This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 14, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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ALLEN WEST, FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: ... that there's nothing on this green earth that a liberal progressive fears more than a black American who wants a better life and a smaller government!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former congressman Allen West firing up the conservative crowd on this opening day of CPAC. Congressman West joins us. Nice to see you, sir.
WEST: It's always great to be with you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, so what do you mean, "There's nothing on this green earth a liberal progressive fears more than a black American who wants a better life and a smaller government"?
WEST: Because when you look at black Americans that are conservative, look at how they have been viciously attacked -- Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Michael Steele, myself, Tim Scott, Mia Love -- any time you see people stand up and they swim against the current, especially as a minority conservative, but definitely a black conservative, the other side comes at them viciously.
You know, when -- during our election campaign, we had a group that came down from San Francisco, this CREDO PAC, and they were calling around to homes and houses talking about, you know, I beat my wife and things of this nature. That's fear.
They don't want to talk about the issues. They don't want to talk about an African-American conservative that has served 22 years in the military that understands fiscal policies and responsibility, that understands a commitment to this country and individual sovereignty and freedom. That's not what they want to have.
VAN SUSTEREN: What kind of reception do you get in a big urban city, in the inner city, like -- like, if you went to Detroit?
WEST: I think the receptions that I get -- because I've gone back to my own neighborhood back in Atlanta -- is very well because that's where I came from. It would be different if I did not have that background experience.
Look, Greta, my parents were born in 1920 and 1931 in south Alabama and south Georgia. Growing up, they were Democrats. They voted for John Lewis. And I told him that when I got up there on Capitol Hill. But they raised me with conservative principles of faith and family and God and education.
You look at what's going on in Washington, D.C. One of the first things President Obama did in January of 2009, he canceled the school voucher program for these kids in Washington, D.C. That takes away their opportunity. So that you know, a kid like me that growing up in an inner city, you just cut them off at the kneecaps. You think about Washington, D.C., now, 25 percent is on food stamps. That's not what we want to have.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's a predominately Democratic voting population.
WEST: I think the problem is that we have not taken that message into those communities. We have not taken the message into places like Detroit, into places like Chicago, into my own neighborhood there in Atlanta, that says, you know, there's a different way.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why don't they? Because I mean -- I mean, frankly, I didn't even see -- I didn't see the Democrats going into those neighborhoods, either, this past election. They didn't...
WEST: Well, the Democrats don't have to.
VAN SUSTEREN: They -- they -- well, no, but -- that's right, they don't have to, but -- but...
WEST: The community is taken for granted and...
VAN SUSTEREN: That's -- I think that's troubling. I think that's very troubling.
WEST: It is very troubling because, Greta, if you have money and you want to invest your money out there in mutual funds, stocks or whatever, do you put all your money in one mutual fund or one stock? You diversify your investments. So when you have a community that has not diversified its political investments, guess what? They become irrelevant to one party and they become taken for granted...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you -- I mean...
WEST: ... to another.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it's so forgotten. And I studied economics, and it -- you've got -- everyone's got to do well in order for the economy to survive. If we don't help those who are really not fortunate to get on their own feet and be successful, that class is going to grow larger and that entitlement class is going to grow larger. And it really is -- it's imperative from a humanitarian good heart moral perspective to do it, and from even a self-interest perspective to have them thriving. And yet I don't see Republicans or Democrats going to those communities and doing...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... and paying any attention to them and their problems!
WEST: You know, and -- and it was, you know, Reagan's economic adviser, Art Laffer, and former congressman Jack Kemp...
VAN SUSTEREN: Jack Kemp did the empowerment zones.
WEST: That's right, the Urban Economic Empowerment Zones. And no one has gone back and revisited that because if you don't have that small business growth back in the urban communities, if you don't have good quality education and opportunities, you're going to see the crime, you're going to see the gangs, you're going to see the drugs and all these things tearing apart the communities.
You're going to see this third and fourth generation welfare. You're going to see young ladies continuing to have children out of wedlock because government says they'll give them a check for it.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, I hope -- I hope that the Republicans and the Democrats pay more attention to those communities in the next go- round. But let me turn you now -- turn to a question of what's going on in North Korea. There apparently is a report that we're up our security because North Korea is rattling -- they said they're going to attack us.
WEST: Sure. Well, one of the things you have to look at, the military teaches you, is that you have to consider the enemy's most dangerous course of action, not his most likely course of action. And it was about 30 years ago that Ronald Reagan on the 8th of March, 1983, gave his "evil empire" speech. And if you back and you listen to that "evil empire" speech, when you talk about nuclear disarmament and reducing our nuclear arsenal, you know, we got parallels to where we are today.
The world is more Machiavellian, if you've ever read the book "The Prince," where people are out there looking for the opportunities and gaps and weakness, and that's what we showed. We should have continued to have a defense shield. We should have continued to show peace through strength, which is what Ronald Reagan promoted in that speech back 30 years ago as a deterrent.
But right now, we see ourselves trying to play catch-up to the tune of some, I believe, about $240 million, $250 million to get those first response deterrent factors back up to Fort Greely, Alaska, back out on the West Coast.
VAN SUSTEREN: At a time when we don't have much money.
WEST: At a time we're going to have to borrow that money from China, who are friends to North Korea, so we can defend ourselves against North Korea. That is schizophrenic foreign policy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, our policy -- our foreign policy, for whatever reason, this administration and the last one, has not successfully convinced North Korea to set down its nuclear weapons program.