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This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 21, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: President Obama on a four-state tour touting his green energy policy, but is the president actually sabotaging his own energy goals?
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich joins us from Louisiana. Good evening, Mr. Speaker. And you've been very harsh on the president. He's out there traveling around four states, telling everyone that he's doing a great job with this green energy.
NEWT GINGRICH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'm still excited by having Joe Theismann join us. As you know, I also own one share of Green Bay stock, as does my son-in-law and my daughter. So this is...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, let me just...
GINGRICH: ... very exciting to have Joe...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... you right there...
GINGRICH: ... become part of the team.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me just tell you that my next guest also has a share. But we'll get to that in a second. Wait until you hear who also has a share of this.
VAN SUSTEREN: But go ahead. We all have shares tonight! We're all owners! We have our meeting tonight.
GINGRICH: Listen, let me say first of all, the news from France that you started the show with should be a reminder in dealing with radical Islamists that we need an American energy policy so we become independent of the Middle East, so we can truly confront the Saudis and others who have been the largest funders of al Qaeda and this kind of terrorism.
And I think it's just a reminder that for national security reasons, we need an American energy policy. And it's a grim reminder of how dangerous these radical Islamists are.
Now, the president's first day, by the way, I think is truly weird. You know, he went to Nevada, to a site in which five people -- five! -- have full-time employment for an average cost of $10,800,000 a job. It's a solar power site. It's an absurdity economically. It has nothing to do with the price of gasoline, which is the number one concern of the American people.
And it illustrates why electricity is going up in most American states at a dramatic rate, because Obama's policies both raise the cost of electricity and raise the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel.
He doesn't have a green energy policy, he has a greenback energy policy. He keeps shoveling out greenbacks to failing ideas and propping them up with our tax money and with our children's money.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Mr. Speaker, I'm a big fan of renewable energies. I really want us to find a very successful path with renewable energies where it really works, it's really cheap for American people and that we become less dependent on foreign oil, maybe even completely independent of it.
But what I don't understand -- I mean, this whole effort by him on Solyndra and this -- and this today, where he went where there are only five jobs after they got $50 million, to me, that torpedoes the environmental movement. I mean, that sets them back because it gives all the Republicans all -- you know, a lot of ammunition against something -- you know, against the environmental movement. And that's where I think is the message that a lot of people are missing.
GINGRICH: Well, look, let me draw a distinction. I taught environmental studies. I am for green energy. But I want to draw a distinction between green energy and greenback energy.
Green energy has to ultimately be commercially competitive. The president recently said drilling wasn't the answer for gasoline. He proposed algae. My newsletter today -- and I do an electronic newsletter every Wednesday. My newsletter today is on algae. We went out and talked to the experts. They think it's at least 10 years away, and they think the equivalent cost is between $140 and $800 a barrel.
Now, that's not economically competitive. And you've got -- the goal has to be what you said, which is how can you get to a truly green energy instead of a greenback energy? There's no indication that Barack Obama has a clue about economics and every indication that he is raising the cost of oil and gas for the American people, raising the cost of electricity, deepening the recession and hurting the pocketbook of every American family.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there's nothing to inspire people to go in that direction like success, and there's nothing like blowing $550 million on something so stupid as Solyndra, which was obviously bad in the beginning, to give lots of ammunition to those who want -- who do not want it.
But let me turn to another question. This Etch-a-Sketch issue today - - is it fair to go -- I mean, it's been brutal. I saw you standing with the Etch-a-Sketch. I saw Senator Santorum. It wasn't -- it wasn't Governor Romney who made the remark, it was one of his senior advisers or not -- I don't know if he was a senior adviser.
But you guys have been having a field day with him. Is that fair?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, it's his communications director, so he's pretty high up in the organization. Second, the reason the Etch-a-Sketch comment is so powerful is it reminds everybody of Romney's initial problem.
He had been a fairly liberal governor of Massachusetts. He invented "Romneycare." His said at the singing ceremony his senior collaborator was Teddy Kennedy. He wrote Planned Parenthood into "Obama care" by name - - I mean, into "Romneycare" by name.
He raised taxes. He was pro-gun control as governor. He was basically a pro-choice as governor in terms of his functions. And then he switched and he all of a sudden said, Oh, you know, I'm running for president, none of the things I did as governor are what I'll do now. And he went on to so far (INAUDIBLE) said he had been a, quote, "severely conservative" governor, which was an absurdity.
Now what you get one of his senior advisers reminding everybody that Romney could turn on a dime. The day after he gets the nomination, he could say, You know, I got to go to the center. I got to win the election. So let me sell out every conservative principle I promised.
And now he tells us he won't do it. Maybe he won't do it. But I think the reason it was so powerful was that the idea of sort of a mini-sketch fits his past record made you think that maybe there's something there and that maybe they've already been talking in the senior staff about how they'll jettison the conservative stuff in order to run in the general election.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, headline tonight -- I was looking through, as I got ready for tonight's interview, National Journal says -- an actually pretty big headline says, Gingrich ignores Obama Muslim comment.
You were asked a question today by a Louisiana voter about President Obama, and the person said that -- you know, said -- made some crack about President Obama being a Muslim. Number one is, I take it you don't think that President Obama's a Muslim. And number two, why didn't you correct him?
GINGRICH: You know, that is such total baloney. I was asked by a reporter immediately afterwards. I said of course I accept that he's a Christian. The guy didn't ask me a question. The guy got up and stated his opinion. I don't have an obligation to go around and correct every single voter about every single topic. I also didn't agree with him.
For National Journal to turn that into some big deal is just stupid on their part. The fact is, let's accept that he's a Christian. He's a Christian whose policies are to apologize to Muslim extremists while they're killing Americans at the same time that he's waging war against the Catholic church and against every right-to-life institution in this country.
I just went today to Louisiana College, which is a Baptist college, which is very right-to-life. The president said publicly they will close the university before they will give in to "Obamacare" because they're not going to provide abortifications to their students or their employees.
Now, you tell me. Let's accept he's a Christian in his own light. He went to a Christian church for over 20 years. Why is it he's more sensitive to radical Islamists who are killing young Americans than he is to the Catholic church, to Baptists, to fundamentalists, to people who are pro-abortion -- I mean, who are pro -- who are pro-life?
I mean, the fact is, this is a very strange presidency. And he carries this out in other ways. Why does he want to pump oil in Saudi Arabia, which he called for last week, and he's against pumping oil in Louisiana?
You have to wonder, why does he want the jobs in Saudi Arabia and not the jobs in Louisiana? I just think it's a strange presidency. And you don't have to attack his -- whatever his personal religious beliefs are to attack his behavior.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I'm not going to answer all those questions. There are so many of them, to begin with! I'll leave that -- I'll leave that for you and for another day. Speaker, thank you, sir.
GINGRICH: Good to be with you.