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Let's talk about all of this with someone who knows this race as well as anyone, congresswoman and former presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann, joins us.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Well, thank you. It's great to be on with you this morning. It's a big day.

COSTELLO: I know it is a big day. You know, I have to ask you this. Have you endorsed anyone yet? Will you endorse someone today?

BACHMANN: I won't be endorsing anyone today. I think it's really important that people across the country in the primary field have their say for who they believe our nominee should be. I think we will find greater clarity after the end of this evening's tallies come in.

And I think the voters are anxious to get in touch with who our nominee will be so we can press forward and unite as a party.

COSTELLO: Let's talk about uniting as a party. There's been some vicious rhetoric of Republicans targeting Republicans. You suffered that yourself when you were in the campaign. I just wanted from a human standpoint -- how does that feel?

BACHMANN: Well, it's just part and parcel of the race. It really is a difficult thing to be a candidate, but it's very important that a person goes through this grinding machine of the whole process -- whether it's the debate, the interviews, the vetting process. It's all good. I favor this process because our nominee has to be at the apex of their game because when the final debates come, the primary debates are over, there won't be anymore debates.

The final debates will be this fall with President Obama. Our candidate needs to be at the apex of their game because over 100 million people will tune in and there's no margin for error. But I am fully confident that our nominee will be up to that task and have a positive, pro-job growth message that the people will want to hear.

COSTELLO: And you say positivity. I think that's what voters most want now because there was a "Wall Street Journal" poll taken just yesterday. It was in the "Wall Street Journal." And it said all of this negativity, you know, Republicans targeting other Republicans, which is really un-Reagan like, right?

All of that negativity is turning voters off and making them not want to vote in this primary.

BACHMANN: Well, the problem is it's inevitable, when the candidates have to show their distinctions, there is negativity that comes forward. So, it is inevitable, but, again, if you remember people thought the, quote, "bloodletting" that was occurring between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would have a decisive impact and they thought especially that women wouldn't be able to get behind Obama because they had backed Hillary Clinton, they had a unity occur in 2008.

I think you're going to see that on the part of the Republicans. In fact, I think you're going to see more than Republicans unite. I think you're going to see a lot of disaffected Democrats and independents unite behind our candidate as well because they have looked at Barack Obama, they've looked at his mishandling, unfortunately, of the economy and they're now casting about for someone else because they want to see jobs grow, they want housing prices to increase, and they're very nervous about escalating gas prices.

So I think that the Republican nominee has a very, very strong chance of being the next president in 2012.

COSTELLO: Is there a Republican war on women?

BACHMANN: Oh, of course not. I'm a Republican woman, and I think one thing that I see as a woman -- women are overwhelmingly are the greatest purchasers of health care. And what women see is that health care costs have only spiked into the stratosphere after the passage of Obamacare. So, they know Obamacare won't be good for their family or for themselves.

They want to attack the real problem in health care which is costs. They want to bring costs down. And I think that's what our nominee will bring forth -- the positive, obvious common sense solution to address the real problem that's access to care by bringing the cost of health insurance down.

COSTELLO: I hear you, but I've got to say, I have to ask you the Rush Limbaugh question, because Republicans haven't exactly come out strongly and condemned him for calling that Georgetown law student a slut and prostitute.

Why is that? Why doesn't some Republican, a Republican woman like you, say, Rush Limbaugh, friend of mine, but come on, you were wrong?

BACHMANN: Well, I think Rush Limbaugh has already addressed this issue. He came out and he very forcefully said that he was wrong. He apologized not once but several times. I think he's put that issue to bed.

To me, the bigger issue in alL of this is this was a 3D example of what Obamacare will look like in all of our lives because now one person is a health care dictator. And they can decide what health care we get, what drugs we get, what procedures we get. What's worst, what we won't get. That's the bigger story of Obamacare in the future because it will be what government takes away from women.

COSTELLO: I think when Republican leaders don't come out and strongly condemn remarks like Rush Limbaugh made, the more intelligent argument gets lost in the weeds. So, if Republicans don't come out and say, you know what, those are vile comments, Rush Limbaugh, vile, and I think you should stop it right now because nobody has the right to call any woman expressing her opinion that name.

BACHMANN: I can tell you during the course of the campaign, I was called name after name after name. There was no media firestorm when it came to me being called a name like that.

Unfortunately, what we've soon seen is conservative women have an open field day. That isn't right. If a woman is liberal or conservative, we need to be respectful on both sides not just depending upon what their political persuasion is.

COSTELLO: So, can you say to Rush Limbaugh now, Rush, you were wrong. This was vile. Please don't ever do it again.

BACHMANN: Well, I think, again, he's taking care of that issue. Actually, I --

COSTELLO: I think some Republican women who admire and respect you and your stature want you to do it.

BACHMANN: Well, you know what's interesting, that's the focus that the media has taken. I'll tell you what I've been doing in the last three weeks. I sit on an intelligence committee.

There's so much happening in the international world right now. We deal with the nation's classified secrets and I literally spend dozens and dozens of hours a week. We had an attack here, a potential attack on our United States Capitol where we had an Islamist inspired terrorist what he thought was a bomb on his body and be try to blow up our Capitol. I was in the capitol with 435 members of Congress voting. We could have a very different discussion this morning if he would have succeeded and the FBI interdicted and stopped him just blocks from the Capitol.

That's been my focus, and the media's been focusing on these little pinprick issues when really I think we should be focusing on these bigger issues that people really do care about and have greater impact to change the future of our nation.

COSTELLO: Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman, thank you for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.

BACHMANN: Thank you. We'll be back. Thanks again.

COSTELLO: I hope so.


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