OTR Interviews

Santorum: Obama Not Committed to Winning Afghanistan, 'Poured Acrimony' on the Budget Battle in Washington

Presidential candidate urges GOP to learn lessons of '95 and not allow debt ceiling increase without Balanced Budget Amendment

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 29, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Is President Obama using class warfare? There's a huge battle going on over money sort of our money. The truth is we don't have any money, but if we need to find some. If President Obama wants to get more cash by taxing wealthy Americans, here's how he is making his argument.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I spent the last two years cutting taxes for ordinary Americans. I want to extend those middle class tax cuts. The tax cuts I'm protesting we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, tax breaks for oil companies and hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners.

I've said to some of the Republican leaders, you talk to your Republican constituents and ask them, are they willing to compromise their kids' safety so that some corporate jet owner continues to get a tax break?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us is Republican presidential contender and former United States senator Rick Santorum. Before we get to President Obama, I want to ask you what I discussed with Governor Pawlenty. He's taking a shot at the challengers of which you are one, calling you -- having -- isolationist sentiments, he didn't specifically name you. Saying America already has one political party devoted to entrenchment withdrawal, it does not need a second one.

RICK SANTORUM, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's going to have a hard time getting to the right of me on being aggressive and making sure America is assertive around the world. I'm a strong believer and have a great track record of making sure we are protecting our national security.

I've supported actions and I've supported before Governor Pawlenty gave a speech actions in Iran. When I was in the Senate, I led with the Iran Freedom Support Act, which was sanctions, and helping the pro-democratic movement. So he's going to have a hard time differentiating from me.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about Speaker Gingrich and some of the others?

SANTORUM: Has a point. Governor Romney, Speaker Gingrich and others have made comments about concern about some of the actions. I think the concern is mostly around the president's treatment of our military and the president's indecisiveness in dealing with Libya and Syria. And I understand their concern.

But the bottom line is we are engaged in a military action in Libya. We need to be successful. I think that's what Pawlenty was saying, that's weigh I said. The same thing in Afghanistan he was right when he said the president talked only about withdrawal and not about success. A president of the United States, if you are engaging in a military action you better be there to win or not be there at all.

VAN SUSTEREN: Don't you think he's there to win?

SANTORUM: No, I don't.

VAN SUSTEREN: He has different strategies, but do you really believe he's not there to win?

SANTORUM: You are not there to win if you engage in the conflict and put a timeline on it.

VAN SUSTEREN: There may be strategic blunder.

SANTORUM: If your objective is to get out, I'm going to put a timeline on when we are going to leave, that's your objective. If your objective is success, you say we are going to commit until we win that's the difference between the objective is leaving and the objective is succeeding.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, new topic, the budget and the whole idea of whether it is class warfare now. He says the Republicans want to give money to millionaires, billionaires, corporate jet owners --

SANTORUM: From the man who was going to bring Washington together, who was going to be a transformational figure, who was going to bring hope and change to Washington talking about Republican constituencies -- I don't think I've ever said the word "Democrat constituencies," as if the world is divided between Republican constituencies and Democrat constituencies. This man said there is no red America, blue America, there's just America.

And you see the most ugly, divisive press conference I've ever seen from a president. All he did was pour acrimony on to what is going on here in Washington. He offered no solutions other than tax rich people.

VAN SUSTEREN: How is your party doing?

SANTORUM: I think we are standing strong.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you support what the Republicans are doing on this debt?

SANTORUM: I do. I would take it one step further. I signed Jim DeMint's, which was cut, cap, and balance. They are at loggerheads with cuts because the Democrats refuse to cut anything and Republicans are not going to go -

VAN SUSTEREN: Both refuse.

SANTORUM: Here's what I would suggest. Let's do something that both sides can agree on because it doesn't affect anybody now, and that is pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, the Lee-Hatch constitutional amendment that all 47 Republican senators went today and signed and said we are for this amendment.

Let Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell draw a line in the sand and say there will be no increase in the debt ceiling until a balanced budget amendment to the constitution that limits spending to 18 percent is passed by the House and Senate.

The reason I say it didn't cut anything now -- it takes two to three years to enact that amendment in the amendment it is five years until it is enacted. It is a backstop that everyone can push toward. It gives time and it gives a hammer for everybody.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you. Come back soon.

SANTORUM: Thank you.