OTR Interviews

DeMint: It's Hard for Me to Listen to Obama Because He's Been 'Disingenuous'

Sen. DeMint reacts to Pres. Obama's speech and critiques debt plans revealed by Boehner and Reid


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 25, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Senator DeMint blasts both Senator Reid and Speaker Boehner. He says neither takes our debt crisis seriously. His "cut, cap and balance" hit the skids in the Senate. So now what? Senator Jim DeMint joins us on the phone.

Good evening, sir. And after listening to the president and the speaker, although I probably can guess the answer to this, have you changed your mind on anything tonight

SEN. JIM DEMINT, R-S.C. (Via Telephone): Yes, it's hard for me to listen to the president because he's been disingenuous, Greta, through this whole process. The whole idea of these Biden working groups was to burn the clock up and create a crisis. He needs a crisis to try to blame Republicans for the economy that he's made much, much worse.

But I think I'm speaking for millions of Americans when I say I'm sick and tired of a few people going behind closed doors and coming up with some grand bargain that expands our debt with some kind of commission that is supposed to solve our problems in the future. Frankly, Greta, they think the media is lazy and the people are stupid.

Reid's plan is only a decoy designed to drive people towards Boehner's plan, which is essentially the same thing. They all leave us with an increase in our debt of $7 trillion or $8 trillion over the next 10 years. There's never a balanced budget or even an intention to get to it. And this is all designed as a political solution that gives everybody some cover.

The only real common sense solution if you're in debt, spending more than you're bringing in, is to start the process to move towards a balanced budget. That's what I'm going to continue to insist on. These are just -- they're painting over the problem and not really solving it.

And frankly, I'm just -- I'm disgusted that we cannot even have a public debate about the issues and have people put their positions on the table in public. I know I'm speaking for a lot of people saying I'm very frustrated.

VAN SUSTEREN: You say the lack of a debate because there was no debate in the Senate the other day on "cut, cap and balance." But if -- tell me if I'm wrong, but the reason why that you are so adamant about the balanced budget amendment is because the way Washington works is that whatever is decided today, unless there's some really strong lid on it, is that, you know, six years down the road or four years down the road or eight years down the road, everything that's decided today can be upended and changed. Is that -- are you just trying to put, like, a long- term lid on how we do things, the structural part of spending in this country?

DEMINT: Greta, we've had dozens of commissions. When I was elected to the House in 1998, we were $5 trillion in debt. Every year, we get this situation with the debt ceiling -- We're going to fix things, we're going to cut things, just pass it now. We've tripled the debt, and we're on track to double it again.

And these solutions that are being proposed either by Boehner or Reid are not going to satisfy the credit ratings. We're going to lose our AAA rating. We're going to pay higher interest rates for this debt. It's going to cost our country trillions of dollars. We're kicking the can down the road, and -- and it really is not a solution here. The only solution is to stop spending more than we're bringing in. And that's not what we're doing with these supposed deals.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have enough -- and I'll use the word Tea Party for the Tea Party caucus, is what you're part of in the United States Senate. But do you have enough Tea Party muscle in the Senate? And is there enough Tea Party muscle in the House so that you can have an impact on whether the Reid, Boehner, Obama -- if they can work something out, whether you can derail it or not?

DEMINT: Greta, I don't know. It really depends more on the people listening to you tonight than those of us inside. If our phones don't ring, if our e-mails don't blow up as far as the people who are disgusted with the process, this will pass easily and we will sail right towards -- I'm not worried as much about a default as I am about a national bankruptcy. And that's what's going to happen in the next year or two if we go through another debt limit and just continue to try to borrow money.

So it really depends on Americans right now. If they're asleep, if they're not paying attention, this is going to pass, and I'm afraid we're going to lose so much of what we fought for. This is not another time where we can kick the can down the road and expect no problems. I think we're at the point where we can't borrow any more money as a country without serious repercussions. And I'm afraid there's no soft landing for America.

We are that center pole of the world's economic system, and we're getting ready to stumble. And people -- if they don't lend us money tomorrow, we can't pay our bills. We're borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar we spend, so we're totally -- we're complete slaves to our creditors. And that includes China and some other countries that don't necessarily wish us the best.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir.

DEMINT: Thank you, Greta.