'The Five' Takes on America's Debt Dilemma

Clock ticking as August 2 deadline approaches


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," July 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS HOST: Hello, everyone. Five o'clock on the East Coast and this is "The Five." It's our first show and each day, the five of us will debate and deconstruct the hottest stories of the day and some stories no one else is talking about, like tomorrow's congressional vote banning the sale of traditional light bulbs.

What can you expect every day at this hour? I wish I could tell you. I don't know either. Expect the unexpected.

Our panel will offer a fresh take on the issues and with five strong opinions, things could get dicey.

I'm Eric Bolling. To my right is Andrea Tantaros, Mr. Bob Beckel. To my left, Dana Perino and Greg Gutfeld.

Let's get to it. "The Five" starts right now.


BOLLING: Up first, the issue everyone is talking about, President Obama vowing to get a debt deal done, warning that they'll meet every day until an agreement is made.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My hope is, is that as a consequence of negotiations that take place today, tomorrow, the next day and through next weekend if necessary... I will not sign a 30-day, or a 60-day, or a 90-day extension. That is just not an acceptable approach.


BOLLING: The president pointing out that the deal won't be small short-term fixes. Instead, he wants long-term solutions.

But there's a wide ideological divide between Republicans and Democrats in exactly how to cut deficits.

Mr. Obama suggested that lawmakers need to -- quote -- "take on their sacred cows, pull off the band aids and eat our peas." Now, if he just said, oh, cut out-of-control spending of taxpayer money, he might actually get his deal done.

That said, we know where the president's priorities are. Take a listen.


OBAMA: I'd rather be talking about stuff that, you know, everybody welcomes like new programs or, you know, the NFL season getting resolved, you know. Unfortunately, this is what's on our plate.


BOLLING: It certainly is. Meanwhile, top congressional leaders spent the afternoon behind closed doors trying to hammer out a plan to stop runaway deficits that put America's credit worthiness at risk. But just after under two hours the meeting broke and the crew will try again tomorrow.

I'm going to go to Dana. What about it? If -- were you surprised that Obama took to the podium today in advance of the meetings?

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I wouldn't advise it. I'm not entirely surprised that he did. I mean, they're trying to define what victory is or what defeat is. It was almost like on-camera autopsy, because if you have a negotiation that's happening in three hours and you go public with your negotiating positions, in a way, it's solely -- it's kind of bad manners, but I see what he is trying to do.

One of the things he said, though, is that everybody wants to talk about new programs. And, actually, that's not what they want to talk about.

GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST: Nobody does. I don't want to talk about any programs. I love how he wants to talk about the NFL. He didn't want to talk about the NFL before. But I think this is because Boehner is winning. Right now, it's like high noon. But instead of guns, it's self-tanning bronzer. I mean, he has no point but to go to the media and ask for help.


ANDREAS TANTAROS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, what's wrong with bronzer? You're at Fox News. It's a staple here.

GUTFELD: I'm as orange as they come. Beaten by Shep only.

TANTAROS: We're not even going to be able to afford frozen peas if we keep spending the way we're spending.

Look, I think the best thing to happen for President Obama is for him to follow Boehner's lead. It will help him attract more independents. Look, I don't want the guy to win. But I think it's the best thing for him. Let Boehner lead and you know he'll demagogue on the end anyway. But, look, no one wants to be doing programs, Greg's right.

BOLLING: Look who's been sitting nicely?


BOB BECKEL, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Let me just say, I've been sitting here biting my tongue to the point where it's bleeding now. If I could say a couple of things without being interrupted, Mr. Bolling, if that would be possible. The president of the United States offered $4 trillion proposal that would have gone a long way to take care of our debt. He included in that, by the way, some things that are sacrosanct to Democrats, cutting into Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And what are the Republicans do? They refuse to even put anything on the table, including the tax breaks -- or tax increases -- for millionaires and billionaires and corporate welfare for oil companies and CEO corporate jets.


And what do they do? I told you not to interrupt me.

Now I think Boehner is a good man. And I think he tried very hard, but he went back to his House and that Tea Party crowd -- who, by the way, call themselves patriots, I call them anarchists because -- they also said they are for the Constitution. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution says protect our national debt. So, these people --


BECKEL: Excuse me. I didn't finish my point.

TANTAROS: This is not called "the one," Bob, it's called "The Five."

Now, you know, it's common place for me to interrupt you all the time.

BECKEL: That was kind of rude.

TANTAROS: No, it's not.

PERINO: Can I get back on track a little bit?

BECKEL: What do you mean "back on track"? What do you mean? I can't say something because you're all...

PERINO: A couple of things that I think are important. First of all, last year, Nancy Pelosi when she was speaker of the House, could not pass tax hikes in her own House. And so, it's not surprising that Boehner, in charge of the Republicans, couldn't do it either. I think that's one thing.

Secondly, the Democrats have come out today through the DSCC -- the senatorial committee -- and said we're not going to have President Obama take away our most important political issue and that's Medicare and Social Security. So, he can't bring his own Democrats to the table. So, I think that's one of the reasons these talks are breaking down.

GUTFELD: But I can't let you get away with the Tea Party thing, because if the left had something as strong as formidable as the Tea Party, you'd be giving it wet sloppy kisses. You know that.

BECKEL: No, we'd be invading Canada.


GUTFELD: Why Canada?

BECKEL: I don't know.


BOLLING: Any question that this is not the time to be raising taxes? I mean, 9.2 percent unemployment, 14 million --

PERINO: President Obama said it himself.

BOLLING: He did say it himself.

BECKEL: This is not the time to be cutting spending. I tell you what it's not.

BOLLING: You can't raise taxes with the economy in recession. By the way, we're in recession, like it or not.

PERINO: President Obama said we should cut spending. You just said he wants $4 trillion.

BECKEL: Excuse me. Do you really think that it is going to really hurt these millionaires and billionaires if they get their taxes increased?

BOLLING: These are job creators. These aren't millionaires and billionaires --


BECKEL: Like Wall Street? They're creating jobs for Christie's auction house, sure they are. And for big, strong --

PERINO: I want to see numbers. I want to see the numbers, because when he says millionaires and billionaires, what he actually means is people who make over $250,000 as a family.

TANTAROS: He already got the tax increases in Obamacare. He's already passed taxes. Now he wants taxes.

BECKEL: Name me one tax increase in Obamacare?

TANTAROS: In Obamacare, but conveniently it doesn't come until 2014.

BECKEL: It's not true.

TANTAROS: Here's why-- I will give you credit, Bob. Here's why I think Boehner is in a very difficult spot, because of the members of his conference that say we're not going to vote for anything, any kind of deal because we're not going to vote to raise the debt ceiling. He actually has to work with Democrats.

BECKEL: You're right. Do you actually -- not all of you think it's a little difficult for Boehner when people say, nothing, absolutely nothing? Grover Norquist, that little dumpy guy from down on K-Street -- now, there's a guy who ought to be sent to Gitmo as a terrorist for being a national security threat to the United States.

GUTFELD: Finally like Gitmo.

BECKEL: I like it for Grover Norquist. That's for sure.


BECKEL: Can I make one other point? Let's keep in mind that this deficit increase or the debt ceiling increase is not for the new spending. It's to pay for money that's already been appropriated by Democrats and Republicans alike. Including --


BOLLING: Wait, wait, wait. What are you talking about? Whoa, whoa, timeout. What are you talking about?

PERINO: No, he's right.

BECKEL: Thank you very much, Dana.

BOLLING: Hold on. Under Bush, the average outlay was about $2.4 trillion. Under Obama, it's --


BECKEL: What I'm saying is of the $14 trillion we have as a deficit, the -- whatever you want to increase, $2.4 trillion increase in debt ceiling has to go to pay for bonds. Many of which were, by the way, issued under Ronald Reagan.

BOLLING: Well, it doesn't have to. You could also cut spending, you could do that.

BECKEL: You cut spending? You're got to cut enough spending to take care of all the obligations?

BOLLING: Absolutely. By the way, we're growing at 1.8 percent GDP annually. If you cut spending, cut taxes, you get the GDP moving again, all of a sudden, you don't run the deficits, you start running surplus.

BECKEL: Well, if you're going to do that, take all the discretionary spending that's in the budget and just cut it out altogether -- every program, every air traffic controller, everything else.




BECKEL: You fly. You fly after that. I tell you that --

TANTAROS: Anyone who actually thinks he's going to take the money and actually use it to pay down the deficit needs their head examined.

PERINO: It's not just the president, though. It's the Congress as well. It's been building up over years. And it was actually during President Bush's administration that Senator Obama -- then running for president -- said it was dereliction of duty to raise debt limit. And so, he's in a little bind here. A little humility here wouldn't hurt.

GUTFELD: That's the problem with being president, you love raising the debt ceiling. It's like a wife and her credit cards. Americans have to be the husband that takes the credit card and breaks it up.

Look, I had -- I put on 40 pounds in four years because I kept raising my weight ceiling. At a certain point it had to stop.

BECKEL: You think you have a problem. But when I was married, my debt ceiling couldn't be matched. That was the problem. I mean, don't ever give anybody one of those black card credit cards. I'm telling you, it cost me a fortune.

TANTAROS: So, you're not for big spending then?

BECKEL: Not my ex-wife.


GUTFELD: In your life, you're against spending you can't afford. Why is it OK with President Obama? He's like your wife running around with your credit card.

BECKEL: I want to give Dana credit for at least pointing out that this is a problem that accumulated over a lot of years.

GUTFELD: Absolutely.

BECKEL: Something that Mr. Bolling refuses to understand. He thinks all this happened just under Mr. Obama.

BOLLING: No, I don't. No, I don't. I have the numbers here. Here's every year, every debt ceiling. By the way, when Senator Obama decided that it was a bad idea to raise the debt ceiling, $8 trillion at the time. It's not $14.2 trillion.

PERINO: But see, he didn't have to worry because at that time, there were enough Republicans who back Bush and do it. Under President Obama, it's --


BECKEL: It was a bad move on Obama's part. He came back now and he said he made a mistake doing it.

PERINO: Actually, he didn't. His spokesperson did.


BECKEL: He was playing politics. He was playing politics when he did it. I understand it.

PERINO: If he did it and he had a little bit humility, it might help him,=.

BECKEL: But he also knew that it was going to pass. That's the difference, you know?

BOLLING: Come on, Beckel. That doesn't mean -- you changed your mind on it.

That's it, guys. We got to leave it right there.

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