This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 24, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tuesday's a big day. But tonight, he's right here, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. So stay right where you are.
Also, seven state attorneys generals are on the warpath! They are so angry at President Obama that they are taking him to court. You're going to find out why from one of them. Stay right where you are.
Plus, the price you pay at the pump, now the political weapon. You will hear from RNC chair Reince Priebus.
And President Obama sends a letter with an apology to Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai. Why is President Obama apologizing? Ambassador John Bolton is here.
But first, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... to see you.
NEWT GINGRICH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to talk to you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, I know from reading on the wires today and from hearing things that have come out from your campaign that you are very distressed -- my word -- about the president's apology to President Karzai in a letter having to do with the violence that's erupted after the burning of the Koran in Afghanistan. Tell me how you think he should have handled this.
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, I think that there's this one-sided continuing effort by President Obama to appease whoever it is that seems unhappy. You know, churches get burned in Nigeria, there are no apologies. Churches get burned in Egypt, there are no apologies. Churches get burned in Malaysia, there are no apologies.
The fact is that it would have been one thing to have had the American commander in the region and President Karzai together saying this was unfortunate, that we're working together, that, clearly, it was not done deliberately.
But what you have is a situation where an Afghan soldier, somebody who we probably paid, we probably trained and we probably armed, kills two Americans and wounds four others. I don't hear any apologies coming from the Afghan government for the killing of Americans by one of their soldiers.
And I frankly just think this one-sided process of apologizing for America has gone too far. The commander-in-chief occasionally ought to stand up for his troops. I do not believe they were being deliberately sacrilegious. I believe they were dealing with materials much of which was radical Islamic materials, and I think it was probably an honest and a sincere mistake.
VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I'd back it up even a little bit further. I mean, why are we in the position in Afghanistan of destroying those Korans? Do we have no other partners in Afghanistan, even the Karzai government, who could have done it instead because it was obviously -- it was obviously going to create a problem for the United States to destroy a Koran?
GINGRICH: Well, you know, I mean, as Colonel West, who's now a congressman, points out, war is often a lot sloppier and more complicated when you're in the middle of it than when you're sitting thousands of miles away. I don't know who did it. I don't know why they did it. I don't know what the circumstances were.
I agree with you, you would think in certain kind of materials, particularly if they involve languages other than English, it would be useful to have somebody who is fluent and who is a native as your partner.
But this gets back to the whole way we've run both this campaign and the Iraq campaign. You have to have some kind of integration, where you have people that are right next to you all the time and those folks have to have an ability to help advise you in what you're doing because you are in a foreign country that has a foreign culture, that has other values, and you don't necessarily always understand it. But I do find it...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's...
GINGRICH: ... distressing both -- go ahead.
VAN SUSTEREN: No, go ahead. I'm sorry.
GINGRICH: I was going say I do find it distressing, just as happened recently with several Marines who did something truly stupid, that there's an immediate response by the White House and the Obama administration to blame the Americans, to highlight the Americans. And I'm not at all sure that it's valid.
And furthermore, I am really deeply offended, I think, on behalf of the families and on behalf of the American people that Americans get killed by an Afghan soldier, we -- President Obama doesn't seem to hold Karzai responsible for that. There doesn't seem to be any request for an apology from Karzai.
And I think we have to have -- we can't have a double standard where we are always the ones who are wrong, and no matter what they, we don't ever say anything.
VAN SUSTEREN: Does it not show, though, a deeper problem with how we're executing this war because the fact that Karzai is our opponent in this, rather than sort of our partner, trying to get out of the problem, that he's not trying to help us -- you know, we've already lost two soldiers on this and there's lots of violence?
But doesn't -- isn't that a bigger message that he's really not on board with us to try to help us out of an unfortunate incident?
GINGRICH: Sure. Well, first of all, yes -- yes, it is an indication, just as the Pakistani hiding of bin Laden in a military city for seven years less than a mile from their national defense university is an indication. These are not allies in any sense that we would historically think of them as allies.
But let me also point out these kind of sudden eruptions of religious fanaticism are very often politically directed. You'll remember a few years ago, when there were some cartoons in a Danish newspaper, and all of a sudden, all across the Mideast, there were these outraged cries and these attacks, and people in the West promptly kowtowed and apologized and backed off and appeased.
You know, the fact is those things were all politically inspired. There are people in Afghanistan who hate us and want to get us out of there. This is an excuse for them to go on a rampage.
But I think we should be pretty offended that this is used as an excuse to kill Americans. And we should be pretty determined to push Karzai very hard. I'm not prepared to say we have to tolerate allies who are totally unreliable and who, in fact, aren't allies.
I think we have to reconsider what our options are and whether or not, in fact, this is a government that is in any way reliable, just as I think we have a big problem in Pakistan when the Pakistanis -- they didn't go out and find the people who'd be hiding bin Laden. They went out and arrested the person who helped us find us. Now, that should be, frankly, a much bigger outrage, but this administration is unwilling to ever confront our enemies in the Middle East, no matter what they do.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you used the word "appease." Obviously, that's a -- you know, a -- that's a -- that's a strong -- it's a strong word. And it -- you know, it's one that's got historic reference going way back. Do you stand by that, that he is an appeaser?
GINGRICH: Well, look at around the region. You now have -- if you were an American ally like Mubarak, Obama dumped you immediately. If you're an American enemy like Assad, he's been wavering for months. If you're an American enemy like Ahmadinejad, he's been trying to find ways to communicate you and work with you.
There's talk about the Americans trying to find a way to have negotiations with the Taliban. We have been extraordinarily tolerant of the Pakistanis in circumstances where we, frankly, should be pretty angry at them.
And I don't see any sign of this administration being very tough. Yes, it's true, in very narrowly targeted ways, they have killed a fairly good number of terrorists. But the region has slid steadily away from the United States and the region has grown steadily more difficult for the last three years.
VAN SUSTEREN: Would you admit that the party in power has a very sort of complicated task, regardless of whether it's Republicans or Democrat, but the party out of power talking about foreign policy, it's always sort of -- I mean, it's always easier on the outside?
GINGRICH: Well, I'll admit that it's always clearer on the outside. But I would just suggest that Ronald Reagan in 1979, 1980 was described by a lot of establishment types in Washington as having this very simple view that the right outcome of the cold war was we win, they lose, that he was described in 1983 by the establishment as having this clearly unacceptable view that the Soviet empire was an evil empire.
And then in 1987, when he gave a speech and said that, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall, the entire State Department establishment tried to talk him out of saying it because they knew the wall would be there for 30 more years. It fell two years later.
Sometimes clear, simple language can be right. And I believe in the case -- in this case, some of us have been saying for a very long time this is a much harder problem than we have been willing to talk about. I said as early as December of 2003, when there was a Republican administration, that we had gone off the cliff in Iraq, that we were trying to do things that we couldn't accomplish and that we were faced with enormous problems.