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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Michele Bachmann Suspends Candidacy

Aired January 4, 2012 - 11:22   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, everyone, for being here today. I'm once again very proud to announce to you a good friend of mine and certainly a great husband, Marcus, Michele Bachmann.

REP. MICHELLE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Thank you, Brad. Thank you so much.

Thank you, everyone, for being here. I appreciate it.

My name is Michele Bachmann.

Entrusted to every American is the responsibility to watch over our republic. You can look back from the time of the pilgrims to the time of William Penn to the time of our founding fathers. All we have to do is look around, because very clearly, we are encompassed about with a great cloud of witnesses that bear witness to the sacrifices that were made to establish the United States and the precious principles of freedom that make it the greatest force for good that has ever been seen on the planet.

Every generation has served as the next stepping stone down the path of our liberty, and every day I'm reminded of that conviction that we have to the principles of freedom and justice by a painting. It's a painting that hangs in the United States Capitol.

It's made by Howard Chandler Christy's scene at the signing of the Constitution of the United States. It hangs in the east grand stairway of the United States Capitol. Every schoolchild is familiar with this painting, but I've been privileged to see it on a regular basis doing my duties in Congress.

But never was the painting's poignant reminder more evident than on the evening of March 21st, 2010. That was the evening that Obamacare was passed.

And staring out from the painting are the faces of the founders, and in particular the face of Ben Franklin, who served as a constant reminder of the fragile republic that he and the founders gave to us. That day served as the inspiration for my run for the presidency of the United States, because I believed firmly that what the Congress had done and what President Obama had done in passing Obamacare endangered the very survival of the United States of America, our republic, because I knew that it was my obligation to ensure that President Obama's program of socialized medicine was stopped before it became fully implemented. And so my message has been the necessity for the complete repeal of Obamacare in this once-in-a-lifetime campaign cycle for the presidency, because Obamacare represents the largest expansion of entitlement spending in our country's history, and it has now become the playground of left-wing social engineering, where the right will always lose every battle and the left already has been given the formula for passing their agenda. It must be stopped.

And its repeal is more than just a cliche for me. It's essential to my core of conviction, because Obamacare violates our fundamental liberties as Americans, including for the first time in the history of our country taxpayer-funded abortion.

Deeply troubled by the state of our country, I ran for the presidency, foremost as an American citizen who believes in the foundation and in the greatness of our American principles. And our principles derive their meaning from the founders' beliefs which were rooted in the immutable truths of the holy scripture, the bible.

And while a congressman by title, a politician I never have been, nor will I ever hope to be, because I am not motivated in this quest by vainglory or the promise of political power. I have served one singular purpose in Washington, D.C., to lead an effort that was begun by the people of this country. I ran as the next stepping stone of passing on and protecting that torch of liberty, and that duty required taking on the charge of repealing both Obamacare and Dodd- Frank, which mandated ensuring the election of 13 additional Republican senators to guarantee that legislation's demise.

These words are a warning. The implementation of Obamacare will represent a turning point for our country and our economy, and I worried what a future painting in Christy's vain might depict should Obamacare be ultimately placed into effect.

Would future generations ask of us gathered here today, what did we do, what did we give, what did we sacrifice to ensure the survival of this incomparable republic? I ran because I realized 2012 is our last chance and our only chance to repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. And I knew how to get rid of both of them.

And I ran not only for me, but I also ran to elect 13 more Republican United States senators who had helped me to repeal that legislation. I ran because I believed that since day one, Barack Obama's policies based on socialism are destructive to the very foundation of the republic. And I ran because I wanted my children and all of the children of this country to live free and have even better opportunities than our parents gave to us. And I ran to secure the promise of our children's future.

And so I decided to stand up, stand up and fight for our freedom, and stand up for the survival of the nation. And I will continue fighting to defeat the president's agenda of socialism, and I'll continue to fight for you, for more liberty and less government, to stop the overspending in Washington, to keep our country free, safe, and sovereign, and to fight against crony capitalism. Fight to end excessive government regulation and a tax code that is absolutely unfair and is killing American competitiveness.

I will fight to legalize American energy production. I will fight for American families. I will fight to protect life from conception until natural death, to protect traditional marriage, and I'll fight to secure our borders, and I'll fight to protect religious liberty. I'll fight for this country and for the American people every day in the way that God allows me to.

And so I came here, to this wonderful state of Iowa where I was born and raised, and that I've come to trust and love, and I had just one message to tell you, that I mean what I say and I say what I mean. And I've told you the truth, that our country is in very serious trouble, and that this might be the last election to turn the nation around before we go down the road to socialism, to a burden of debt too heavy for our children to bear.

And I didn't tell you what the polls said that you wanted to hear. I didn't tell you what I knew to be false. I didn't try to spin you. I listened to the people of Iowa and all across America, and they agree that President Obama and his socialist policies must be stopped.

And I sought the nomination of the party of Reagan, the party of Lincoln, that believes in the strength and the goodness of the American people, and that America is and does remain the greatest force for good that the world has ever known, because we don't believe that government has the answers. The people do.

The government should respect the rights and the opportunities of the people to whom we are accountable because we believe that government should do its job enumerated by the Constitution, not our job. It should do it without spending more than what it takes in.

And so last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside. And I believe that if we are going to repeal Obamacare, turn our country around and take back our country, we must do so united. And I believe that we must rally around the person that our country and our party and our people select to be that standard bearer.

But make no mistake, I'll continue to be a strong voice. I'll continue to stand and fight for the country and for the American people and for our freedom, because Mr. Franklin and all the founders, all the men, all the women who have given their last full measure of devotion and our military, our veterans are watching us. They're expecting us to stand up and protect what they fought to give us. And so we owe it to them and to our posterity and to the God that we serve, who created us, who gave us life in our very being, to keep our republic free.

And I will be forever grateful to this state and to its people for launching us on this path with our victory in the Iowa Straw Poll. And while I will not be continuing in this race for the presidency, my faith in the Lord God Almighty, this country, and our republic is unshakeable. And as I have traveled around this state and the country, I've seen the very best in the country and our people. And I'll always believe in the greatness of them and in the greatness of the God that I serve.

And, of course, I'm deeply grateful to our entire campaign team here in Iowa, in South Carolina and everywhere. I have no regrets, none whatsoever. We never compromised our principles and we can leave this race knowing that we ran it with utmost integrity. We made a very important contribution to this race.

And so I sincerely thank my wonderful husband of 33 years, Marcus Bachmann; my entire family, our children, Lucas, Harrison, Elisa, Caroline, Sophia; my mother, Jean (ph); stepfather, Ray; my beloved brothers who are here, Gary, Paul, Scott, also my brothers David and George. I'm so grateful to them. Our 23 foster children. They, along with the lord's provision of his incomparable faithfulness have been me strength throughout the campaign. I look forward to the next chapter in God's plan. He has one for each of us, you know, if we will only cooperate with him. He has always had something greater around the corner, far beyond what any of us have ever thought or imagined. I've been blessed to live a wonderful life. I'm grateful to have been a part of this presidential campaign. And so I thank you. I say God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)