"Face the Nation" transcript: December 11, 2011
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this question about the other half of Newt Romney, and that is Mitt Romney. Why do you think he is having such a problem? He got to about 20 percent with voters, but he just can't seem to get away from that. And we continue to see others come and go as the alternative to Romney. What's his problem?
BACHMANN: Well I think it's because when you look at Mitt Romney's record you see someone who has stood firm for socialized medicine. Last night on the stage again he was supporting and agreeing with himself for socialized medicine. The American people don't agree with that.
He also was for cap-and-trade. He was for the $700 billion bailout. And when it comes to issue after issue Mitt Romney is not reflective of where the base of this party wants to go. They want small government. And Mitt Romney has been an advocate of big government. We can't afford big government anymore. We're overspent. We're $15 trillion in debt.
And so both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich represent the big government frugal socialist wing of the party. And I represent the true constitutional conservative wing of our party.
SCHIEFFER: If it came down to it, could you see yourself supporting either one of these men if they got the nomination?
BACHMANN: Well, the one thing we know is we won't have Barack Obama as our president, because the American people have made that decision. But what they want is a true bold distinct difference. And there's no candidate on that stage last night, Bob, that has more of a bold, distinct difference than I have. I can hold Barack Obama accountable on every issue because I've been fighting him consistently during his presidency on this issue.
SCHIEFFER: Just yes or no though. Could you support either one of them if it came down to one of them?
BACHMANN: Well, intend to be the nominee. I'm not giving up. I fully intend to be the nominee of our party.
SCHIEFFER: All right.
You seem to have hurt Donald Trump's feelings somewhere along the way here. He said what is it about loyalty that you've been trying to get his endorsement and then all of a sudden he wants to have a debate and moderate it and you turned him down. What's that all about?
BACHMANN: Oh, Donald Trump is a big boy. These things happen. Clearly there is an attempt to have a debate. And no one was taken the bait to come to this debate. And so at a certain point it didn't even make any sense for me to go to it either. Only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum said they were going to go. And clearly it wasn't going to be a debate.
I'm a serious candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States. And we need to have a debate where everyone is participating.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, I thank you very much Ms. Bachmann for joining us this morning. I hope we'll see you again down the trail.
BACHMANN: Thank you, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: You know you may think you've been seeing a lot of Republican candidates but not as many as the Iowa Republican congressman Steve King. He has been campaigning with about all of them as they seek his support in next month's caucus. Congressman King is also joining us this morning from Des Moines.
Well, congressman you were there last night. Who do you think won that debate?
KING: I could not pick a winner, Bob. I walked in there and I looked at all the candidates on the stage and I kind of checked them mentally and I decided I liked them all. When the debate was over, I liked them all more.
I did expect that it would be a political king of the hill type of a debate with Newt Gingrich on top of the hill and Romney fairly high up in the polls. And I thought the shots would come from the wings on them. Some of that happened. And we'll see how much that resonates as this discussion goes through Iowans.
SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, you had said at kind of the beginning of all of this that you did plan to give an endorsement to someone. But this week you told The Washington Post, and I think these are your words, "no full spectrum conservative has emerged in the field." Does that mean you may not endorse?
KING: Well, it doesn't mean they're not out there. It's the emergence definition is the question. And I'll just be, you know, straight honest with you on what's going on inside of me. And that is I have to come to a conviction. Just like these candidates come to a conviction to run for president, I need to come to a conviction to get fully behind a single candidate.
And so that's what's holding me back. I hope to get there. And I will tell you that there's another breadth of this that I think needs to be addressed. And that is the big picture of America's economic situation. The size and the scope of our debt. What we're going to do about that.
Can one of these candidates actually sell the tough medicine that we're going to have to take to get this country fixed before we go off the cliff? And then will they be able to sell that to the American people so that that mandate can actually get this done? I hope that we can get to that point before this is over, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: Could you see yourself endorsing Michele Bachmann? I mean, I would guess she's conservative enough for you.
KING: Michele and I fit right down the same issue after issue. We've worked together on repealing "Obama-care." I'm one of the first to sign on her repeal Dodd-Frank legislation. There are many things we've done together. And the answer to that is, yes, yes, but I haven't come to the conviction. And so that's what holds me back, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you the question that I just asked Ms. Bachmann. And that is, why is Romney having such a hard time? He has a great resume as a businessman and all of that. He's obviously a good, strong person of good character.
And yet there just seems to be a large segment of the Republican Party that, for want of a better phrase, just doesn't like him. Why do you think that is?
KING: You know, that's a hard thing to measure. I just -- I've watched Mitt Romney in the state now for about five years. He built a good organization in this state four years ago and a good media organization. That hasn't happened to the extent this year.
But I think Mitt Romney was unjustly marked down for his religion last time. I hope that's not happening this time. He's a better candidate this time than he was four years ago.
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