OTR Interviews

Hatch: Obama 'Inexperienced ... Doesn't Know What to Do'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 1, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Inexperienced. Those are very harsh words for President Obama, and they come from Senator Orrin Hatch. Senator Hatch accuses the president of not leading the country and says we are going in the wrong direction regarding our debt problem. Senator Orrin Hatch gave us his ideas to fix it.


VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you, sir.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH, R-UTAH: Great to see you.

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

HATCH: We have to get more fiscal conservatives here. The House now has fiscal conservatives, and we have to get people to understand the truth, because they will get badgered and beaten up because they are trying to get things under control. We have to have less government and more opportunities in the private sector.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are we going in that direction?

HATCH: No, oh, my gosh. I can name 100 different programs for surface transportation, 20 different programs for the homeless. I can name 90 different programs in other areas all of which are supposed to do the one thing. These are federal government programs that just employ more and more people.

Just a few years ago we had a little less than a million federal government employees. Today it is well over two million, and that really happened in the last few years. People who are in power now, the president and his people, they actually believe in the growth of the federal government over almost anything else.

VAN SUSTEREN: Secretary of State Clinton once said if I quote her correctly that the debt isn't just an economic issue and quality of living for Americans but it's also a national security issue. Do you agree?

HATCH: No, I think we ought to all fight for our own quality of living and work hard.

VAN SUSTEREN: But does the debt relate to the national security. Do we need to concentrate on our debt because it has national security consequence is what I mean?

HATCH: The more our debt goes up the less capable we are of defending ourselves and do the things we need to do to keep not only our country and this hemisphere safe and peaceful. But we are the one country that everyone in the room depends on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do we lose any of our sort of moral authority when we owe money around the world? Are we in a position to tell China, for instance, to stop human rights violation if at the same time we are saying will you lend us a couple of dollars?

HATCH: You raise a lot of good points. Look, we owe China $900 billion. Do you think they will listen to us? We owe Japan around $800 billion, and that is just two countries. You can imagine we have the capacity, for instance, to help our country to get out of this energy crisis. We have the capacity right near this hemisphere to do it, and yet everything this administration is doing with the radical environmentalists who are in control.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can you just pick up the phone and call president Obama and say we would like to sit down and talk to you off-the-record without the cameras, without a lot of attention.

HATCH: I can do that, yes, and I have been down there at White House and made some of those points down there, and I'm just ignored.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it greed, selfishness, they think there is a better way, you could be wrong?

HATCH: It is really power hungry. It is seeking after power and control.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think the president is doing that?

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

VAN SUSTEREN: He says he wants to get spending, he says he is concerned about the debt.

HATCH: But he is not willing to lead. I guarantee he is unwilling to lead.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is he lying when says that?

HATCH: I would never say that. I like the president personally. But let me tell you something, it will take presidential leadership. There is nobody with any brains that doubts that statement. It will take presidential leadership up front and we will come behind him to get things done and will lead.

It will take presidential leadership. Will his party allow him? The answer to that is probably not. He is not leaving anyway. If I was president, I would say, look, we going to solve these problems and I'm going to lean on them and we will do it in the most reasonable way we can that is not damaging.

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

HATCH: I believe he's sincere. I believe that he is, you know, he is very interesting and, I think, a good man. I don't think that he really -- you really want my opinion, I think -- I think -- 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 is part of it. I think he is inexperienced. We put a man in as president who had two years of the Senate and the rest of his life was a community organizer. My gosh, that is important, but for President of the United States?

He is a likeable guy. He is articulate and charismatic. I think he is a good looking person, handsome man. He's a person you want to like. You want him to be successful as the African-American president. It would set a wonderful example. But he is not leading, and that is the problem.

Some of us would help him lead. He could have the credit. I would do anything to have the country get its spending and healthcare under control, and, of course, resort to being the greatest country in the world as it should be and as it currently is but fast slipping away.