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Michele Bachmann’s candidacy for Conference Chair

Monday, November 8, 2010

HH: Joined now by the remarkable Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman extraordinaire from Minnesota. Congratulations, Congresswoman Bachmann, on your reelection.

MB: Well Hugh Hewitt, thank you so much, and what a thrill it was on election night, but not just for me personally winning my race, but also all around the country, to see all of the people work so very hard to deliver this new conservative majority. I’m absolutely thrilled.

HH: Now you joined the Congress as a member of the minority. Now, you’re in the majority. That’s got to give you a spring to your step, Michele. It’s what you’ve been working for.

MB: Well, it will be a whole new world for me. I served in the Minnesota State Senate for six years in a deep minority, and now in the minority in the House of Representatives. So I probably won’t know what to do now being in the majority, but I think actually we do. We know that we have to extend the current tax policy so that no one has any tax increases. We know that we’ve got to repeal Obamacare. We know we have to deal with our border situation to seal it. And we also know that we have to send a clear, unmistakable signal that the EPA cannot institute by rule fiat the cap and trade bill. So those are four things that would put our country back on stability.

HH: Now Michele Bachmann, you’re a tax lawyer as well. When I was together with you and Dennis Prager at Symphony Hall a couple of weeks before the election, you went through the various things that are scheduled to impact the tax code. Do you think that the lame duck Congress will pick up these issues? Or are they going to be punted over to the new Congress?

MB: No, I think they’re going to pick it up. I think they’re going to deal with this issue, and I think so far, we’ve seen nothing but dig in their heels signals from the President and Speaker Pelosi. They have every intention of increasing taxes on the job creators of this country. And it’s an unmitigated disaster. I know we’re looking at losing about 2,000 just in our district that will probably be replicated in most of the districts across the country if they decide to do that. They will be literally taking $1.2 billion additional dollars out of the pockets of the people in my district, and again replicated across the country. I think we’ve sent enough money to Washington, D.C. We need to keep it back home where it will actually do some good and create more jobs.

HH: Now Michele Bachmann, you’ve also announced a bid for the number three position in the Republican leadership. Give us a status update on that, and what you sense is going to be the issue in whether or not you become the Conference Chair.

MB: Well, Mike Pence had that position, and Mike announce that he will not be running. We were sorry to hear that. I had a number of members of Congress call me and say Michele, this is perfect for you, you should run, you’ve had an effective voice on the national scene, and that’s really what this position is about. It’s a position that unified the Congress, and then also is a spokesperson, quite literally, for the Republican Congress. And so I put my name in, and one thing that I was able to do in the last few years was to try to bring people together in dealing with the health care issue. I helped to bring literally tens of thousands of people to Washington, D.C. And I think we energized people and empowered them to see that they actually could make a difference in these elections. And boy oh boy did they ever last Tuesday night. So I want to bring, really, the results of Tuesday night’s election to the leadership table going forward.

HH: Now there’s a story out that the Republican leadership, and I guess that stands for Speaker-designate Boehner, or Speaker-presumptive Boehner, and Majority Leader-presumptive Eric Cantor, that you are, you’re being asked to join the leadership in a different position. What do you know about that story?

MB: Well, I haven’t had a call or an offer made on that. I had also heard rumors about that as well. And we’ll see if anything transpires. Right now, I’m running for the GOP conference chair position, primarily because I want to motivate the people in our conference, to unify the Tea Party people and the main line Republicans to all come together. And we’ve got such important work to do in the country, and it’s important that we unify, but also that we continue to effectively communicate in a two-way dialogue with the people in the country. I’m hoping we can start offering Skype, for instance, with Congress, so that we can have continual town halls with people back home, and also utilize Facebook more. I’ve got about 140,000 people on my Facebook site that I continually have dialogue with. I want to encourage our members to do that as well. The more we can communicate and go above the filter of the mainstream media through outlets like Hugh Hewitt Show and through social media, the more we can get our message out, and get the truth out, quite frankly, and move our positive agenda forward.

HH: Michele Bachmann, the Politico is reporting this afternoon that you’ve got Steve King of Iowa, John Kline, our friend, of Minnesota behind you, and among your backers. Jeb Hensarling, running against you, has got Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan and Spencer Bachus. Do you expect this to go down to a vote? Or do you expect something to be worked out before an actual vote happens?

MB: Well, we’ll see. At this point, I’m in it to win, and I recognize it’s an uphill battle to go against the leadership pick. But I want to say this about Jeb Hensarling. He was my mentor when I first came into Congress. I absolutely admire and respect Jeb Hensarling. He’s an intellect, he’s a very strong conservative, and as far as I’m concerned, the conference will win no matter if it’s Jeb or if it’s myself. The Conference will win. This isn’t a case where we have a RINO versus a conservative. These are two strong conservative, two strong communicators. I think we bring different strengths to this contest, but nonetheless, this is a very good contest to have.

HH: And last question, Michele Bachmann, do you think that good, strong conservatives will end up as chairmen of the committees? Or will there be some centrist Republicans about whom there are concerns?

MB: Well, that has been an issue in a number of races that have come up. And of course, John Boehner will be the one that will have the primary voice in that. But each one of the newly elected members of Congress needs to find their voice now, and use it going forward. That’s part of the reason why I threw my hat in the ring for the Conference Chair position. Again, I wasn’t necessarily the leadership pick, but I felt it was very important to bring another voice as an option for the members to look at. And I think that these chairmen positions need to be not necessarily about who’s next in line, but who will be the most effective person in that chairmanship position.

HH: And so last question, I lied, I had a little extra time, are you communicating with the 80 or so new members coming in directly, Michele Bachmann? Or is it through the media?

MB: No, I’m communicating with them as well. I set up MichelePAC in July, raised $650,000 dollars, to try and help bring new, fresh blood, good Constitutional conservatives into Congress. We had a wonderful night on Tuesday bringing them in. And also I’ve found that I’ve had very strong, broad-based support across the country just from my candidacy as well. People across the country gave about an average of $45 dollars per person to my race, and I had over a hundred thousand people contribute to my effort. I think they see that I have an authentic, sincere voice for Constitutional conservative principles.

HH: Michele Bachmann, always a pleasure. Thank you.

End of interview.

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