This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," September 21, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Speaker Newt Gingrich is focusing on his American Solutions workshops which will take him around the country. And after that he has an important decision to make—will he announce he wants the White House?
Former Speaker of the House and Author of "Pearl Harbor," Newt Gingrich joins us in Mackinaw Island, Michigan. Good evening Mr. Speaker, and you are my — at my favorite — all time favorite place, Mackinaw Island, Michigan. But tell the viewers what it's like there, just to humor me, and then tell them why you're there.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Well. It is — Listen. We are here for the Republican State Convention. It is a remarkable place. The Grand Hotel, as you know Greta, is one of the great historic sites. It's in "1,001 Places to go Before You Die." It is absolutely a remarkable, classic place to be.
The island itself has no automobiles. When you get off the boat, you either walk or you ride with a horse and carriage. It is one of the most relaxing, remarkable places in America. And it's always a thrill to me to get a chance to come back up to Mackinaw and to be here.
It's a little bit windy here tonight, but gorgeous. It is just perfect weather.
And the Republicans are in a very interesting situation. Michigan has the worst unemployment in the country. The state government has done a terrible job with jobs and is now locked in a crisis where the Democrats have tried unsuccessfully for seven straight days to have a massive tax increase to solve their budget deficit, and, as of tonight, do not have the votes to do anything.
So it is a very interesting time to be here. All the Republican presidential candidates are going to come through here today and tomorrow. And it's kind of fun to be here and to watch all the action.
VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, we should also add, you missed the one thing, the fudge on the island, which is always a real grabber as well, the fudge. Anyway, stay away from that.
GINGRICH: (INAUDIBLE) Calista just was telling me a little while ago — her mother loves chocolate fudge, and I don't know anyplace in the world where you can get better fudge than Mackinaw. So when we leave tomorrow on that boat, because you have to get here by boat, we'll have some fudge with us on the way back.
We will bring you some as a — just a kind of reminder of the Midwest.
VAN SUSTEREN: Good, I will look forward to it and expect it.
All right, now, in terms of the Republican candidates that are going to come through there, do you expect former Senator Thompson to come through? Did you say he did something goofy? Because I teased that you did say that.
GINGRICH: No. I didn't talk specifically about Senator Thompson, I said, in general, when you have candidates who decide to announce on Leno or Letterman, that there is something goofy about a process where you are trying to run for the most powerful governmental job in the world, you've got to deal with energy, the environment, the border and national security, the economy, health care, education, and you end up doing it on a comedy show?
I mean, there is something fundamentally out of whack about our whole process of choosing candidates when instead of having a serious conversation — I was on C-Span this morning and one of the people there said to me that if you ever do run come talk to us, you can get an hour.
And that would be a totally different tone to actually have a campaign that began with a serious speech in a serious way trying to outline the nation's challenges.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, let me take you through a time warp from an island which has horses and bicycles to a high tech solutions workshop — so that's your tip-off. Tell me what is the Solutions Workshop and why is it sort of high tech and different from horses and buggies and bicycles.
GINGRICH: Well, we are doing three things. First of all, the highest tech thing we're doing is we're going to be on "Second Life", which is an alternative universe on the internet, we are going to be on Second Life on the Thursday, the 27th of September, having a Capitol Steps event — all of this is in a virtual reality — as an example of the future and what is possible with modern science and technology.
Then, at 7:00 Thursday night, we are going to have a workshop at the galleria in Cobb County, Georgia, where we are going to be launching with Sean Hannity and others a really exciting time, Democratic Governor Romer, former Governor of Colorado, who is also the head of the Los Angeles school system who is going to be there on behalf of Ed-08.
There's going to be a bipartisan effort to talk about new solutions and new approaches. And on Saturday we are going to be at West Georgia University in Carlton, Georgia with a whole range of workshops.
And the idea behind all this, Greta, is that America needs very large change, that we need to do it together, that we need to get over this red verses blue partisanship and start finding red, white, and blue solutions, and that there are an awful lot of things that we can do to solve the problems in America if we'll work together and if we'll talk together.
It is going to be available on dish satellite, it is going to be available on Direct TV, and it is going to be available on the Internet live as the web cast that anybody in America, Democrat, Republican, Independent can take up without having to pay anything.
VAN SUSTEREN: The web cast, do you have an address for us, or do we have to put it on gretawire.com or someplace—where can I put this for somebody?
GINGRICH: We would love for you to have it on gretawire.com. The address is Americansloutions.com. Anybody who goes to Americansolutions.com can see how they personally can have this entire web cast.
Over 2,000 sites have signed up to actually be workshops around the country. And then it's available, as I said, on television and on your home computer.
VAN SUSTEREN: So let me get this straight — let me get this straight. Is it that you're looking and trying to identify certain problems in the country — I'll pick one, let's say healthcare, or something — and then the whole point of the workshop is to see what kind solutions we can collectively come up with? Is that sort of the drift of this project?
GINGRICH: Right, exactly. When you go out and you talk to the American people, and you get away from the elites, and you get away the consultants, and you get away from politics and Washington, you find out, for example, 85 percent of the American people believe English ought to be the official language of government. That's a pretty straightforward number.
You find out that 93 percent of the American people believe that they ought to have the right to know price and quality information on health care before they make a decision about their own health.
And you go through a whole series of these things, and it turns out that most Americans are actually quite prepared to come together to find real solutions. And what we are doing, with a wide range of people who are going to be talking with us — Elaine Kamarck, who you know, who was Al Gore's Director for Reinventing Government, is going to be doing a workshop onhow to get rid of bureaucracy.
Dennis Smith of New York University, who is the leading student of what Mayor Giuliani did to fight crime in New York, is going to do a workshop on evidence-based government.
There are going to be a lot of different things there that are aimed not just at the presidency or the Congress, but at 513,000 elected officials across the country from school board to county commission to city council to state legislature to Washington D.C.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ok, now. I hate to raise a goofy idea with you — or goofy thought— but I did say in all the teases, because the viewers are writing in all the time wanting to know, so in order to make sure they stuck around for this, I said that I would ask you about whether or not you intend to run for president.
I do not want to put you in a goofy position, but what is the latest on that?
GINGRICH: Well. First of all, this is not a late night comedy show—
VAN SUSTEREN: At least we hope.
GINGRICH: This is an arena where you talk about ideas, so I'm happy to—although occasionally I do you blog, it gets a little bit like a comedy show.
But, in all seriousness, on the Monday after the workshops, I have said all along I will not think about anything except American Solutions workshops until after they are done on Saturday the 29.
On Monday — the following Monday, my close friend and adviser Randy Evans will hold a press briefing, and he will spend the next three weeks looking to see can you can find enough resources to make a serious race?
Governor Romney, who is a very smart businessman, has done a very good job, has earned more than enough resources that he could write a $100 million check personally if he wanted to.
So you have to have at least — you do not have to match him. But you have to have enough resources to be serious if you are going to do this. If we find we can — that we can put together enough resources, then, frankly, Calista and I will face a very big decision, and I have a hunch I will be back on this show and talk to you about it if that's where we end up.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, I look forward to hearing that decision.
Mr. Speaker, do enjoy Mackinaw Island, everybody does. I look forward to the fudge. Good luck with your solutions day, and we will talk to you soon. Thank you, sir.
GINGRICH: Thank you, have a great evening.
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