• With: Charles Krauthammer

    This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 27, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


    SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY: When the executive branch tries to assume the legislative powers, that's a form of tyranny.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president can't -- he's not going to tell the American people that he's going to wait for Congress.

    JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He's an American citizen, and it stands to reason that he might be frustrated with Congress, since most American citizens are.

    BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're not going to wait. I've got a pen and I've got a phone, and that's all I need.

    RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: Obama's definition of unity is eliminating opposition, not agreeing with them and peacefully co-existing with them. It's eliminating them.

    CARNEY: He's going to use his pen and his phone.

    BRIT HUME, FOX CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: There's not a lot he can do. That's why you hear him talking about pens and telephones, because he can't get anything through Congress.

    CARNEY: The president should absolutely use the powers available to him and the unique authority that the office provides.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Use the American presidency in two areas, his pen, which is the executive orders, also the phone. What he can do is he can pick up the phone, bring together American citizens.

    PAUL: He says, oh, well, it's hard to get Congress to do anything. Yeah, welcome to the real world.


    VAN SUSTEREN: Change, well, not exactly change. It's another big broken promise from President Obama. The president promising to change Washington when he moved into the White House, but after failing at that, the president is now trying to bypass the legislative branch of government and just sign executive orders to get what he wants. Is that the kind of change President Obama campaigned on?

    Charles Krauthammer joins us. Nice to see you, Charles.

    Charles, what's this business about he's going to change Washington and all this gridlock business?

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR & AUTHOR: He says he's going to eliminate Article I of the Constitution that says that legislation comes from Congress. This is how they do it in Venezuela, Cuba, and other places. He waives the pen, he shows it on Twitter and he says, "I will rule from the pen."

    What makes it sort of pathetic is that it sounds like a tough threat and it is unconstitutional. It's not how you ought to be the President of the United States. But in the end, there's very little he can do.

    What's interesting is he said the same thing in 2011. This was a speech he gave in Nevada. It was announced by the White House as the "we can't wait" tour. And it was one statement after another, I'm not going to wait for Congress to act, I will do X, Y and Z. In the end, it didn't work, because in the end, the only things a president can do with a pen, executive orders, are fairly limited. With one exception, that's EPA, and using the EPA to shut down entire industries. That's power.

    VAN SUSTEREN: A couple of things from this memo that's gotten out. "The Washington Post" reported on it. When he said he's not going to go to Congress, but he's going to go and use his pen. That, to me, when you campaign on "I'm going to change Washington," that means I give up. That's not what you expect a leader to do. You expect a leader to carry out those promises. That's the first thing. The second thing is that so many Democrats are making cracks at Governor Christie for being a bully. Now, we have a bully who says he's going to use his pen and bypass Congress. It's interesting, on the one hand, they hate the attitude Governor Christie has when he says he going to do things, but when the president does it, it's OK.

    KRAUTHAMMER: The reason he gave up was because he failed. He was unable to do what he thought he could do. And he couldn't even do what other presidents have done, which he wanted to transcend and to make, do a more efficient, harmonious, no red state, no blue states America. He didn't do any of that. But he can't even do what normal presidents have done, what Clinton did, what Reagan did, which is to work with the other side.

    VAN SUSTEREN: I think Clinton actually liked members of Congress, even the ones he didn't agree with.

    KRAUTHAMMER: He liked politics.

    VAN SUSTEREN: He liked politics.


    VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think that President Obama wants to spend any time with any politician of any party. He played golf with John Boehner, twice maybe.

    KRAUTHAMMER: You get the impression he chose the wrong field.


    VAN SUSTEREN: Or he wanted to run to the White House so he wouldn't have to be around colleagues.

    KRAUTHAMMER: But he doesn't like what the presidency requires, which is, A, some understanding and some respect for the other side. Reagan and Tip O'Neill worked out the most important piece of economic legislation, tax reform, and they were polar opposites ideologically. Obama has tax reform in his reach. There are Republicans who want to do -- it would change the economy. It would be a tremendous help to economic expansion and fairness because it would take away the loophole that the rich has. He hasn't touched it in five years.

    VAN SUSTEREN: And it would be so fun to change the tax code to make it fair and get rid of the loopholes, for the extra special.

    Anyway, I'm taking the last word on that, Charles.

    KRAUTHAMMER: You got it.