OTR Interviews

Rep. West: I Don't Believe in Manipulating the American People ...Pres. Obama Believes This Is About 'Gaining Votes'

Congressman Allen West blasts Obama's Kansas speech, philosophy of equal achievement versus equal opportunity


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 7, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, Congressman Allen West slaps back at President Obama! He says life ain't fair. Now, West blasted the president, saying he's making matters worse for our country already in economic crisis.

And that's not all. Congressman West is launching an attack on the president on Facebook. He writes, "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Obviously, President Barack Hussein Obama believes in a guarantee of happiness and that he, along with his liberal disciples, are the arbiters of fairness. America is about equal opportunity, not the liberal progressive mantra of equal achievement. Nice try, Mr. President, but teleprompters and poll-tested messages do not equal visionary leadership. Sorry. I know that ain't fair."

OK, so what provoked Congressman West to write those harsh words? He joins us. Good evening, Congressman. And what a blistering FaceBook posting. What's up with that?

REP. ALLEN WEST, R-FLA.: Well, first of all, Merry Christmas to you, Greta. And it's not about being blistering. You know, I grew up in the United States military, and you have to be able to call it as you see it. And I'm very concerned about this very divisive rhetoric that the president is using when he continues to talk about equality and fairness and this thing that I think that is really contrary to the principles that I mentioned as far as life, liberty and pursuit of happiness because the government cannot guarantee happiness.

And if we believe that there are people in Washington, D.C., that are going to be the arbiters and be the ones who are trying to create some type of fairness -- we remember FDR talking about a chicken in every pot, or recall all the rhetoric of economic and social justice -- then we get away from having the right type of monetary policy, fiscal, policy, tax and regulatory policy that can turn this dismal economic situation around in our country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it that we all don't have a sort of the same definition of fairness, where is it, if I can take from what you say, that fairness should be, you know, the same opportunity -- an opportunity to achieve, whereas the president might think that fairness is that, you know, everyone have an education so that everyone can then go on to achieve -- is it that it's simply a difference in definition of fairness, or do you think the president is almost deliberately sinking the ship?

WEST: Well, I think when you listen to the president's speech where he's talking about supply-side economics has failed, you know, really, it is his economic policies that have failed. The fact that the president has added $4.4 trillion of new debt, which is more than from George Washington to Bill Clinton.

So I think the thing we have to understand, going back and remembering the great quote from Abraham Lincoln that talked about the two definitions of liberty, where some believe that liberty means a person being able to do with the fruits of their own labor, but then other people believe that liberty means that you can come down to do as you wish with another person's fruits of their labor.

And in that same word, there is really two different definitions, which is liberty and tyranny, and Lincoln talked about that in 1864.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you ever had a conversation with the president and just sort of sat down and talked to him and asked him about his ideology and compared yours to his?

WEST: Well, I'd be happy to sit down with the president and talk about the two different ideological bases which we look at. I believe in a constitutional republic. I don't believe in a bureaucratic nanny state. I don't believe in manipulating the American people for political gain. I believe we have to be honest with them and tell them the truth. And I don't think that the president sees it that way.

I think that the president believes that this is about gaining votes. That's not what I see if we're going to really get the fiscal situation for America turned around so that we can have better days for our children and grandchildren.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you able or are you -- do you -- can you say whether you think the president is helping the country, hurting the country, or maintaining the status quo, in your opinion?

WEST: Well, let's look at the numbers. Since January of 2009, we've seen a 41 percent increase in people that are on food stamps. We've seen a 16 percent increase in people on poverty. We see 48.5 percent of America's now on government aid. We talked about the three years of trillion-dollar- plus deficits and the fact that he's added $4.4 trillion of new debt.

So I think that he is doing things that are not enabling this country to turn the situation around, but instead, he wants to continue to blame House Republicans. We've got about 25 pieces of legislation sitting over in the Senate right now that will help to turn around the job situation in America. As a matter of fact, tonight we just passed another piece of legislation called the REINS Act, which will preclude us up here in Washington, D.C., from having agencies institute regulations that have a major economic impact on our private sector.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who do you at the moment -- and I realize a lot can happen, a lot can change, but who do you at the moment of the potential candidates for your party's nomination do you think is the best candidate, most able to beat the president?

WEST: Well, I'm going to leave that up to the pundits and the pollsters. The most important thing for me right now...

VAN SUSTEREN: But your voice is important. But -- I mean, you're a very influential member...

WEST: Oh, I don't think I'm that important.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you are. You're a member of the freshman class at the House that has had an enormous impact on the House, whether for good, bad or indifferent, and I think people are curious, you know, what you think. You know, they tune in to listen to what you have to say. I think they want to know what you think about this race.

WEST: Well, let me put it this way. It's not about the individual, but this is what I think we have to have in a candidate to go up against President Obama. It has to be someone with an impeccable charisma and persona that can be able to deliver our constitutional conservative message, that can really lay out a plan by which we can turn this country around and get it back on the right track, and get American people believing in those of us that are elected to be truly leaders and not just politicians.

So I think that those are the type of character or qualities that I would be looking for someone to hold because the president has an incredible megaphone, he has that platform, and he's using it very well. And the facts are on our side. We just need someone that can deliver that message.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I didn't get it out of you tonight, but maybe another night you'll come back and tell me who you're leaning towards endorsing. But at least I -- I got sort of close. I sort of tried. At least I tried. Anyway, Congressman...

WEST: You did try.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... as always -- I did try, indeed. Congressman, as you said, merry Christmas to me in the beginning, I say Merry Christmas to you, and thank you for joining us tonight.

WEST: Thank you, Greta, so much.