Coming Off Strong Debate Michele Bachmann Takes the High Road

Well the gloves didn’t come off in last night’s GOP debate. Tim Pawlenty didn’t take on Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann - coming off of a scene-stealing performance - followed the same script this morning on “GMA.”

Keeping her eye on President Obama, Bachmann didn’t bite when I asked if she agreed with Tim Pawlenty’s Sunday take on the health care law Romney passed in Massachusetts: “Obamneycare.”

“I think it is very clear what I said last evening that as President of the United States it would be one of my top priorities a full scale repeal of Obamacare,” she told me. “I’ve been involved in this fight from the beginning George, when President Obama was trying to put this forth.”

I tried again, asking if Bachmann believed that Massachusetts was the model for Obama’s national law.

“What I’m focusing on is the model that President Obama gave to the American people. And one thing I know George in 2014 no matter what any state decides to do with their health care, Obamacare will trump all 50 states. And so it doesn’t matter if states right now are trying to mitigate against the ill effects of Obamacare, Obamacare will trump all state law,” she said.

“So no big differences between you and Gov. Romney on healthcare?”

“Well I know what I will do I will repeal Obamacare because it won’t matter what happened in any of the states, Obamacare will steamroll over that state law. That’s the reality,” she said.

Last night the Minnesota Republican seemed to contradict herself when it came to gay marriage – saying she wouldn’t work to overturn gay marriage in states that have passed it like Iowa and New Hampshire. But she also said she was for a constitutional amendment to reserve marriage to men and women. This morning I asked her to clarify:

Stephanopoulos: Gay marriage – at first you suggested that you don’t think that state laws that legalize gay marriage should be overturned. And then there are states, both Iowa and New Hampshire have legalized –

Bachmann: No George, George the question that I was asked was if I was President of the United States would I come into the states that passed that legislation and advocate either for or against a state law. And as President of the United States that would not be my roll to advocate for or against a state law.

Stephanopoulos: Right but you later said you were for a constitutional amendment – a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage would have the affect of overturning state law.

Bachmann: Well in my home state I was the chief author of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. That’s consistently been my position. And I do support that position at a federal level. But what the questioner asked me is if as President of the United States I would come into a state and advocate either for or against a state law and I said that I would not do that. I believe in the 10th Amendment and I believe in Federalism.

Stephanopoulos: But you believe in a constitutional amendment which would overturn the state law?

Bachmann: I believe in the constitutional amendment, but also one thing I do know on the DOMA law, that’s the Defense of Marriage Act, President Obama has said as the President of the United States who swore that he would faithfully execute the laws of the United States, he said he would pick and choose and not select, not enforce laws that are on the books. That’s why we are seeing a movement toward a federal marriage Amendment because President Obama won’t even stand up for a law that President Clinton signed and passed into law and that’s the Defense of Marriage Act which would preserve marriage between one man and one woman.

With New York poised to pass a law legalizing gay marriage this week, this issue will certainly come back.

Watch my interview here:

-- George Stephanopoulos

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