Michele Bachmann photo

Remarks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

October 07, 2011

Hi, everyone. Good to see you. Hi, everybody. Good to see you. Thank you so much.


REP. BACHMANN: I love you too. And besides that, you're all extremely good looking, so we're all good friends.

Thank you so much for welcoming me back here to the Family Research Council. Hasn't this been a wonderful summit? [cheers and applause] I want to thank Tony Perkins. I want to thank the Family Research Council, all the sponsoring organizations that have been involved in this event. It really is an honor for me to be able to be back here in Washington, D.C. to speak to all of you tonight, here in the twilight of the Obama administration. [cheers and applause] Oh, believe it's going to happen. It is going to happen.

My husband, Marcus, and I are just so delighted. We've been married for 33 wonderful years last month. [applause] Over the years, God gave us five wonderful children that we have raised to know the Lord. They now walk with the Lord. They're all grown, gone, out of the house. And we've also had the thrill to raise 23 great foster children in our home over the years as well. We've raised 23—28 wonderful children. And you are looking at the old woman in the shoe right here. [applause]

I also appreciate other parents too when they describe their sense of passing on their values to the next generation, to their children. And one that I love in particular is one of my all-time favorite founding fathers. That would be John Adams. And I've read some of the letters that he's written to his wife Abigail, some of the letters she wrote to him. And in one particular letter in 1780, John Adams wrote this to his wife, and he said, "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music and architecture."

Now, that's a short passage, but it says so much. And in particular, I think it is relevant to this evening and this day and time that we live in, because he recognized, as we must, that there are critical times in our history, critical times when a generation is required to set aside the pursuits that we would all like to have and instead embrace the sacrifices that are necessary to secure liberty to the next generation.

And I want to say to you tonight that all of us that are here, we were all created for a time such as this. [applause] We saw it happen, didn't we, with Adams' generation, when the founders put everything on the line for us, that we owe everything that we have, not only to the sacrifice that they gave for their life, but also for their property, because the kind of government that they gave to us was one that they founded on the consent of us, the people. And it was one that was dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal and that we are endowed by one creator with certain inalienable rights. That's our American creed. [cheers and applause]

And we've seen that sacrifice continue through every generation in the United States. We saw that continue in the last generation, with the greatest generation in the Second World War and in the First World War, fighting on two fronts for the future, not only of just us in the United States, but we can never forget that they also fought for our brethren across the world.

And I believe that now, as in the time of Washington and Adams and of Jefferson, that we are again facing an absolutely extraordinary challenge, never before seen in the history of our nation, a challenge of debt, and a challenge that will require ordinary men and women, just like ourselves, to unite in determination to do extraordinary things in our day.

We all know the challenges that we face. Millions of our fellow Americans, unfortunately, today are unemployed, and all too many are underemployed. Deficit spending under President Obama has absolutely skyrocketed, and he has left the rest of us to pay for his bills.

Gas prices have doubled. Do you know that Barack Obama, the day he took office, gasoline was $1.79 a gallon? Oh, how we long for that day. The good news is we can have that day again. And President Obama has moved—[applause]—oh, yes. And President Obama has moved the fight over abortion to "Obamacare." It's a venue where he has a new, never before seen, stunning level of power in his hand as the president and where we aren't even left the right of appeal from a government leviathan.

China's growth and influence is spreading unchecked across the world. Increasingly it's apparent that Russia's commitment to power exceeds its commitment to the value of human life.

But the challenges that we face aren't the entire story, because we are fighting back. [cheers and applause] We are fighting back as a grassroots movement that's renewed the promise of our constitutional heritage. And that movement is known nationwide as the tea party movement. [cheers and applause]

And I say and attest to you here this evening, that movement, united with the pro-family movement, the Republican Party, with disaffected Democrats, with independents, with people who have never been political a day in their life, I attest to you, this united movement will deliver the victory in 2012. [cheers and applause]

We are fighting back against the out-of-control government spending. We are fighting back with renewed pressure on our government at every level, which is why I led the fight last summer against raising the debt ceiling and giving Barack Obama another $2.4 trillion in borrowed money to spend now, and it will only get us through till next year. That was the right fight to fight, and you joined in that fight. [cheers and applause]

We're fighting back with a movement that is demanding nothing less than the full-scale repeal of "Obamacare"—[cheers and applause]—because we know what the government takeover of medicine—in fact, let's call what it is, socialized medicine—we know that we can never again be prosperous and truly free in this country if socialized medicine remains the law of the land. You have my commitment. It will be repealed. [cheers and applause]

We are fighting back. And I was very proud to help lead that fight when, in November of 2010, the American people overwhelmingly came to the polls and we took more seats away from the president's party than had been taken away in a midterm election in over 70 years. And we're just getting started. [cheers and applause]

And together we fought back when the American people replaced six business-as-usual U.S. senators, and we replaced them with six constitutional U.S. senators. And we're just getting started there as well. [cheers and applause]

I'm one hard-working woman. And I want you to know, as nominee of the Republican Party, I will not quit unless I help elect 13 more like-minded, titanium-spined, new U.S. senators to join me in the U.S. Senate. [cheers and applause] And we can do it. Don't think we can't. [cheers and applause] We'll do it.

I'm not interested in going to the Oval Office just to be tied up in knots for four years. The only reason I would go to the Oval Office is to actually do what needs to be done—repeal "Obamacare," repeal Dodd-Frank, change the tax code, get the country on the right track. And the only way we can do that is by having a filibuster-proof Senate and a conservative majority in the House of Representatives. And it will be 100 days like you have never seen before. [cheers and applause]

We'll ask the Brits if they would kindly give us back that statue of Winston Churchill to put in the Oval Office. [cheers and applause] We will dust off the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights, and they will be front and center on my wall and on my desk in the Oval Office. And then I will kindly show every czar to the door and let them know they won't be hearing from me again—[cheers and applause]—because we're going to keep fighting back until we take back the White House in 2012. And I just want you to know, I am ready and prepared to lead that fight. [applause]

And as dear John Adams said, in times of crisis, we are obliged to study politics and war. And the first decade of this century, unfortunately, has seen all too much of our share of war in this country. And I say to you this evening that our men and our women in uniform have performed absolutely brilliantly. [cheers and applause] We love our military. We honor our military. We admire our military. We respect our military.

They have laid tyrants low and they have terminated the lives not only of Osama bin Laden, but also one week ago today they ended the life of Awlaki, who was the mastermind behind the Christmas Day underwear bomber, behind the Fort Hood disasters, behind the Fort Dix six, and also behind the cargo bombs that were intended—that were sent to Chicago. Our brave men and women did this for us. [cheers and applause]

Unfortunately, as a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, we deal with the nation's classified secrets. I wish that I could tell you that those threats are now behind us. Those threats remain as great or greater than they ever have before. But by now I believe it is obvious that we have the perseverance to see this fight through against radical Islamic jihadists. And the American soldier has no equal when it comes to force of arms.

So we know about war. But what about politics? And why did John Adams, in his remarks, group the two of these together? Because our political opponents are not military opponents, and what John Adams recognized, and what has become all too apparent since 2008, is that there are times when events reach a tipping point or a decision point.

And it's at those times, I believe, when a country needs citizens like all of us in this arena tonight who are willing to fight not only for our political freedom and all of the intensity, with all of the dedication, with all the willingness to sacrifice that we've come to associate with our soldiers who guard our shores, because this evening here at the Values Voter Summit, I believe that America is at our generational decision point, because the decisions that we are about to embark on in the next few months in this nation, we will choose the next leader of our country and we will choose the direction and we will determine whether we will grow the economy or whether we will watch it slip back into a recession that has the potential for becoming potentially a worldwide recession, and even, some say, a depression.

The decisions that we will make are sobering. They will determine whether we remain the country with the highest quality of medical care in the world or whether our government will run new drugs, new medical devices, new medical procedures out of this country, as it is doing today.

That isn't America, and that must change—[applause]—because, you see, these decisions that we are about to make will determine whether America remains the world's leading economic superpower, as we are today, or whether the United States will be eclipsed and we will become a secondary economic superpower within five years, as the International Monetary Fund has already predicted.

If the International Monetary Fund is right and we don't choose the next president of the United States as one who is committed to doing the very difficult sacrificial things that must be done, then this could be—and we must ponder well—this could be the last election when the United States is the greatest economic superpower of the world. And that means the last military superpower of the world. I reject that plan—[applause]—because, as your president, I fully intend to fight to retain our status as the economic and military superpower of the world, as Ronald Reagan choose to do in the 1980s.

Ronald Reagan understood all too well, America could not win the war against the Soviet Union unless we were the predominant economic superpower of the world. Barack Obama has put this nation on a course so dangerous economically that it could impact necessarily and diminish our military impact across the world as well.

What do we have to do to retain this economic super status? It will require sacrifice. But we must. We must drastically cut government spending. We are spending 40 percent more than what we take in. [applause] I am up for that challenge. [applause]

We must overhaul America's welfare dependency programs. We must. I am up for that challenge. And we must create a pro-growth economic climate of permanent solutions in the private sector, as opposed to government-directed temporary gimmicks like this current president has proposed all along and dares to call it a jobs plan.

We must repeal "Obamacare." I introduced the bill, and I will. We must defeat and repeal Dodd-Frank, which is doing to the financial sector what "Obamacare" is doing to health care. [applause] I introduced that bill, and I will. And we must begin at the easiest place to have job creation; that is, legalize American energy production. This is our ticket to prosperity. [cheers and applause]

Even the government—the Congressional Research Service has told us America is the number one energy resource-rich nation in the world. There is no reason for us to go begging to other nations. There's no reason for us—[cheers and applause]—there is no reason for us to enrich the Middle East dictator thugs of the world. There is no reason. [cheers and applause] There was no reason for Barack Obama to give a $2 billion check to the Brazilians and say we will be your best customers. There was no reason. [applause]

When the Chinese are dragging an oil rig to place 50 miles outside of Florida in waters that they are leasing from Cuba, we can drill here and we can drill now in the United States of America. [cheers and applause] As your president, I will legalize American energy production. We will be drilling. We will be fracking. We will be leasing. We will be opening up American energy production. And we will be the leader in the world in American energy, and the American people will be better off for it. [applause]

We also have a tremendous opportunity before us for reduction. And this is how I want it to have reduction. I will permanently shut down the Department of Education. [cheers and applause] And as soon as I lock the doors and turn off the lights to the Department of Education, I will get in my car and get to the department of EPA to do the same to them. [cheers and applause]

It may be a long day, but there's a few others that are also going to get their lights off. [cheers and applause] Trust me. It will be done. In other words, this is our chance. This is our chance, men and women. We have the chance to once again choose greatness. And as Charles Krauthammer wrote in his great essay, we are privileged to choose. Choose greatness or choose decline.

As I look at all of you this evening, I know what you have chosen. You've chosen greatness. You have chosen to go on. Every day across the United States, I haven't met one American who wants to choose decline. And this president has chosen decline for this nation. That's not our future. Our future will be determined in 2012.

And if that's what you want, I am ready to lead that fight as the next president of the United States of America—[cheers and applause]—because I have no interest in managing an unmanageable, dysfunctional, lethargic bureaucracy. My goal is to dismantle it—[cheers and applause]—because, you see, these decisions we're about to make will determine whether we move forward under a federal government of enumerated powers that acts within its constitutional limitations—what a concept—or instead if we accept an absolutely uncontrollable government monster whose reach is only limited by the imagination of those who hold power, because most important of all, the decisions that we make are going to determine whether we have a Supreme Court that respects its constitutional role and respects our guaranteed rights to life and liberty and property that are guaranteed in the Constitution, or instead if we will have a Supreme Court that will be undermining all of those values and then abdicate their duty to interpret the Constitution as written by the founders, not as resolved by The New York Times. [applause]

And yet, with the stakes as high as they have ever been in our lifetimes, I'm here to deliver to you very good news, because, of all years, this is the year when we conservatives don't have to settle. [cheers and applause] This is not the election to choose a moderate or a compromise candidate. Now is not the time to abandon our values and virtues, because now is the time when we need those virtues more than ever.

As I told you, every day I'm traveling across this great country, meeting people all over the country. I can tell you first-hand the cake is already baked. The people have said no to Barack Obama. They're ready to say yes to someone who will clearly stand apart, someone who will stand up against the ever-growing power of this bureaucracy, who has the will to do what they say they're going to do, and do what they say they're going to do.

Conservatives, we can have it all this year, because Barack Obama will be a one-term president. [cheers and applause]

Don't listen to these people who every four years tell you we have to select a moderate from our party and we have to settle for the sake of winning. I am here to tell you, we are going to win, not—this year we don't settle. We're going to win the White House. So let's finally have one of us in the White House. [cheers and applause]

I have lived a consistent life based on core convictions, and I have proven time after time that I stand with you and I stand for our values and I stand for the Constitution. I stand for limited government. I stand on principle. And I will never back down. [cheers and applause]

You won't find YouTube clips of me speaking in support of Roe versus Wade. You won't find me equivocating or hemming or hawing when I'm asked to define marriage as between one man and one woman. [applause] And you won't find me tagged as a crony capitalist, paying off big political donors with big political favors. And you won't have to worry about me stepping one toe out of the United States, apologizing for the United States of America on foreign soil. [cheers and applause] And you will never have to worry whether I will stand and defend our ally, Israel, because I do and I have. [cheers and applause]

You won't have to worry about these things, because for five years in Washington, D.C., I have lived, I have breathed, I have fought daily in the halls of Congress for our shared values. And the reason our agenda never seems to advance is because the people that we send to represent us rarely, if ever, fight for us after everything that we do and sacrifice to get them elected. The only reason that I came to Washington was to fight for our nonnegotiable principles. And remember, we can't win if we don't fight. [cheers and applause]

People said it would never be done, but in Minnesota I fought for seven years and persevered, and we won the issue of defining marriage as one man and one woman. And it will be on the ballot in the state of Minnesota in 2012—[cheers and applause]—because, you see, with a proven fighter in the White House, we will finally win on the issue of life, on marriage, on family, on religious liberty. It's time that we score some victories for our movement. [applause]

On a personal level, the most important issue that I made and the most important stand that I made in life was not to settle for religious practice. When I was 16 years of age, I chose to select a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and I stand with him—[cheers and applause]—I stand with Jesus Christ because he, first of all, stood for me. And he wishes to stand with all men as well.

From the time I can remember, when I was small, my parents prayed with me. They prayed with my three brothers. And, by the way, for girls, that's the best preparation for politics you can ever have, three brothers, just so you know; no sisters. My parents helped me to become a woman of prayer. And, like you, I consult the Lord through prayer on almost every decision that I make.

But I realized my need for a savior after my parents were divorced and we moved to the state of Minnesota. And even though I hadn't been a drinker or done drugs or were chasing around or doing what you call bad things, it didn't matter. I was still a sinner, and I was still in need of a savior. And I knew that I needed to radically abandon myself and my life and my future to Jesus Christ.

And that's the stand that has helped to develop my core of conviction. And how can I stand for what I believe with conviction? How can you stand? How can we stand with confidence in defense of these values, in defense of the virtues that have made the United States of America great? Well, John Adams was a Christian, and John Adams had a deep understanding of the indispensable role that faith and religion and morality play in the moral fabric of our nation. And this understanding ran so deep in our country.

It was understood to play such a fundamental role in self-governance that John Adams understood that the morals we live by and the faith that we have, the values and the virtues that we depend on, were fully intertwined in every area of our lives that shape our families, our culture and our government.

And when we advocate in favor of lower taxes and fewer regulations and in order to—and in order to create more jobs, the reason why we do this is not just for the sake of our back-pocket—our back-pocket wallet or our pocketbook. That isn't why we do it alone. But it's because we recognize there's a moral obligation to bring our fellow citizens into what Pope John Paul II called the circle of productivity and exchange, because, you see, free markets also have morality. Free markets help mankind. And I am unashamed apologist for free markets. [applause]

When we argue for choosing our own health care rather than government control in health care, we do it not only because of the failed results of a state-run health care bureaucracy that we see in other countries, but we do it because we believe that we are the ones who get to choose our own care and that of our loved ones.

And when we speak in defense of traditional marriage, it isn't because we want to control other people's lives. It's because we recognize the deep roots of natural law and of revealed law and other religious traditions that have united across the centuries, and in the shared belief that it was a holy God who designed marriage for man and woman as the most loving and best environment for the procreation of children. [cheers and applause]

And when we fight for the right to life from conception until natural death, we do it not only because we recognize that the protection of innocent life is the most fundamental obligation of any government, but because we believe that each person—man, woman, black, white, no matter the economic circumstance—are all made in the image and sacred likeness of a holy God. That's the reason. [cheers and applause]

My personal life experience has shown me how precious life is. And that's why yesterday I was privileged to introduce a bill into the House of Representatives called the Heartbeat Informed Consent Act, because, you see, I believe it's important that mothers, when they go to an abortion clinic, have the opportunity to hear their baby's heartbeat and see their baby's heartbeat on an ultrasound machine. We're told of undecided women, once they see that baby's heartbeat or hear that baby's heartbeat, 78 percent of the time mothers choose to give life to that baby. [cheers and applause]

You see, a president committed to life and marriage and religious liberty really can make a difference. That's why I was so happy to sign the Susan B. Anthony pro-life pledge without any reservation. And that's why, as president, I will give you my word, I will fight to defund Planned Parenthood—[cheers and applause]—and deny them—[sustained applause]—and deny them their very rich $300 million-a-year stipend that that billion-dollar-a-year corporation is now receiving.

And I will restore the protections for life that President Obama has erased. And as president, I'll put our government out of the abortion industry once and for all—[cheers and applause]—because, you see, we don't have to settle for a moderate. We can do what needs to be done on the cause of life and finally advance this noble cause, because I'm here to tell you, we don't have to settle this year, because this president has not compromise his liberal principles on this issue, and we should not compromise ours either. [applause]

As president, you have my word, I will not compromise on the area of life. When John Adams considered his duties for the generations yet to come, he reflected on what he must do. And I believe there are things that we must do as well. We must decrease the tax and the regulatory burden. I'm a job creator. My husband and I started a business from scratch when we had absolutely nothing, and we are thrilled that we are able to provide people in our state with gainful employment and offer a wonderful service to our customers.

I'm a former federal tax litigation attorney. I understand first-hand, after fighting for years in the United States federal tax court, how decimating high taxes are on individuals and families and farmers. I served on the financial affairs committee here in Congress, and I have seen up close and personal how devastating government intervention has been and how government intervention led to the financial meltdown that occurred between 2006 and 2008. I've been there. I've seen it. I've fought it on Barney Frank's committee.

I know what needs to be done to turn this economy around and to create millions of high-paying jobs again. It can be done if government just gets out of the way—[applause]—because I will understand from day one what this president does not. Government doesn't create jobs. Permanent solutions in the private sector do create jobs. [applause]

And I will understand also from day one what this president does not understand, after being privileged to sit on the House Intelligence Committee, that we must stand up to China. We must stand up to Iran, which seeks a nuclear weapon. We must stand up to the state sponsors of terror in this world, because if we don't, if they are emboldened, if they continue to disrespect the United States of America, if they continue to see the United States of America put daylight—[inaudible]—not happen. And as president of the United States, I will stand against that. [applause]

The United States cannot blink when it comes to radical jihadist terrorists. We must use vision in equipping our military against that threat that continues to plague our nation. We must repeal "Obamacare" and focus on lowering the cost of health care. And we must prevent this president from having the chance to nominate one more liberal ideologue to the Supreme Court. That can never happen again—[applause]—because we need justices who will respect life and respect the Constitution of the United States and respect the limits of the Constitution of the United States.

And together, we must pledge a renewed commitment to the enduring strength of this magnificent constitutional order and the enduring vitality of a free people whose Constitution guarantees unequivocally our right to create and dream in the context of a free society and a free economy.

We are the nation to which the rest of the world repairs. Oh, that we would remain that city on a hill. It can be done if we choose wisely in these next few months. And as John Adams saw and fulfilled his sacred obligation, so too it is incumbent upon us gathered together this evening in this room to fulfill our obligation, not merely to ourselves, but to the next and subsequent generations, as John Adams did 235 years ago.

And if we do this, the hope that Adams had for our generation will follow him. It's one that we may have for generations that will follow us, because I believe if we do what we must, then our children will be free to do what they ought. And if we bring up our children in the way that they should go, so that they will do what they ought, then we can earn for our grandchildren the opportunity and the right to devote their lives to the things that they hope to do—the right to continue to live as a free people in a great republic, the greatest nation that the world has ever known.

And so you have before you this weekend your choice and your decision, and you have a chance to send a message to President Obama that his time in the White House will soon be finished. When you vote in the very all-important straw poll this weekend, that is when you send Barack Obama a message that you not only reject his policies. You see this as your opportunity, when you have a chance to take your voice as part of an all-encompassing movement which I believe has the potential to embrace even 70 percent of the American people to do more than just settle for someone in the other team, wearing the other jersey, because that won't cut it this time in this election, because choosing to settle, you see, is actually quite hard. It means making hard choices. And it requires the very lives of many of our nation's founders. And I don't have to remind you about the fate of many signers of the Declaration of your—of Independence.

And as your president, I want you to know I have no plans to settle. I won't settle for an America that's anything less than the world's economic leader. I won't settle for anything less than standing up for the family, for our faith, for the issue of life. I won't stand up for anything less than the cause of liberty, the very birthright that the founders put everything on the line to give to us. I won't settle.

And tonight I'm calling on all of you as well. Don't settle. As Reagan said, it's a time for choosing. Choose wisely. Choose the future. Choose to go on. Choose economic liberty. Choose military might. Choose religious liberty. We can be great in 2012 if we choose wisely. Choose wisely. It's our birthright.

God bless you. God bless the United States of America. [applause] We will go on. God bless you. God bless you all. Thank you for this magnificent evening. God bless you. [applause]

Michele Bachmann, Remarks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/316074

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