PAWLENTY: No, I've been down that road. That's not something I'm even going to consider.
TAPPER: Do you think Michele Bachmann is qualified to be president?
PAWLENTY: Well, I think she's qualified to be president.
TAPPER: You do?
PAWLENTY: I think now she's going to have to make her case to the American people about whether she's the best candidate and why she should be the Republican nominee and why she should be the next president against Barack Obama. And time will tell whether she can do that.
TAPPER: And what's next for you?
PAWLENTY: Well, what's next, I'm going to take my daughter to college over the next few days. And then I really don't know what the future holds for me. I have absolutely no plans, which is at the same time very liberating, but also a little concerning, so I've got to get to work.
TAPPER: All right. Well, Governor Tim Pawlenty, we thank you for joining us on this -- must be a difficult morning for you, and we wish you well.
PAWLENTY: Thank you, Jake. Appreciate you having me on.
TAPPER: So the Republican field gets smaller by one, with former Governor Tim Pawlenty dropping out, but Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, the victor, still has a long road to the nomination. And she joins me now. Congresswoman, first of all, congratulations on your victory.
BACHMANN: Thank you, Jake. Thanks for having me on.
TAPPER: Now, do you have any reaction to Governor Pawlenty dropping out?
BACHMANN: Well, I wish him well. I have great respect for the governor. We've known each other for a long, long time. And he brought a really important voice into this race. And I'm grateful that he was in. He was a -- really a very good competitor.
TAPPER: You guys did have words during -- during the campaign, and one of the -- you seemed to represent a more uncompromising Republican. He seems to represent more of a compromising Republican, someone willing to make deals. One of the reasons you did so well in the straw poll was because your message resonated so much with Tea Party Republican, with Christian conservatives. I'm wondering, how do you expand beyond the Republican base? Why would a moderate Republican vote for you?
BACHMANN: Well, everywhere I've gone, all across Iowa, there isn't an event that I do that I don't have people come up who say that, "Michele, I'm a Democrat, and I'm voting for you," "I'm an independent, and I'm voting for you." They'll me, "I voted for Barack Obama, but I'm not voting for him again. I like you; I like what you say." And I think it's because I'm talking about what people really care about, and that's turning the economy around and job creation. And I've been there, and I've done that. I'm a former federal tax lawyer. And my husband and I also started our own successful company. I get it with job creation. And I think what people see in me is that I'm a real person. I'm authentic. And they want someone who's going to go to Washington and represent their values.
That's really what you saw here in Iowa in the straw poll yesterday. You saw a big message sent to Washington. People really saw kind of the punch to the gut that America got this last week, and they really want someone that they can trust that they believe in who's actually going to turn the economy around.