'This Week' Transcript: Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann

BRANSTAD: Well, I think it's because of the debates. As you said, there have been more debates than ever before. I think social media has played a role, as well. I think people are looking for the perfect candidate, and most people have come to the realization there isn't a perfect candidate.

But we can't afford the direction the country is going. We need to choose the best and the strongest candidate with the best vision to re-create the American dream and bring federal spending under control and restore America's leadership position.

TAPPER: The Des Moines Register poll, which is a very respected poll, indicates that Governor Romney, Mitt Romney is about where he always is, at around 25 percent in the polls, but when you ask the Iowa caucusgoers -- potential caucusgoers who is the most electable, they overwhelming think that Romney -- a plurality of them think that Romney is the most electable, but his support is not there.

So what's going on there? Iowa voters think that Romney is the most likely to beat Obama, but they don't like him?

BRANSTAD: Well, I think they're looking for the perfect candidate, and there are some things about Romney's record in Massachusetts they don't like. But there are some things about the other candidates they don't like, either.

But when compared to Obama -- and they see what Obama's done, increasing the national debt a trillion dollars a year, his attacks on the very people that we need to invest and create private-sector jobs, the entrepreneurs and -- and the business class in this country, I think people are looking for the best leader.

And I can tell you, been -- having been through several races for governor, including beating an incumbent Democratic governor two years ago, I also in those polls was the one that people felt was the most likely to win. And I think Iowa voters and American voters want somebody they -- they're not happy with the direction of the country. They want to replace Obama. And I think that's an important factor in the closing days here of the Iowa caucus campaign.

TAPPER: Governor, as you know, some establishment Republicans fear that, if Ron Paul wins, it will be the death knell for the Iowa caucuses. Tell us why that is not the case, in your view.

BRANSTAD: Well, Iowa has always winnowed the field. And so it's all about beating expectations here. And so I think you've got really three contenders that are going to go out of Iowa.

If you're not in the top three in Iowa -- and I told Jon Huntsman that -- you're making a big mistake. And he made a tragic mistake by not coming and campaigning here. The other candidates that have, especially Rick Santorum, who did have a lot of resources, but worked very hard, I think he may be rewarded for doing that.

And Ron Paul, I think deserves credit for putting a strong effort in here, putting a lot of resources, a lot of time in. And people like the fact he's been consistently against this deficit spending and manipulation of the monetary system in this country. I think people have some misgivings about his positions on foreign policy, and I think that's something that people are starting to focus on here.

TAPPER: All right, Governor Branstad, thanks so much for joining us, and happy new year.

BRANSTAD: Thank you. Same to you.

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