Embattled congresswoman Michele Bachmann told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity in exclusive interview Thursday that she is “not going away” despite her decision not to seek a fifth term.
“There’s just a time when you’ve served, and then it’s time to move on,” the Minnesota Republican said in her first interview since announcing that she is not running for reelection. “I’m not retiring. I’m not going silent. I’m not quitting my public involvement. In fact, I may run for another public office. That could happen.”
Hannity did not ask about the multiple investigations of alleged ethical and financial impropriety that have dogged her 2012 presidential campaign, including an Iowa lawsuit that was scheduled for trial on the day she announced her decision not to run again.
The Minnesota Republican had declined repeated interview requests from the Star Tribune to discuss her retirement from the U.S. House. But she told Hannity that she intends to stay in public life.
“For right now, I think I’m going to find a different perch in order to weigh in on these matters,” she said. “Sometimes you can be more effective on the outside than on the inside. I’ve done everything I possibly could on the inside. But I still intend to be in the fight.”
Bachmann gave no definitive plans for her political future, other than to say she is “wide open and looking… I will continue to be a very strong voice. People won’t see me go away.”
The Bachmann interview came late in Hannity’s one-hour show, and wasn’t teased at the start, possibly signifying a diminished news value in the aftermath of her decision to retire.
Bachmann, however, took to Twitter to promote her appearance, a sign that she was looking for exposure among Hannity’s conservative viewers, who might be counted on to help replenish her campaign coffers.
In avoiding her current legal problems, including scrutiny by the FBI of her defunct presidential campaign, Bachmann stuck to familiar themes, including criticism of Obamacare and what she described as “serial lawlessness out of the Obama administration.”
Hannity is a long-time supporter of Bachmann’s. In 2010, Hannity and his wife Jill gave a combined $10,000 to Bachmann’s political action committee, MichelePAC. Among the allegations in a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint against Bachmann is a claim that she improperly used funds from her PAC to underwrite secret payments to aides in her presidential campaign.
Given room to expound on her plans, Bachmann told the talk show host, “I’m not going away. I’m not leaving Washington. I’m not leaving the national scene. It’s just bringing a positive solution from a different perch.”
Asked about running again for president, Bachmann concluded, “I’m not taking anything off the table. But that’s certainly not my number one item that I’m looking at right now either. I’m in the game for the long haul.”