Michele Bachmann: Transcript of ABC/Yahoo News Exclusive Interview

PHOTO: GOP Candidate Michele Bachmann gives an exclusive interview to ABC News Ron Claiborne, Nov. 8, 2011.PlayABC NEWS
WATCH Newsmakers: Michele Bachmann ABC News/Yahoo Interview

RON CLAIBORNE: We're live on ABCNews.com and on Yahoo News for an original series called Newsmakers. And joining me is Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and pr-- candidate for president, Republican nomination for president. I'm Ron Claiborne. And the first question to you, Congresswoman, is when did you first realize that you wanted to be president of the United States?

MICHELE BACHMANN: I think it was during the fight with Obama Care when I realized that the country was headed for a serious decline economically, and we needed to have someone with a strong backbone who would fight against Washington, D.C. and actually repeal Obama Care. I've-- I'm-- I've spent 50 years in the private sector. And I spent five years in Washington, D.C. fighting.

And what I saw is that it's very difficult to repeal something in Washington. But I also know that socialized medicine will be the final rock that could sink our economy. And so, I'm committed to the full scale repeal of Obama Care because it's gonna hurt a lotta people's lives. And I wanna turn that around.

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay, it's-- January-- 2013. You are the president of the United States. What is the first thing you do as president, the very first thing to try to get Americans back to work?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, let me-- let me set that table. Because I am president of the United States on January 20th, 2013. But I've also helped elect 13 like-minded Republican senators so that we can actually get something done. Because I'm very committed to doing that. That would give us a 60-member-- filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. And that's how we will actually repeal these bills. So, the very first thing I will do is repeal Obama Care so we can have better quality and access to healthcare. Then I will also--

RON CLAIBORNE: But-- but-- but Con-- that would take months. That would take--


RON CLAIBORNE: --at least weeks.

MICHELE BACHMANN: --no, it won't at all--


--no, it won't at all. Because I'll get elected-- and with my 13 exactly-- Republican senators-- and we will meet from election day until we actually have the inauguration day. And we will have the bills ready to go. And Congress actually goes in before the president is inaugurated. And they will pass the bill in the House and in the Senate. And I will take my oath of office, turn right around, head back to the Capitol and sign the paper that will repeal Obama Care. The reason why this is so important, Ron, is because the number one reason why employers aren't hiring right now is because of Obama Care.

That's according to a study by UBS. So, I will do that. But I will also repeal-- the jobs and housing destruction act-- it's also called Dodd-Frank-- that's killing people's access to buying a house to get credit. And it's killing small businesses' access to credit to grow their business. So, I'll get rid of both those. The other thing that I'll do is abolish the current tax code and put into a place a plan that is a much flatter system or lower taxes--

(RON CLAIBORNE: UNINTELLIGIBLE) MICHELE BACHMANN: --but also-- my tax system is called "Everybody Pays Something" be--

RON CLAIBORNE: And w-- I do wanna ask you that later--


RON CLAIBORNE: --but let me-- let me move on. The latest polls consistently show a high level of dissatisfaction with the way the federal government works, with Washington, in particular with Congress. Eighty percent of voters in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll said they were dissatisfied with the way Washington works. You are a member of Congress. Why should that dissatisfaction, and in some cases anger, not apply to you as part of Washington?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Because people saw that I was fighting against Washington. I went to Washington as a real person. And I spent my time at the tip of the spear, fighting against all of the outta control spending, the new welfare programs, spending money that we don't have, in other words acting like Greece.

That's what the-- that's what the Congress has done in the last five years. They've been acting like Greece. I fought that. I stood against that. That's why I had a tremendous following of people all across the United States, who were cheering me on, saying, "Go, Michele, we want you to fight against all of this more-- adding to the welfare state." And so, that's what people know. They saw me take their voice, the voice of the very real people, common people, into the halls of Congress. Now, I wanna take that very real voice into the White House where it hasn't been heard for a while (?).

RON CLAIBORNE: But the Republican-led Congress is no more popular, in fact less popular in many polls, than the president. And you're part of the Republican Congress.

MICHELE BACHMANN: No, but again, w-- w-- listen to what I said. What I said is I have observed the decline that I see America taking. And I've been fighting with everything I can, that decline. And that's why I'm offering my candidacy. Because I wanna bring true unity in the United States.

We don't have it right now. And I wanna unify everyone around this concept, especially mothers. I'm a mother, and I talk to mothers across the United States. They're terribly worried about this huge investment they have in the next generation. And they don't see that their kids are gonna have jobs, be able to buy a house, do all the things-- and they also see the economy going down. And so, what I wanna do is unify people across the country with those concerns that moms have and let them know I get it, too, as a mom. And I'm going to set the economy around so that their husbands can have jobs, they can have jobs and their kids can have a future.

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay, let me ask you this. What has President Obama gotten right? What has he done right? What do you agree with that he's done, if anything?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, I agree with the fact that he didn't have a new Marine One helicopter (LAUGH) made. Because-- very early on, there was a new limousine that he got, and he said that he wasn't going to have the helicopter because it was just outrageously expensive.

And I think that was a good move that he made. But I think the more important-- issues that he's made-- have been very foolish. He has put daylight between the United States and Israel. That's led to tremendous heightened-- hostilities in the Middle East region. That isn't good. He's continued to spend, like, a trillion dollars on a stimulus program that, l-- put us in hock to countries like China. The president has taken his eye off the ball, which is a nuclear Iran.

And he's taken his eye off the ball, which is China, which is growing and getting bigger and dominating-- while all-- while the United States is declining. And the president has failed the American people in pr-- in perhaps almost every way that a president could.

RON CLAIBORNE: But-- but Congresswoman, you can not think of one thing other than not buying a helicopter that the president's gotten right in three years?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, his policies certainly haven't helped anyone. And I think that's why you see the president losing support among almost every constituency level that there is. Take a look at Obama Care, his signature issue. It's at the lowest level of public approval right now. Why? He promised every American household we'd save $2500 this year on our health insurance premiums. What of your listeners or your viewers has saved $2500 on their health insurance premium?

This is just one example where over and over, the president said that he was gonna save money, life was going to be better, and just the opposite has happened. That's why I know what to do as president of the United States. I've been on the front line for five years fighting. I know exactly what we have to do to turn the economy around. And I intend to do it.

RON CLAIBORNE: Herman Cain, one of your competitors, in the news again yesterday with another allegation from a fourth woman of sexual harassment. Now you have said-- that there should be no surprises, which sounds like a veiled reference to some of these allegations against him. And excuse me if I'm incorrect about that. But ar-- is there any credence in your mind-- to these allegations? Are they concerning to you?

MICHELE BACHMANN: I don't have any information on these allegations whatsoever. I have absolutely nothing to contribute to that discussion. But what my comments were is that when you look at Michele Bachmann, when you look at me, I-- there will be no policy surprises whatsoever coming out of me.

We've seen a lotta candidates flips and roll on a lotta different policy positions over the years. You won't find that. You won't find me on a YouTube clip-- saying that I support the individual mandate on healthcare. You won't find me on a YouTube clip saying that I'm personally opposed to abortion but I don't think government should get involved.

You won't find me when it comes to the area of marriage saying that I believe that marriage should be anything other than between one man and one woman. I've been very consistent throughout my life, and also as a champion. And that's what sets me apart in this race. The fact that I have a very strong spine and I'm a fighter. I've been-- I've-- I've been a proven fighter, even fighting against my own party, Republicans, to be able to stand for the values that people want in-- in the United States.

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay, just to be clear then, no-- no comment on the-- this now fourth allegation against Mr. Cain?

MICHELE BACHMANN: No, I-- I don't have anything to add.

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay. In-- in the Iowa straw poll you won earlier-- earlier this year, this summer.

MICHELE BACHMANN: I won-- I won-- I was-- no candidate ever got in later for the straw poll than I did and won. And no woman has ever won the straw poll before. So, I was extremely gratified to the people of Iowa for giving me that win.

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay, that was-- that was in the summer. Now-- if you believe the polls, you're in the single digits and running fourth, maybe fifth in Iowa. What happened?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, the-- the political fortunes have really mirrored Wall Street, haven't they? People-- we've seen one candidate after another go up and go down. But don't forget, four years ago at this time Rudy Giuliani was number one. Everyone expected he would be the Republican nominee and the standard bearer.

And Fred Thompson was number two. John McCain was way back in the pack at this point four years ago. I'm doing exactly what I need to do to win. I'm explaining my pro-growth policies and how I'm gonna bring the country together and-- pull us back from this obvious decline that we're in. So, I'm explaining that to people in Iowa. And now I'm here in South Carolina today. I'm doing exactly what I need to do-- spreading the message and gaining more support.

RON CLAIBORNE: If-- if you do not win-- in Iowa in the caucus, and if you don't win in South Carolina, can you continue your candidacy? Would you?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, that's-- that's a discussion that we'd have then. But, of course, that'd be foolish and premature for us to talk about that now, because I'm doing exactly what I need to do, is get the message out. People need to know that I'm a woman who means what she says and says what she means.

And that'd be very different to have in a president. I'm not a politician. I am a real person. I came from a home where we-- we had gone below poverty. And I worked my way out of that. And I worked my way through college, met my husband. We started our own successful business. We raised our five biological kids. We raised 23 foster kids in our home. I know what it means to struggle. I get it. And that's why I have such a heart right now for moms all across the country who are also struggling.

It is real. People are l-- looking at losing their homes. And a lot of them, in fact, have. And the biggest program of all, Ron, is if you look in the month of October, there isn't-- heads of households did not get jobs. There was job losses. The people in the all-important age group of 25 to 55-- those are the heads of households, those are the ones raising a remember-- there was not job gains in that entire category.

This has gone on for a long time. Five hundred thousand jobs have been lost in the category of the people who are trying to raise that next generation. That's a lotta single moms out there, too. And so I'm trying to reach out to them to say, "Look, we can turn this around. And I've got the formula for success."

RON CLAIBORNE: Very quickly, let me get-- a response to a foreign policy question-- before I move to-- to the calls and the write-in questions we have. If-- Israel, as there have been reports, is considering-- an attack, a strike on Iran-- against their believed-- nuclear facilities, nuclear weapons capabilities, would you support Israel if they did do such a strike? And if the U.S. and (?) you as president believed Iran was developing nuclear weapons, would you authorize a U.S. strike against Iran?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, again, it-- no one can say for sure what they'll do without having all of the facts on the table. So, I can't give you a definitive a-- a-- answer, because that would be foolish to do so. But I will give you this principle. As president of the United States, I will stand with Israel.

I will stand with them. I will not do what this president has done and put daylight between the United States and Israel. That was a foolish decision. I also will put every military option we have on the table to deal with an Iran that seeks a nuclear weapon.


MICHELE BACHMANN: And those are my principles.

RON CLAIBORNE: --okay, I-- and-- well, I'm (LAUGH) running outta time here. Let-- let me get to a couple of the re-- write-in questions before we get to the lightning round. Here's one from-- a gentleman named Alex (PH). He said, "I was recently-- let go, and I will have to pay for my own health insurance which is incredibly high. How would your plan help people like me who are facing $500 a month for insurance-- while searching for a job?"

MICHELE BACHMANN: Alex is exactly right. That is the problem, is cost. That's the failure of President Obama. He didn't address the cost issue. I will. And what I will do is allow Alex to buy any health insurance policy he wants, anywhere across the United States of America with no minimum mandate. In other words, he can get a policy that makes sense for him. Then I'll let him use his own tax-free money to pay for the premium, the deductible, the copay, his pharmaceuticals and we'll have complete medical malpractice reform. That brings the cost down.

And here's the other thing I'll do. For-- for doctors and nurses in clinics and hospitals that want to offer free care to people, we'll give them a liability shield so that no one can sue them. Because we want to encourage people in the health profession to offer free or reduced care to people. But in-- in exchange for that, we'll the them a liability shield.

RON CLAIBORNE: Now I'm gonna go to the lightning round, gonna maybe try and squeeze in one last-- question that we got. But in the meantime, quick answers to these, please. Worst job you ever held?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Worst job I ever held? Well, one day I cleaned 280 fish, (LAUGH) so maybe that was it. But actually, it-- it was kinda fun, too. So.

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay. TV guilty pleasure, Congresswoman?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Oh, Turner Classic Movies. I'll watch Turner Classic Movies.

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay. Favorite junk food?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Favorite junk food? Probably-- it'd have to be chocolate. It's have to be-- dark chocolate probably. Yeah.

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay. Blackberry or iPhone?


RON CLAIBORNE: That was a quick--

MICHELE BACHMANN: --yeah, yeah.

RON CLAIBORNE: --a quick one. Happiest you've ever been, other than-- having children or your wedding. Happiest you've ever been?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Have just (?)-- well, probably November 1st, 1972. That's the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ. That changed my life forever.

RON CLAIBORNE: Who would play you, Michele Bachmann, in a movie?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Who would play me? (LAUGH)


MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, they'd have to be a mom. Probably Patricia Heaton. She was on-- Everybody Loves Raymond?


MICHELE BACHMANN: Yeah, the mom on Everybody Loves Raymond, Patricia Heaton. I like her. I think she's great.

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay. What is your personal theme song?

MICHELE BACHMANN: My personal theme song? Well, I'm-- I'm Michele Bachmann, so it'd probably have to be Bachman–Turner Overdrive, (LAUGH) Takin' Care of Business.

(OVERTALK) MICHELE BACHMANN: That'd be it. Takin' Care of Business.

RON CLAIBORNE: All right. First thing you'd do in the Oval Office. The very first thing, first day.

MICHELE BACHMANN: Ver-- pray. I would pray and ask the Lord for guidance on how to turn the country back around.

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay. Who should be the fifth president on Mount Rushmore?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Mmmm (PH). Well, Ronald Reagan would be a good choice. But-- I-- I think just-- Garfield was the last member who was-- the House of Representatives who became president of the United States--

(OVERTALK) MICHELE BACHMANN: --and he-- and he was a very-- he was a wonderful man. But also, I'd have to say, Calvin Coolidge should be up there, too, becau--

RON CLAIBORNE: Calvin Coolidge?

MICHELE BACHMANN: Calvin Coolidge, because Calvin Coolidge-- was able to get the United States' budget way on track. And he really was a taking care of business kinda guy.

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay. And very quickly, very quickly, tell us, well, in tweet length, why you wanna be president. And it's gotta be real quick. (LAUGH)

MICHELE BACHMANN: Why-- why I wanna be president?


MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, because I-- I know what to do to turn the country back around so that we're not Greece and so that we are the wildly successful nation that we were and we were prior to the institution of the modern welfare state. We need to have self-reliance again in this country. And--

RON CLAIBORNE: Tweet length. Tweet length.


RON CLAIBORNE: Short. Tweet length.

MICHELE BACHMANN: Oh, tw-- oh, 144 word-- characters?

RON CLAIBORNE: Yeah, yeah.

MICHELE BACHMANN: Okay. Oh, sorry. Okay. Michele Bachmann is the one because she'll do what she says and says--

RON CLAIBORNE: Okay, well--

MICHELE BACHMANN: --what she means.

RON CLAIBORNE: --th-- thank you very much--


RON CLAIBORNE: --Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. And if you missed any of this-- interview, you (?) streaming life, you can go back and look at it anytime on Yahoo News or ABCNews.com. I'm Ron Claiborne. Thanks.