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/.

NPR

'Game Of Thrones' Evolves On Women In Explosive Sixth Season

The sixth season of HBO's Game of Thrones showed a real evolution in the way the show portrays women and in the season finale, several female characters ascended to power. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to Glen Weldon from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour and Greta Johnsen, host of the Nerdette podcast, about the show.
NPR

In Quest For Happier Chickens, Perdue Shifts How Birds Live And Die

Perdue Farms, one of the largest poultry companies in the country, says it will change its slaughter methods and also some of its poultry houses. Animal welfare groups are cheering.
WAMU 88.5

Jonathan Rauch On How American Politics Went Insane

Party insiders and backroom deals: One author on why we need to bring back old-time politics.

WAMU 88.5

Episode 5: Why 1986 Still Matters

In 1986, a federal official issued a warning: If Metro continued to expand rapidly, the system faced a future of stark choices over maintaining existing infrastructure. Metro chose expansion. We talk to a historian about that decision. We also hear from a former Metro general manager about the following years, and from an Arlington planner about measuring how riders are responding to SafeTrack.

Leave a Comment

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