Michele Bachmann: The complete interview

She sounds off on Ron Paul, health care, and, of course, liberty

The system now isn't perfect by any means, and I've supported real bipartisan reforms, like my Freedom of Health Care Choice Act. Congress has a host of options for making care more affordable and more accessible and for giving people control over their care. Instead of supersizing government health-care programs, we should be making the changes that empower consumers.

CP: There also seems to be a sizeable cross section of the electorate energized by the ideas you and like-minded leaders are putting forth. In what ways have you noticed this rise in support anecdotally? Are more campaign contributions heading your way?

Bachmann: Though demonized by some on the left, my ideas are good, old-fashioned Minnesota common sense. Every day I hear from constituents letting me know that I have their support, while my office gets calls from across the nation urging me to keep up the fight. One thing is clear: People are very uneasy about the sweeping changes the administration and congressional leadership are forcing into law, particularly when the Democratic leadership doesn't allow us the time to work through the legal language of these bills. Minnesotans take more time reading the Sunday newspaper than we do looking at some of these thousand-plus-page pieces of legislation.

Congressional Republicans are trying to get bills online for 72 hours before being voted on. We trust the people to be a part of the debate, and we can only hope that the powers-that-be in Washington will let the people engage as well.

CP: How do you foresee the GOP evolving in the next couple of years, and how do you intend to push it in the right direction?

Bachmann: I can't speak for the entire Republican Party, but I'm encouraged by the renewed civic participation this past year. And I'm particularly encouraged by how the people are coalescing around a renewed sense that the Founding Fathers may have been on to something so many years ago when they wrote the Constitution. Those principles of liberty and prosperity were timeless for a reason.

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