now we have to follow through.

BACHMANN: Oh -- Oh, Greta, you're 1,000 percent right. And that's a bipartisan issue. War should not be political. War should -- war needs to be -- if we have to deal with it, as evil as it is, it has to be bipartisan.
We should never make one decision about freedom based upon political considerations or the next election. It has to be about doing the right thing. They're giving their lives to do the right thing. We as lawmakers have to do the right thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is why -- and I'm going to take the last word -- is I'm so appreciative of members of Congress who go over on these trips and just take a look because it is -- you know, it's so important to see it.

BACHMANN: Yes. But it's good news.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congresswoman, thank you. Nice to see you.

BACHMANN: Thank you, Greta.


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