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CNN "American Morning" - Transcript


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VELSHI: Thanks, Kiran.

All eyes on the GOP as we inch closer to those presidential primaries. Minnesota congresswoman and Tea Party favorite, Michele Bachmann, hinted at a possible run during a Tea Party Tax Day rally yesterday. She said she can't wait to go up against President Obama.

So, is she ready to make it official? Let's ask her.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is here.

Great to see you again in person.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Good to see you again too, Ali. Thank you.

VELSHI: Let's take a look at numbers. April 9th and 10th, we took a poll. And, you know, lot of names of people who are not declared, Huckabee and Trump by the top, then Palin and Gingrich, followed by Romney, Ron Paul and you running at 5 percent.

Now, you haven't declared. And we have, you know, good information that if you're going to, you'll probably do so in the next couple months. Are you going to and what are your chances?

BACHMANN: Well, I'll make an announcement probably in June. I think it's important to make it by then because there's an Iowa straw poll. I was born in Iowa and, in fact, I'm a seventh generation Iowan. So, I've been there, I've been in New Hampshire. I've been in South Carolina and it's been a lot of excitement that's happened.

So, we'll see. We'll let you know. You'll know when I know.

VELSHI: Are you worried about those numbers?

BACHMANN: No, not at all. We're just in the initial stages. And so, we've been really actually very positive with the response.

VELSHI: Eric Cantor was talking to us the other day and he said this Donald Trump candidacy is not serious. What do you make of it?

BACHMANN: Well, I think only Donald Trump will know for sure. But it seems to me that a lot of people have been resonating with him. And so, it may be.

VELSHI: Let's talk about a matter you and I hold close and it's the country's budget and it's


VELSHI: -- it's deficits.

With the S&P saying earlier this week that it may lower the credit rating of the United States and it specifically cited the inability of Congress to reach a consensus. You, as the leader of the Tea Party caucus of the Republican Party, are part of that problem.

BACHMANN: Well, I would say we're part of the solution because the -- what the Tea Party said last fall in the elections, they want Congress to get serious about deficit reduction. That's really what drove the election -- too much spending, too much debt. That's the conclusion of S&P.

So, they want Washington to get serious. And right now, that's what we need from Barack Obama. We need the president to get serious about deficit reduction, because House Republicans have demonstrated that's the direction they want to go.

VELSHI: Let me be clear on that question. I didn't mean you're the problem for the country's financial situation. I mean, S&P specifically said the problem is the inability of Washington to get it together. So, the hard line that the Tea Party and the Tea Party members of the Republican Party put forward creates a stalemate.

BACHMANN: Well, actually, again, I think what S&P is saying is we need to be very serious about debt reduction and moving toward austerity. Unfortunately, President Obama's budget doesn't do that. The Tea Party is asking -- let's get to balance in our budget and so, actually, they're a force for good.

VELSHI: Are you worried about what austerity has done, given what we've seen out of the U.K., one of the biggest governments to actually impose austerity program. So, the opposite of stimulus, but cutting back, cutting spending, and it seems to have a negative effect on Britain's growth?

BACHMANN: Actually, not. If you look at any person's budget in their own family or in a business, if you're over extended as a family or as a business, you cut out the credit card, you sell the boat, you sell the second vacation home, you stop buying and you certainly stop borrowing.

In the United States, we need to take some similar advice. We just can't keep on the party that we've been on. Everyone knows that. Only Washington hasn't figured that out.

I will tell you -- going around the country, people tell me, when are you guys going to learn? You can't keep spending money you don't have. That resonates with the American people. We really need to listen to them.

VELSHI: If our calculations are right and you decide to run for president and you decide that you're going to declare that sometime in May or early June, before a key debate we think you're going to want to be part of, the biggest thing going on in Washington in the middle of May and June is going to be the debate about increasing the debt ceiling for the United States government. Where do you stand on that?

BACHMANN: Well, number one, we have to make an assurance, I think both to the market and the American people, that America will pay its debt. We'll pay the interest, the debt obligation, all bonds. We will uphold the full faith and credit of the United States.

But I am not inclined to vote for raising the debt ceiling. That's what I'm hearing from people across the country.

So, what it means then, Ali, is that we pay all of our debts and obligations first and then we prioritize the spending afterwards. Congress authorizes money and we appropriate money and we don't have to spend all the money that we authorize and appropriate. What it means is that there would have to be cutbacks.

I think everyone recognizes that's what has to happen, because with the stimulus, there is an increase of $1 trillion worth of spending, people get used to that spending, and that's not normal to have that increase.

VELSHI: But even if we do what you're saying, we'll still have to increase the debt ceiling. We -- one way or the other, we're going to hit up against that debt.

BACHMANN: Well, but again, I think what the marketplace is demanding, what the American people are demanding, is no more business as usual. We have to actually see government stop consuming the dollars, because, right now, the federal government is -- our government is spending about $1 out of every $4. That's a lot that government is consuming.

So, we need to get more money in the hands of real people and less in the hands of bureaucracy.

VELSHI: Congresswoman Bachmann, great to see you again. Thanks very much.

BACHMANN: Thank you, Ali.

VELSHI: And you will tell us first and early.

BACHMANN: You'll know when I know.

VELSHI: All right. Very good. I follow you on Twitter. So, hopefully you'll tweet it out when it happens.

BACHMANN: Sounds good. Thanks.


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