Bachmann's 'Conviction' To Fixing Government | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Bachmann's 'Conviction' To Fixing Government

Play associated audio

It wasn't long ago that Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's rise to the top of the Republican field of presidential candidates was called "meteoric." In August, she won the Iowa straw poll. Now, she's polling in the single digits.

But Bachmann is plowing ahead with her campaign and this week she came out with a memoir, Core of Conviction. In it, she writes about "our 29 children" — by which she means five biological children and a miscarriage, plus 23 foster kids. She spent much of the 1990s as a stay-at-home mom.

In her career, Bachmann worked as an IRS lawyer, opened a charter school and ran a counseling business with her husband. All these experiences, including her time as a foster parent, involved close relations with the government and — in some cases — receiving government money.

To some her past might seem a contradiction with her Tea Party rhetoric on the campaign trail, but in an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep, Bachmann insists she's not anti-government. She says she just thinks government can be run more efficiently.

"It can do more with a lot less money," she tells Inskeep. "There's also things that government does that they have no business doing."

Bachmann says her goal is to make things better and to fix things.

"My core of conviction," she says, "is centered around the animating principles that created America. One of those is that no one owes you a living."

Bachmann's campaign took a hit after she linked the HPV vaccine with mental retardation. In her book, she says it's really important to get your facts right, but acknowledges that she sometimes comes up short.

"I've said things that are inaccurate and I regret that, but the good thing about this process [is that it's] a good training ground to become better and I'm grateful for that opportunity," she tells Inskeep.

She says she doesn't think she's ever said anything inaccurate during a GOP debate, however, including when she said in Tuesday's national security debate that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich believes 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. should be made legal overnight.

Though she's staked out strong positions, Bachmann says that as president she would be able to compromise because she doesn't want gridlock.

"You don't stay married for 33 years and not compromise," she says. "You don't raise 29 children without compromise and you don't build a successful company without compromise. You don't lead a massive education reform movement in my state without compromising. And you don't bring people together the way I did here in Washington to actively work to defeat Obamacare. But I don't compromise principle, that's the difference."

Bachmann says if she's the nominee she won't rest until 13 other like-minded Republican senators are elected so the GOP has a 60-seat filibuster-proof majority to repeal the health care law and to change the tax code.

"I intend to use that office of the presidency to be able to speak directly into the hearts of the American people about why we need to move legislation, because this is a tsunami election in my opinion," she says. "If you look at the polls, the one who really needs to worry is Barack Obama."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Key Civil War Generals The Subject Of New Smithsonian Exhibit

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery focuses on Civil War generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.
NPR

Is Foster Farms A Food Safety Pioneer Or A Persistent Offender?

The California chicken producer has been dogged by food safety problems at its plants for months. But Foster Farms may also now be one of the country's cleanest, safest sources of chicken products.
NPR

Congress Has The Ability To Fix Immigration Crisis, Obama Says

His remarks in Dallas followed a meeting with faith leaders and local officials, including Gov. Rick Perry, to discuss the large number of unaccompanied minors at the border.
NPR

What Burritos And Sandwiches Can Teach Us About Innovation

Is a burrito a sandwich? The answer may sound simple to you ... but the question gets at the very heart of a tension that's existed for ages.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.