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CNN "American Morning" - Transcript


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Congresswoman Michele Bachmann fresh off a meeting with Donald Trump and she is predicting an upset in the Iowa caucuses. Congresswoman Bachmann also has a new book out titled "Core of Conviction: My Story." And she joins us before she heads to Washington to mix it up tonight.

We were just talking. You're here. You're going to travel to Washington to be ready for your 11th debate. You must be exhausted.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'm excited to go because this is my favorite topic of all, national security. I sit on the House Intelligence Committee. Of all the candidates in the race, I'm the only one who's currently involved in foreign affairs and national security.

So, this is one of my favorite topics. And CNN always does a great debate. So, I'm looking forward to it tonight.

COSTELLO: We're happy you think that way.

Let's talk just a bit about Newt Gingrich. He shots to the top of the polls. A lot of people polled said he's the guy that has the most comprehensive, informed answers about national security. Do you agree with that?

BACHMANN: I think that I'm the best prepared when it comes to national security, but I think one thing that we've seen is that 70 percent of the voters are still undecided about who their pick is. This is very fluid and very much in flux and we think there's going to be an upset on January 3rd in Iowa.

We worked very hard. We got a good ground organization and we think we're going to be the winner in Iowa.

COSTELLO: Why do you think so many Republican voters are not sure about their pick at this point?

BACHMANN: Well, I think that people usually don't make their minds up until they absolutely have to and they're doing a good job, too. They're vetting the candidates.

That's what we want to make sure, because after all, we're vying to be the leader of the free world. This is a very important position. We want someone who is familiar with national security and with economics. I'm a federal tax lawyer. I'm a private businesswoman, started my own profitable company.

They want to know where you are on social issues and are -- what is your affiliation with believing that we shouldn't raise taxes and the government needs to get the house in order.

COSTELLO: Republican voters seem to be all over the place. I mean, you have your surge. Newt Gingrich is having his surge now. Mitt Romney can't seem to break the 30 percent approval rate. I mean, what is it when you think it comes right down to it. What are they undecided about?

BACHMANN: Well, they're taking the full measure of each candidate. I think what we've seen is a lot of surprises from the candidates.

That's one thing that I think is very different about me. I won the Iowa straw poll, the most important election that has been held so far. And I'm the one that won that race. But what people are seeing is as they're peeling back each candidate and taking a look, they're trying to find out who is the consistent conservative in this race.

There are no surprises with me. We have our Web site, But we also put one up that is because of all the candidates in the race --


COSTELLO: If you are not that steady, conservative candidate, why have you lost the surge? Why are --

BACHMANN: Because the voters have taken a good look at each candidate, which is a good idea. But I think they're going to come back home on January 3rd after taking a look at the candidates and they'll see that I'm the consistent conservative in the race.

COSTELLO: So, what will happen in Newt Gingrich's surge?

BACHMANN: Well, I'm not sure what will happen in that. But I think I'm going to win the Iowa caucus because it's time to have a mother in the White House. We never had that before, to have a mom in the White House, I think it's time.

COSTELLO: And you talk about being a mother a lot in your book.


COSTELLO: And I just wonder why is it important to have a mother in the White House?

BACHMANN: Well, because I think the perspective that a mom has. We give birth to these babies. We pour our entire life into them and I think if there's anything that I know, it's that this next generation is worth it, these children are worth it.

And what's happening to our economy right now is unconscionable. We had to have a future for them. We didn't raise these children to walk into a life of not having sufficient resources. And now, the economy is collapsing and I think we need to have someone who gets the economy. I do.

COSTELLO: So, with the mother's sensibility, the super committee failed to reach an agreement.

BACHMANN: They did.

COSTELLO: How would you have gone in -- if you were Barack Obama and you were in his seat, how would you have gone in and said to the two sides, get it together?

BACHMANN: Well, number on, I would have engaged. The president didn't engage. He was completely disengaged last summer with the debt ceiling fight and he was completely disengaged on the supercommittee.

He was gone for the most crucial nine days.

COSTELLO: How would you --

BACHMANN: He was -- it's like, where's Waldo? Where's the president?

COSTELLO: How would you as president, how would you have inserted yourself into the negotiations?

BACHMANN: Sure. Well, let me what I would have done. What I would have said last summer is that we are going to pay the interest on the debt. We are not going to default. No need to lose our AAA credit rating -- unfortunately, it did.

And then I would have said, all 535 members of Congress, we're going to stay in Washington. We're not leaving until we prioritize our spending.

That's the problem. Congress is spending money we don't have. We're acting just like Greece.


COSTELLO: But specifically the supercommittee, how would you have gone and said, look --

BACHMANN: I would have never done the super committee. It was a ridiculous idea.

COSTELLO: That was the reality we faced right now.

BACHMANN: No, we didn't have to do it. See, that's the problem.

COSTELLO: We did. It's the reality.

BACHMANN: But that was the problem with Barack Obama. He was just fine reducing down to 12 members. That's not what people sent us to Congress to do. They want to have the 535 members get together.

We need to be about the good of the country right now and the good of the people, not about partisan labels. This has to be about solving this budget problem and the president failed to lead.

COSTELLO: The country is very partisan right now. So, knowing what you know about the -- you know, how both sides think and the issues on what both sides will not budge, how would you get them together? How would you make them work together as president of the United States?

BACHMANN: Well, one thing that I wouldn't have done is to have not been engaged in the process. So, what I would have done is said, here's our maximum number. This is what we're going to spend. Now, each one of the committees -- we already have committees -- each one of you will function and have to reach this level and no more.

I would have drawn a big red line in the sand and said: that's it. We're not spending more than this money, now figure it out.

COSTELLO: Would you have said something like, hey, Republicans on the supercommittee, maybe you should think about maybe raising some taxes, and, hey, Democrats, maybe you should think about cutting some entitlement programs? Maybe if you're both open to those ideas, maybe you can come to some sort of compromise. Would you have said something like that?

BACHMANN: Well, isn't it interesting that Republicans offered tax increases? I didn't -- wouldn't have gone with tax increases, but the Republicans on the committee offered that.

But, again, let's get the context of what we're talking about. In the next 10 years, we're looking at taking on another $8.5 trillion in debt. It took us 219 years to get that much debt. So, in 10 years, we'll take on that much debt. All the supercommittee had to do was back of that debt, $1.2 trillion.

That in itself is failure in my mind. As president of the United States, I don't intend to add any more debt. We already had $15 trillion in debt. We've got to balance our budget and chip away at that debt. That's the direction I want to go because it's the next generations that are going to have reduced standard of living because their taxes are going to be so high. That's going to kill the American economy.

COSTELLO: And just a last question about the super committee, because already, Congress is trying to get out of this -- these automatic cuts of $1 trillion, right? And the president says, look, if you're going to do it, I'm going to veto it.

Would you veto it, too?

BACHMANN: What we need to do is get our books to balance. See? The president isn't focused on the main thing.

COSTELLO: But would you veto?

BACHMANN: But the president is wrong. The president is approaching this wrong. He's being reactionary rather than leading.

It's just like his foreign policy. He leads from behind by the administration's own words. He needs to lead from the front.

By saying that he's going to veto, what he says is he likes the results of the super committee because recognize what we're talking about. Tonight's CNN is having a foreign policy debate. Because of the failure of the super committee next year, 200,000 troops might have to be cut when we're engaged in four wars -- four wars: Uganda, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq. Never in the history of the United States have we cut back on troops when we've been at war.

The president has failed. And that's why we're looking at failure in foreign policy, as well.

COSTELLO: Thank you so much.

Are you excited about the debate tonight?

BACHMANN: Oh, I love it. I can't wait. It's my favorite time.

COSTELLO: I was going to ask you because you said in this book when you decided to run for president, you got together with your husband, Marcus, and you prayed. And God said, God gave you the message that you should serve your country.

So, I just wanted to ask you if you regretted following that edict.

BACHMANN: Not all. It's not an edict. We're Christians. We pray about our decisions and we're very happy that we did.

COSTELLO: So, it's not too much?

BACHMANN: No, not all. What a wonderful opportunity.

COSTELLO: Thank you so much for being here today.

BACHMANN: Thank you.

COSTELLO: We appreciate it.


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