Newt Gingrich, Former House Speaker

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, April 8, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: President Bush's political future and our economic recovery all pretty much hanging on a victory in Iraq, and a sweeping one at that. Joining me now to talk about it, Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and a Fox News contributor.

Newt, thank you for being here. I want to pick up on a point I raised with Mr. Churchill. And that is this friendship that has developed between Tony Blair and the president, again, from two different ends of the political spectrum. Are you surprised to see it?

NEWT GINGRICH, FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER & FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I'm not surprised on a couple of grounds. First of all, Tony Blair really has been a modernizing, almost -- Paul Johnson called him "Margaret Thatcher's adopted son." He has been a much more centrist, reform-oriented, practical leader than being Labour Party prime minister would imply. Second, I think Tony Blair, as much as President Bush, was deeply, deeply affected by September 11 and the bombing of the New York Trade Center, and the realization that the world was unacceptably dangerous. And I think that is the big difference between the French viewpoint and the British-American viewpoint. We saw Saddam Hussein as a threat. President Chirac saw Saddam Hussein as a customer. He had been a customer for 30 years since 1973, when President Chirac sold him nuclear reactors. So there is a huge difference. Tony Blair understands the world is dangerous and that we have to do something to protect ourselves against those dangers. That makes him different than the French and the Germans.

CAVUTO: Would you give the French and Germans a role in the rebuilding and reconstituting of Iraq?

GINGRICH: No. I would be glad to have them contribute on a humanitarian basis. I would be glad have them participate in economic activities that did not involve decisions. But I think for the United States and Great Britain, to go back into the Security Council where the French have the artificial advantage of a veto, for us to pretend that those who tried to prop up and defend Saddam Hussein, now had a right to help shape Iraq's future, I think would be an enormous mistake, and would frankly throw away much of the military victory into a diplomatic defeat.

CAVUTO: So can we just risk realigning Europe, we don't need the French, we don't need the Germans, we maybe go with that or no?

GINGRICH: No. I don't think - no, it is not a question of needing or not needing. I think we should cooperate when they want to be cooperative. And we should not cooperate when they don't want to be cooperative.

CAVUTO: Well, they say we are setting a litmus test, as long as you're cooperative with the U.S., fine. If you're not, then we say "screw you," and that is not fair. What do you say?

GINGRICH: No, no, no. We don't say "screw you," we simply say, we would be glad to find other things to cooperate on, but having had our young men, British and American young men and women, risk their lives, having taken all the risks, having carried on despite the best efforts of the French to stop us, it is a bit much to now be lectured by those who would have sustained Saddam on their right to do anything after this victory. And I think it is a big mistake psychologically for us to give into that.

CAVUTO: All right, Newt, another one who is not invited at a French restaurant.


CAVUTO: Newt Gingrich, good seeing you again. Thank you very much.

GINGRICH: Good to see you.

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