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Congressman: Obama Administration 'Just Doesn't Get It'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 10, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Republican congressman Mike Pence says this administration just doesn't get it. Ouch! Congressman Pence just went to a closed-door meeting with President Obama at the White House. On the table, jobs and the economy. Leaders from both parties were at the meeting. What happened?

Congressman Pence is House Republican conference chairman. He joins us. Congressman, so I understand...

REP. MIKE PENCE, R - IN.: Hi, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... you got a little testy -- good evening -- got a little testy at the White House. What happened?

PENCE: Well, it was a memorable meeting. The president, after giving a speech on the economy and jobs at, I think, the Brookings Institution, invited leaders of the House and Senate in both parties to come over. And I think it was scheduled to be about an hour-long session, and to the president's credit, we went the better part of two hours.

And you know, we heard out the president on some of his ideas, not all of which we agreed with, some which were intriguing. He was talking about zeroing out capital gains for a year and some tax credits for investments that could be helpful.

But what -- you know, what the Republican leader, John Boehner, what Eric Cantor, what I and David Camp said over and over again in the meeting is, you know, Mr. President, you know, the American people are tired of runaway federal spending, borrowing and debt and bailouts and takeovers. And we said, Mr. President, you couldn't do more to get this economy going than pulling back on your plans for national energy tax you're going to advocate in Copenhagen or abandoning your plan for a government takeover, or for heaven's sakes, you know, vetoing this enormous spending bill that Steve Moore was just talking about today.

And you know, by the -- by late in the meeting, it was pretty clear the president was getting a little bit tired of our repetitive focus on fiscal discipline and tax relief for working Americans.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what at least has leaked out of there is that -- is that we're hearing (INAUDIBLE) the president told Republicans to stop trying to frighten the American people. Did the president say that, or is that incorrect?

PENCE: I think that's incorrect. The way I remember it, Greta, was my friend, Dave Camp, who's a great -- great congressman from Michigan, was talking to the president about runaway federal spending and big government. And the president interrupted him, not unkindly, but he interrupted him and said -- he said, you know, You guys got to stop scaring people, I guess referring to us as House Republicans. He said, You guys got to stop scaring people. He said, People wouldn't be as worried about the deficits and debt and all this big government if you all weren't out there talking it down, or something to that effect.

And I -- you know, I got to be honest with you, it was -- it was a remarkable moment because, you know, as we said afterwards, you know, it isn't -- it isn't the president's critics or House Republicans that are scaring the American people, it's a mountain range of debt that we're piling on our children and grandchildren. It's a government takeover of health care. It's a national energy tax.

You know, I really do believe that the policies of this administration are what are really causing great anxiety among the American people, and we tried to make that clear to the president but -- I want to be honest with you, Greta. You know, it wasn't -- you know, it was a cordial, if -- and respectful, if occasionally firm and frank, meeting. And you know, as they say in NASCAR, revving (ph) is racing. It was -- I was glad we had the conversation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that sounds like it went well, and perhaps the term that I used, "spat," overstated it, so it's good that both sides are talking. Congressman, always nice to see you, sir.

PENCE: Yes. Thank you, Greta.

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