This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 8, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: But first, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, nice to see you, sir.
NEWT GINGRICH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's good to see you.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I want to talk to you about $2.50 a gallon, plus your new ad. Do you -- is there any question in your mind that President Obama would like to see the gas prices come down? Is there any question in your mind that he wants that?
GINGRICH: Only for the purpose of reelection. I think that he is a committed liberal. I think, like his secretary of energy, he would like to see European-level gas prices of $9 or $10 a gallon. He was very clear on -- about coal, that he would like to bankrupt anybody who built a new coal utility.
And I think you have to ask yourself why did he appoint Chu, who, by the way, admitted today he doesn't have a car. So you have a secretary of energy who doesn't -- I describe him as the secretary of anti-energy, who said publicly last week at the -- in the U.S. House he was not going to try to lower the price of gasoline.
That wasn't his job. His job was to get us off of gasoline into other kinds of propulsion. He announced -- admitted today he doesn't have a car. I assume the president appointed him knowing who he was and knowing what he's doing.
And this is the president's policy. The president has reduced drilling on federal land by 11 percent for oil. He's reduced it by 27 percent for natural gas. The Obama administration is trying to figure out a way to make it difficult to use the new drilling techniques for natural gas. This is an anti-American energy administration.
VAN SUSTEREN: But what do you -- but I mean, I guess it seems farfetched to me to think that any president seeking reelection would want to have high gas prices. So it's, like...
GINGRICH: No, he'd like them to come...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... are you assigning a bad...
GINGRICH: He'd like them to come down -- look, he wants them to go down until December 1st, and then he'd like them to go to the European levels. I mean, it's pretty clear his goal in life -- and he actually had conversations like this on the road last year, where people would say they have -- one guy said to him, I have a really big family, and he said, Well, you better buy a hybrid SUV, without any regard to what it costs, not really referring to anything else.
He -- Obama has a very clear model, which is very, very long gas mileage, very small use of petroleum, limited drilling in the United States and very high prices to force people into electric cars and into other methods of propulsion.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I take it you'd agree that -- I mean, if there were a program where we could get lots of gas mileage, that would be a good thing. If we could wean ourselves off of, you know, foreign oil, that would be a good thing.
If there was some alternative to oil, that's also a good thing, I mean, to run cars -- I mean, I take it that those ideas are not ideas that you think are bad, but that are just simply not workable right now? Is that your thinking?
GINGRICH: No, I've -- look, first of all, I'm for an American drilling program that eliminates all the foreign oil, so that we have an energy independence. Second, I'm perfectly happy to have new technologies that extend things. I'm happy to see electric cars when they're economically feasible.
I support biofuels. I support natural gas as an alternative. I believe in flex-fuel vehicles. But I also believe, as a practical matter, that you have an amazing number of cars and trucks on the road that use gasoline or diesel, that the price is too high.
I have a $2.50 goal as a maximum price. I think -- and if people go to Newt.org, they'll see a 30-minute speech where we outline step by step how to do it.
I think it is doable. Remember, it was only $1.89 when he was sworn in. It was $1.13 when I was speaker. I mean, we're not talking about some, you know, fanciful price that is a fantasy. We're talking about a question about policy.
His policy is anti-American development of energy. My policy would be very pro-American development of energy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Part of the problem with the price of gas going up, not just at the pump and the pain of people spending more, is that it is going to be a drag on the economy long term...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... whether it's food, moving food from one place to another or any sort of transportation, anything. What do you sort of see as the path, come, let's say, August or September, if the price stays where it is, it continues to go up? What's the economy going to look like?
GINGRICH: Look, this is a triple nightmare for the president. First, if we get into $5, $6 a gallon gasoline, the direct consequence in pain and people being angry will become very anti-Obama. Second, as you point out, when you start to get to that price level, it affects every independent trucker. It affects every delivery.
I just talked to somebody from McDonald's here in Mississippi, who said that he's lost about 2 percent of his gross revenue to pay for higher transportation just to get the products delivered to his franchise. That's a significant amount of money at a low-margin business. And so every grocery store is going to have pressure.
Everything that's delivered by truck is going to be more expensive. Everything that's made out of plastic is going to be more expensive.
There's an additional part, though. There's a real risk of some kind of problem in the Middle East, whether it is the Straits of Hormuz or it's something else. That could send oil prices skyrocketing, and that would have a catastrophic effect worldwide.
So the president actually now is faced with a series of challenges that are the natural result of his policies. Remember, this is a president who is so anti-American energy that when he was a senator in 2007, he introduced the bill to wipe out all of the information about the U.S. Geological Survey inventory of oil.
I mean, it was truly a remarkable step to say, Let's not even know what our resources are.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, there's so much has an impact on the price of oil, and you just noted some. It's even international. How does -- how does a president -- what could you do differently if you have a divided Congress, because let's take the international question, the people on both sides of the aisle, even within different parties, on what to do about Iran, which may -- which has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. So you've got that problem with trying to deal with Congress there.
You've got a problem with people even on decisions on whether to drill, where to drill. So you've got a divided Congress. They're not easy to work with. So what would be -- what could you do differently about working with a divided Congress, so even your agenda could be passed?
GINGRICH: Well, the president keeps saying that there are no silver bullets, but he does have a presidential pen. He could right now approve the Keystone XL pipeline. That would be 700,000 barrels a day of Canadian oil going to Houston.
He could right now authorize Louisiana and Texas development offshore. That's 400,000 barrels a day. He could right now authorize several areas of Alaska that do not require congressional action. That's about 1,200,000 barrels a day.
So with three signatures, the president could increase the availability of oil in the United States to about 2,300,000 barrels a day, or about 800 million barrels a year. That would be a tremendous amount of money kept here at home, more jobs here in the United States, and a significant margin for error in terms of what happens in the Middle East.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, there's been a call from a super PAC, Senator Rick Santorum, for you to leave the race. Today you sent out a fundraising letter, and it mentions Senator Santorum all over it, nothing about Governor Romney. What -- you know, what's your response to the super PAC asking you to get out? And why are you only focused on Santorum in your fundraising letter?
GINGRICH: Well, you'd have to ask the folks who run the campaign, either RCM under Michael Kroll about the letter. I -- you know, that -- my view is that we have a real race. It's a -- basically, a three-way race with Ron Paul as a fourth candidate who's getting his percentage.