Rep. Michele Bachmann retiring, but says ‘I'm not going to go home and put a sock in my mouth’

Power Players

The Fine Print

Michele Bachmann may have cast her final vote in Congress on Thursday, but she is already gearing up for her next political venture.

In one of her last interviews as a member of Congress, the Minnesota Republican told “The Fine Print” that she plans to be back up on the political stage come 2016.

“I will be involved in 2016 one way or another,” Bachmann said. “I'm not going to go home and put a sock in my mouth; I'm going to continue to be involved in the national stage.”

And though Bachmann said she’s not running for president “right now,” she’s leaving the door open.

“I am not putting together any team, and I'm not working towards that,” she said. “I'm going to be a part of this debate in one way or another, and I'm going to be helping whoever the people choose to be the nominee.”

When Bachmann first arrived in Congress in 2007, she was a political no-name. But by 2010, she had become arguably one of the most well-known conservative Republicans in Congress. She jumped into the 2012 presidential race, winning the Iowa straw poll before her candidacy quickly faltered.

“I came here as a nobody from nowhere,” she said. “I'm not a big politician … and I decided that I was gonna roll the dice and give it everything that I had and contend for the issues that matter, and that's what I did. The only reason why I ran as president of the United States was because of Obamacare. I knew that Obamacare could literally be a final chapter for our country.”

After her failed presidential campaign, Bachmann came back to Congress and turned her focus to national security issues as a member of the House Intelligence Committee. In so doing, Bachmann said she came to realize that the president’s foreign policy has had “devastating” consequences for the country.

Asked if Obama is to blame for the rise of ISIS, Bachmann replied, “Straight out? Yes, I would say that he is.”

“The president foolishly decided to keep his own campaign promise that he would pull the American troops out of Iraq whole sale just like that,” she continued. “We've all seen the video President Bush, who said if we pull troops out rapidly we're going to see a complete denigration of Iraq, and we're going to see the rise of radical elements. That's exactly what's happened.”

Bachmann also decried the president’s recent executive action to defer deportation for some 5 million undocumented immigrants. “It's almost like he's tone deaf, and even after the election he doubled down on his very unpopular agenda,” she said.

Though the president’s executive action stands going into the next session of Congress, Bachmann said the outcome of November’s election should be proof to political leaders that the American people stand in opposition.

“This can't be about politicians … this has to be about normal people who are saying look , I'm not for amnesty, I'm not for granting millions and millions of illegal work permits to people who've broken our laws,” Bachmann said. “And the president cannot just make up a law, because it will help him politically or help his party, that's wrong.”

In measuring the impact of the tea party, Bachmann said the conservative movement has been “wildly successful” and that the supposed rift between the tea party and establishment wings of the Republican Party has been “overblown and overhyped in the media.”

“There’s tremendous unity now in the Republican Party,” Bachmann said. “I think if you're a fly on the wall in the Democrats conference meetings right now, I think that's where you might see a few schisms.”

But despite her talk of Republican unity, this so-called “godmother” of the tea party has also at times taken pride in being the thorn in the side of Congressional leadership.

“I've been joking lately that I don't know who's happier to see me leave Congress, Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner,” Bachmann said humorously.

For more of the interview with Bachmann, including what she’s going to miss about being a member of Congress, check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”


ABC News’ John Parkinson, Ali Dukakis, Tom Thornton, Brian Haefeli, and Gary Rosenberg contributed to this episode.