OTR Interviews

Hatch: Obama Not Leading as a President Should

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 3, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: OK, did they create a really bad piece of legislation? Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah says yes, and that's only the beginning. Earlier today Senator Hatch went "On the Record" about that and Washington's wild spending spree.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, senator, you've been quoted in terms of the health care bill saying that it is an "awful piece of crap and a dumb-ass program." Now how do you really feel about it?

SEN. ORRIN HATCH, R-UTAH: I guess I should tell you how I really feel because it is a lot worse than that. It really is a bad piece of legislation, everybody knows that, including the president. I don't see why he keeps pushing it. They know it is not going to work. If he gets reelected within a couple of years he will though his hands in the air and say it is not good. We have to go to a single payer system.

VAN SUSTEREN: The GAO report said recently Medicare and Medicaid fraud, $48 billion a year in fraud and waste.

HATCH: We just had before our committee the two top investigators in this area, they admitted it is much more than that. Some have admitted it as high as over $200 billion dollars in fraud and waste.

VAN SUSTEREN: Some have thought, I know you voted a continuing resolution which struck $60 billion in this year's budget if we recovered the $48 billion, forget the $200 billion dollars that you mention. If we the $48 billion we would only need $12 billion in cuts if we find what we are wasting.

HATCH: There is a lot of truth to that. Add that over 10 years that's a half trillion dollars. I was looking the other day and there are 20 different homelessness programs. You can extrapolate to the whole bureaucracy. This place has gone out of control.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nobody has gone after it in earnest.

HATCH: These two top investigators over at the health care system are trying to go after it, the Medicare. I have to say, they've got 1,700 people working for them, and they are still finding fraud all over the place. We just have to do a better job. We've got to not have duplicative programs like we have. I have to admit, both sides are at fault here.

VAN SUSTEREN: I wonder if the American people feel gamed on the numbers. We talk in different numbers. We hear a 10 year payout. You want to look small you do it in one year. It has gotten confusing.

HATCH: Take the health care program, it doesn't trigger until 2014. Why? So they could claim it was a little less than a trillion. Each state can look at the other states and say I like that idea let's incorporate it in our state. It has become in liberal approach towards everything having to be done by the federal government. It is the worst entity to do all these things.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it a management issue?

HATCH: I think it is political. I think you have -- look, do you want to know the truth? Less than seven percent of our private sector workers are union members, and they are starting to wake up to the fact that these government sector unions, they are costing them an arm and a leg in taxes and expenses and everything else.

They are pricing themselves out of the marketplace because the unions control one party. That party gets in power next thing you know they are satisfying every union demand they have. The private sector union members of which I was part of at one time, I was a skilled tradesman, private sector union members are getting dinged an arm and leg for big expensive public sector union costs.

VAN SUSTEREN: You have a message for Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin?

HATCH: Hang in there, Scott, we all are watching. I think it is really almost unmentionable those Democrats won't come back and vote and face the music. Most states don't have collective bargaining. The federal government doesn't have collective bargaining.

Most states -- the reason they don't is because they don't want the people who elect you to be able to demand more and more and more in pensions and other benefits and so forth that go beyond what the private sector can afford to pay for.

Like I say, I buy that contrast between private sector and public sector union members sitting in fat cat jobs and benefits compared to the private sector who has to pay for it.

VAN SUSTEREN: The debt, what are we going to do about it?

HATCH: We have to get more fiscal conservatives here, no question. The house now has fiscal conservatives. We've got to get people to understand the truth, because they are going to get badgered and beaten up because they trying to get things under control. We've got to have less government.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can you pick up the phone and call President Obama and say we would like to talk off the record, without the cameras?

HATCH: I can do that, yes. And I've been down there at the White House and I've made some of these points down there and they ignore them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it ineptitude, incompetence, greed, selfishness what is it?

HATCH: All of the above, but it is power hungry, seeking after power and control.

VAN SUSTEREN: You think the president is doing that?

HATCH: I don't know he's personally doing that. He should be leading. We know to get spending under control we've got to reform the entitlement programs.

VAN SUSTEREN: He says he's concerned --

HATCH: But he's unwilling to lead.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is he lying when he says that?

HATCH: I would never call him that. I like the president personally. Let me tell you something, it is going to take presidential leadership. There's nobody with any brains that doubts that statement. It will take presidential leadership upfront, and we'll come behind him to get things done if he will lead. It is going to take presidential leadership to lead.

Will his party allow him? The answer is probably not. He's not leading any way if I was president I'd say look we are going to solve these problems and I'm going to lead and we are going to do it in the most reasonable way we can that is not damaging.

VAN SUSTEREN: Don't you think he thinks he's doing that?

HATCH: I believe he's sincere. I believe he's a very interesting and I think a good man. I don't think that -- if you really want my opinion, I think that he just doesn't know what to do. And some of us would help him to know if he would work with us.

But I got to tell you, I think that's part of it. I think he's inexperienced. We put a man in as president who had two years in the Senate the rest of his life was a community organizer. My gosh, that's important, but for president of the United States?

He's a likeable guy, articulate, charismatic. I think he's a good looking person, handsome man. He's a person you want to like. You want him to be success as the first African-American president and set a wonderful example. But he's not leading, that's the problem. He could have the credit. Some of us would help him lead.