Bachmann: Tea Party "only a force for good"

Michele Bachmann on CBS' "Face the Nation," January 29, 2012.

Former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann re-upped her support for the Tea Party on Sunday, contending that the conservative political movement has "been only a force for good in Washington" and that the Republican Party has changed "so much for the better" as a result.

Bachmann, speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," argued that the Tea Party was responsible for reining in a Republican Party that was inclined to go "further and further to the left."

When asked if the Tea Party had made "compromise a dirty word" - and if that could have contributed to "why Congress can't seem to get anything done," in Bob Schieffer's words - Bachmann told the "Face the Nation" host the Tea Party is merely "making sure that we hold onto our core principles and values."

"The Tea Party has been only a force for good in Washington, D.C.," she said. "Because otherwise we continue to go further and further to the left, which is redistribution of wealth."

The Minnesota Congresswoman, who earlier this month withdrew her own bid for the Republican presidential nomination, argued that the GOP had "changed so much for the better" due to the Tea Party's influence, and that the movement has "infused the energy and the excitement" back into Republican politics.

"I think that is what we are all thrilled about," she said, claiming the movement "really is bringing the Republican Party back to its basic values, which is limited government, cutting spending, being smart, and making the government more efficient."

"That is why Obama will be a one-termer, because all he has been about is redistribution of wealth and the rise of socialist principles, and the Tea Party rejects that," she said. She argued that the Tea Party had "framed the debate" for 2012, and that "their concerns are the one that the candidates are trying to give voice to."

Even so, Bachmann said voters would rally around whichever candidate won the GOP nomination, be it an establishment figure or a Tea Party-favored candidate.

"I truly believe that we will see a coming-together of all factions of our party, the Tea Party insurgents as well as the establishment, we are going to come together and we will unify," Bachmann said. She characterized the current state of the GOP race as "normal rough-and-tumble" of any race, and that "this is what we expect is going to happen."

Come November, she said, "we will unify and we will amalgamate."

Bachmann declined to endorse a candidate - though she said she reserved the right to do so later - and said "I am on board the team, put it that way, no matter who our nominee will be."

"I intend to make sure that Barack Obama is a one-term president and whoever our nominee is, I am for them," she said.

Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Reince Priebus, also appearing on the show, echoed that sentiment, arguing that a "tough" primary race was actually good for the party.

"I think they make candidates stronger and I think, if you look at American history, you will see that usually winners come out of very tough primaries and they make these candidates stronger, tougher and battle-tested."

He added, "I think it is great that everyone is talking about the Republicans right now."

Pointing to the 2008 primary battle between Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, Priebus said that ultimately, intense primary races are "good for America."

"You know, they killed each other through June, and guess what? He won pretty easily. I think the evidence is there. I think it is good for America, and in the end, in a few months, this is all going to be ancient history and we are going to talk about our own little campaign Schettino, which is President Obama, who is abandoning the ship here in the United States and is more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president," he said, referring to the disgraced cruise liner captain who was accused of abandoning his ship after it crashed into a reef off the Tuscan coast.

"That is our own president who is fleeing the American people and not doing his job and running around the country and campaigning," Priebus quipped.