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This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: A big night tonight in the Republican presidential race, but was it a game changer, the candidates tackling the economy, the president's policies and each other's ideas? Former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich joins us from the first primary state, New Hampshire. Good evening, sir.
NEWT GINGRICH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE/FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Good to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I love talking about the issues of the day to see exactly, you know, what kind of president any candidate's going to be. So let me ask you, if you were President of the United States today, or even back at the end of September when the first arrest was made of this terrorist, what would you be doing? How would you lead?
GINGRICH: Well, my belief strategically, we have to be for the replacement of the Iranian regime. It is a dangerous dictatorship. It is deeply committed to the destruction of Israel. It's deeply committed to driving us out of the Middle East. It proves again and again its contempt for the United States. The fact that they felt they could plan an assassination attempt in the United States is a sign of how much contempt they have for the Obama administration.
So I think, strategically, beyond any one incident, we ought to have a policy, much as Reagan had with the Soviet Union, of using every kind of non-violent method that we have to undermine and replace the dictatorship because it will never be safe -- we will never live in a safe world as long as the Iranian dictatorship is actively trying to get nuclear weapons and actively plotting to kill people in the United States.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, one missed opportunity might have been, at least in the beginning, was June of '09, with the election, when we sort of -- you know, as the protesters hit the street, you know, the United States sort of held back. That might have been a missed opportunity. But you say non-violent means, and what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said is we're going to, you know, up the sanctions and we're going to probably get our allies to up the sanctions.
Are you suggesting that sanctions is the way to go, it's non-violent means? Will that provoke the regime...
GINGRICH: Look, sanctions is a tiny step in the right direction. We should be actively funding every dissident group in Iran. We should be actively providing them with communications mechanisms. All you have to do is go back to the Reagan years. As you know, Callista and I did a movie called "Nine Days That Changed the World" about Pope John Paul II's impact on Poland on undermining the whole Soviet Empire. We did a movie on Reagan called "Rendezvous With Destiny" that shows what he did.
You look at what Reagan, Thatcher and Pope John Paul II were doing, they were bringing pressure to bear from every angle -- psychological pressure, information pressure, economic pressure, helping dissidents organize, providing them resources, developing, for example, a Radio Free Iran, a Television Free Iran, an Internet Free Iran.
There are lots of things we could do to destabilize and ultimately replace this dictatorship, and it's a mistake for us to try to find a way to deal with them, as Obama has, because they're in the end not going to be reconcilable. They are our mortal enemies.
VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) different sort of foe in the sense that they -- they were all -- they were sealed more from the world and there was more sort of unity against them. I mean, now with the Internet, we've got so many countries that are trading with Syria and there's so much, you know, almost dirty dealing and there's so much leaking in terms of commerce and sanctions -- is it even possible to sort of employ that Reaganesque approach to Iran and have it be effective?
GINGRICH: Sure. Well, it's very possible both in Iran and Syria to approach it because in both cases, you have a very narrow dictatorship sitting on top of an amazing number of really unhappy people. In Syria, you have a basically Alawite dictatorship, a small tribal dictatorship, about 6 percent of the country. The other 94 percent doesn't like them, wants to get rid of them. With adequate leadership, Assad would be gone.
In the case of Iran, you have a dictatorship in a country which is only 51 percent Farsi-speaking, 49 percent of the country speaks languages other than Farsi, which is Persian.
And so you really have a lot of potential. Younger Iranians by every poll we've ever seen overwhelming hate the government. So if you had an intelligent, clever approach to these things, you should be able to organize a replacement movement, build, in effect -- you know, why can't you have an Iranian summer? I've been -- I've been talking about the -- this Arab spring talk. We ought to have a Cuban spring, a Venezuelan spring, a North Korean spring and an Iranian spring. There's no reason -- and for that matter, we should finish the job in Syria, using non-violent techniques to maximize the opposition's opportunities.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, tonight at the debate, you took on Congress. And you said that -- you were talking about that there were some people in the street taking on the business community, but you said that you thought they should be taking on the politicians, that that's sort of the heart of the sickness and -- and it's just Congress. Are you running against Congress?
GINGRICH: Well, I'm certainly running against people like Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. I think the House Republicans ought to repeal the Dodd- Frank bill next week. I think it's a terrible bill. It -- I think Michele Bachmann has it exactly right. It is a job-killing, home-owner-killing, small-bank-killing, small-business-killing bill. They ought to repeal it, send it to the Senate, and we ought to build pressure on the Senate to repeal it.
The fact is that the Congress and the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury -- I mean, I suggested tonight Bernanke ought to be fired. Geithner ought to be fired. If people are mad about the current economy, the right place to focus is Washington because Washington is a destroyer of jobs in this country. Worse under Obama, but the general underlying bureaucracy, the general underlying regulatory pattern has been building for a long time and it is killing jobs in America!
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, here's a random question. Any -- anything - - any of your other -- the other candidates say tonight that surprised you?
GINGRICH: There was a lot of very interesting conversation, candidly. And I think that whether it was -- Rick Santorum was a very good proposal on manufacturing. Herman Cain, who is endlessly funny -- and I didn't really realize -- I knew it but I'd forgotten the implication -- that he had served on the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, was on the board in the 1990s, both a sign of how much he knows, but also a sign that he and Ron Paul are going to have some really good conversations about the Federal Reserve system.
And of course, Ron Paul was very happy tonight to have all the conversation about Bernanke and the Federal Reserve and the need to audit the Federal Reserve, which is an issue he's been pioneering for I guess 30 years now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, thank you, sir.
GINGRICH: Good to be with you.