BOEHNER: Well, the Appropriations Committee is responsible for funding our government. And -- and over the years, there's been a lot of excesses coming out of that committee. But I believe that -- that if we listen to the will of the American people, we're going to see less spending out of the Appropriations Committee.
BAIER: But the guys in line to be chairmen, they're big fans of earmarks.
BOEHNER: There's going to be an earmark moratorium, it's pretty clear.
BAIER: Why not an outright ban?
BOEHNER: Only because some things that people call earmarks here wouldn't -- wouldn't classify as an earmark to the American people. I've made it pretty clear, this process is going to stop. As you're well aware, I've been here 20 years. I've never asked for an earmark. And I'm never going to ask for one. I told my constituents in 1990 when they elected me that if they thought my job was to come to Washington and rob the public treasury on their behalf, they were voting for the wrong guy.
I said it. I meant it. And I've been committed to reforming this process from the day I got here. And over the last five years, I've spent countless hours trying to make sure that we spend the American people's money wisely.
BAIER: You were one of Newt Gingrich -- his top lieutenants. You've been here for 20 years, as you said.
What were the mistakes of the last GOP majority and specifically, what would you do differently than them?
BOEHNER: Well, I think the first thing is, is that listening to the people. It's -- I think it's very important that today we have more Americans engaged in the political process than at any time in my lifetime. And, as a result, we have to keep them engaged. I think the
-- the key to our success in the coming two years will be working with the American people, listening to them and having them stay engaged so that they can put pressure on their members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, to do the right thing for the country.
BAIER: Health care -- the president says he's willing to tweak the health care law. You say you're committed to repealing it. There's a big distance between tweaking and repealing.
BOEHNER: Oh, that's a very big difference.
BAIER: You're still committed to repealing it?
BOEHNER: This health care bill will ruin the best health care system in the world and it will bankrupt our country.
BAIER: So you'll take a vote on...
BOEHNER: I am convinced...
BAIER: -- repealing it?
BOEHNER: We are going to repeal Obama Care and replace it with common sense reforms that will bring down the costs of health insurance.
BAIER: So what do you say to critics who say this vote is really a charade, knowing that a Democratic Senate will either stop it or the president will veto it and that it's taking time and you could be dealing with something else?
Why not try to compromise and -- and at least affect it now, the health care law, that you can?
BOEHNER: First and foremost, this is about the greatest health care system in the world. And secondly, let's not forget, this is also about jobs. And if you look at all of the requirements on employers, you can understand why they're not hiring new employees, because we've raised the cost of employment.
Beyond repealing Obama Care, we're going to do everything we can to stop this bill from being implemented, to make sure it never happens. And, frankly, if we're successful, this will become the number one issue in the presidential election in 2012.
BAIER: How -- how much time are you going to spend on this?
BOEHNER: As much...
BAIER: We've spent...
BOEHNER: -- as much as it takes.
BAIER: You criticized the president for spending too much time on health care. If you spend a lot of time trying to repeal it when it's not a reality in a Democratic Senate or in a presidential veto, won't you get criticized for that?
BOEHNER: Well, there's a lot of tricks up our sleeves in terms of how we can dent this, kick it, slow it down to make sure it never happens.
And trust me, I'm going to make sure this health care bill never ever, ever is implemented.
BAIER: So are you for preventing insurance companies from denying someone insurance based on pre-existing conditions?
BOEHNER: No. And there are common sense reforms that we can agree on that will bring down the cost of health insurance.
BAIER: Are you going to start over?
BOEHNER: Start over -- that's where we were a year ago, that's where we were six months ago. We've not changed our position on this at all. We told the president down at the Blair House during the seven hour Obama infomercial that we ought to stop and start over. And we laid out the eight or nine common sense ideas we had that would bring down the costs of health insurance.
BAIER: On Afghanistan, most of the Blue Dog Democrats have now been defeated. So you are the only group of -- the Republicans will be the ones who support President Obama.
Will you support President Obama in his -- the way he's prosecuting the war in Afghanistan?
BOEHNER: When the president outlined his plan for Afghanistan, I came out and supported it. I continue to support it. Afghanistan is important for the future of our country and it's important for the current security of our country. And I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that we have success in Afghanistan.
BAIER: The last thing, quickly, the president has gotten a lot of criticism for playing a lot of golf.
Do you want to defend him on that?
BOEHNER: He's played a lot more golf than I have this year.
BAIER: Is there a golf summit in the -- the works?