ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday offered a dismissive take on two conservative females, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Reporter Jon Karl brushed aside Palin's bus tour as "another reality TV show" and wondered if the former governor is "just playing tourist."
George Stephanopoulos, meanwhile, played up conflict between the two. He prefaced a question to Bachmann by admitting it may be "sexist." He then asked it anyway, wondering of the two Republican women: "And I know you might resist the comparison. Some might even think that it's sexist. But is there enough room in this race for both of you, both Tea Party favorites?"
[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In a tease for the segment, Stephanopoulos touted the potential tension as some sort of conservative cat fight: "...Will [Palin] run into another female favorite of the Tea Party, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann? Will this be the epic political showdown of 2012?"
Recapping Palin's tour that kicked off in Washington D.C., Karl derided, "Well, it has all the makings of another reality TV show, the Sarah Palin guessing game. Is she running for president or just playing tourist? The itinerary looks like just another summer vacation."
He narrated, listing Palin's stops, "The Lincoln Memorial. The National Archives. Mount Vernon."
(Of course, presidential and political candidates of all stripes have always showed up in front of famous monuments and backdrops.)
A transcript of the Bachmann interview, which aired at 7:08am EDT, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're joined now by the contender who most definitely is in New Hampshire this morning, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Manchester. Thanks for joining us again. Boy, you have been everywhere. Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire this morning. You sound like a candidate. Is there anything that could stop you from running at this point?
BACHMANN: Well, we'll be making our announcement, George, next month. And we'll be making it in the city I was born, conveniently enough, in Waterloo, Iowa. So, we'll let you all know when that comes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: [Laughing]: Well, I don't think you go to Waterloo, Iowa, the city where you were born, to say you're not running for president. So, that's a good start right now. But let me ask you about Sarah Palin. She's being much more coy than you are about this campaign. And I know you might resist the comparison. Some might even think that it's sexist. But is there enough room in this race for both of you, both Tea Party favorites?
BACHMANN: Oh, sure. I think there's enough room for a lot of contenders. And I think there's no question in 2012, the Republicans will field a wide bench of contenders against President Obama. And I think the comparison will be very favorable.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What's the one thing that sets you apart from Sarah Palin?
BACHMANN: Well, again, I compare myself to Barack Obama, not to any of the other Republican candidates. First of all, I want to say that I like Sarah Palin a lot. We're friends. And I don't consider her a competitor. I consider her a friend. But my comparison, ultimately, is to Barack Obama. I created a successful company. I'm a tax litigation attorney. I raised 28 children in my home. I have a number of wide experiences that I bring to the table. And that's my comparison.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You have no problem running, though, against a friend?
BACHMANN: No. Not at all. Not at all.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you about medicare because Congressman Paul Ryan's Medicare plan is center to be at the debate, as well. And I'm a little bit confused at your position. You voted for it. But now, you say that support comes with an asterisk. So, would President Bachmann continue the bill that Congresswoman Bachmann voted for?
BACHMANN: Well, I certainly did support the bill that Paul put forward. The asterisk is dealing with this: Paul Ryan is exactly right, we have to make Medicare solvent. Right now, we know it's going into insolvency. The asterisk is that people don't recognize that this is about people 55 and under. I don't want a 78-year-old woman to think that Medicare will be pulled from under her, because it won't. It's the 55 and under plan. And so, the reforms in Medicare will affect people 55 and under. That's a very important piece.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh, okay. But that is Congressman Ryan's plan. So, you were President, you would sign the Congressman's plan into law?
BACHMANN: Well, the other portion I think is very important is in the middle of dealing with all insurance and numbers, we can't forget humanity. And what I would want to focus on, George, are cures. Cures for Alzheimer's. Cures for diabetes, that occur in senior citizens. And I think just like polio, when we're able to see polio successfully eradicated from the United States, that's what I also want to focus on are cures, particularly as we have an increasing senior population.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I understand that. But does that mean that you would sign the bill or not?
BACHMANN: Well, I think some version of this bill because Paul is right. We have to sustain Medicare. We can't let it just go away for senior citizens. And that's exactly what he's trying to do. I agree with what Paul's trying to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You have a big event in your family this weekend. Your daughter graduates from high school. And you mention how many children you've raised. You've seen a lot of potential candidates not run this time because their family wasn't firmly behind them. Is yours ready for this run?
BACHMANN: I have a wonderful family. My husband Marcus and I have been married 33 years this year. And our youngest daughter has a birthday, today as a matter of fact. So, happy birthday, Sofia. Our family is at an interesting crossroads. All the children will be graduated and out of high school. And so, we're at a very different life. After 29 years of parenting, George, it will be a very different household. So, we're in a very different position. Everyone is onboard, extremely supportive. And it does help to have a lot of hands on deck in a campaign.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'll bet. So, one solution for the empty nest is to run for president?
BACHMANN: I guess so.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, good luck with that. And happy birthday to Sofia. Thank you, Congresswoman.
BACHMANN: Thank you, George