This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 7, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Speaker of the House John Boehner -- now, we asked him about the late night nail-biter in his home state of Ohio, the skyrocketing price of gas and the contraception controversy. Here's Speaker Boehner.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, nice to see you, sir.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Greta, good to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, gas prices -- they are jumping up about 48 cents per gallon since the beginning of January. Americans are hurting, and they're worried. What can do you about gas prices?
BOEHNER: Well, I think what we need to do is to open up more to America for American-made oil and gas. Listen, the president's policies have not only not helped the economy, they've made it worse. And when it comes to gas prices, the president says he's for an "all of the above" energy strategy, but his rhetoric does not match his actions.
And the facts are that they've closed down most of the gulf. They've closed down all the public lands in the inter-mountain West. And if we're going to bring gas prices down, we need to have all of the above. That means that we need more oil and gas production. We need renewables. We need nuclear energy. And until we do all of the above, we're going to be subject to these -- these big fluctuations.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you had any conversations with him about it? Because I know there is -- I mean, I can't imagine in an election year a president wants the gas prices to go up because that can be politically fatal. So I'm sure that he is -- he has a lot of interest in getting the prices down right now.
Have you had a conversation with him at all?
BOEHNER: Last week, the leaders were down at the White House to have lunch with the president and the vice president. And he made some overtures to some of our energy proposals because if you look at what the EPA is doing, they're shutting down a lot of American-made energy with the proposals that are coming out of their administration. And he seemed somewhat open to considering some of them, didn't say specifically which ones.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did he say anything at all that he was going to do? Because even with -- I mean, people are focused on the price of gas, but the price of gas as it rises is an incredible anchor on the economy as we try to rev up our economy because it's going to mean higher food prices, it's going to mean a lot of things.
BOEHNER: It's not just the price of gas, it's the price of energy across the board. Whether you're a service company, a manufacturing company, everybody pays more. And if you're spending that much more on energy, you're not buying the kinds of other goods and services that are available in our economy, and it will, in fact, slow our economy down.
VAN SUSTEREN: Speaker Gingrich...
BOEHNER: The president's energy policies have led to a more than doubling of gas prices over the three years of this presidency. It's time for the president to take real action and work with Congress in a bipartisan way to deal with this problem.
VAN SUSTEREN: Speaker Gingrich says he can get it down to $2.50. Is that campaign rhetoric, or do you think that's realistic?
BOEHNER: I think that we can, over the next 10 years, move America very close to energy self-sufficiency, keeping that $500 billion that we're shipping overseas here in America. We can do it, but it's going to take a concerted effort.
VAN SUSTEREN: Last night in Ohio, all eyes were on Ohio. Two Republican candidates lost the primary. But it was a very close race between Governor Romney and Senator Santorum. What do you make of the race last night?
BOEHNER: Well, you know, you've all tried to get me to talk about the presidential race over the course of this year. I've got a big job here. In addition to that, I'm chairman of the Republican convention. And so I'm not going to get in the middle of the race.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it does...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... because it will mean the turnout, so how many people turn out in November, which may have an impact on how many people -- Republicans are reelected. So it has some impact on you.
BOEHNER: It does. But what I will say is this. I think this is an incredibly important year for our country. And I would hope that our candidates continue to focus on -- on the real issue here, and that's the president's policies.
They've not helped. They've made our economy worse. They've made it harder for job creators to create jobs. And because the president doesn't want to talk about his economic policies, he's turned toward the politics of envy and divide.
Listen, Republicans have a plan for America's job creators. We've had it since last May. This plan -- 30 bills that we've passed and sent them over to the United States Senate. The president really wants to help get the economy moving again, what he ought to be doing is call up Harry Reid and saying, "Hey, these are some good bills."
Tomorrow, we're going to pass the Jobs Act. The president said nice things about t. It would help small companies have better access to capital, help them grow. And if the president, again, is serious about helping the economy, he ought to pick up the phone and call Harry Reid and say, Hey, Harry, it's time to get moving on some of these.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the president couldn't get Senator Harry Reid even to get the budget going in the Senate. He couldn't even get his own budget considered. I mean, it doesn't seem like there's a lot of give and take there towards at least getting things considered.
BOEHNER: Well, we'll be moving our budget here in the next couple of weeks. It's been almost three years since the Senate moved a budget resolution. And at a time when we've got trillion-dollar budget deficits, how do you -- how do you deal with a budget deficit when you won't even do a budget?
I think elections are important. And you've heard politicians say over the course of your career how important this next election is. Well, guess what? Some of them are important. Some of them aren't. I'll tell you what. The most important election of my lifetime's going to occur this November because I don't think America can sustain four more years of the policies that are coming out of this administration.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think the recent controversy over -- the Republicans say that it's a question of religious freedom and the Democrats say it's a war on women, this whole issue of contraception. Has this issue now morphed from a legitimate issue for people to talk about into a political weapon, almost a prop, a campaign prop, for both parties?
BOEHNER: Well, it's pretty clear in the short term that our friends on the left have turned this whole debate into a debate over contraception. This has nothing to do with contraception.
For 220 years, our government here in Washington has respected the rights of religious organizations to their own beliefs. And there's always been a conscience exception for religious organizations so that government doesn't -- isn't in the position of coercing them to do things that they don't believe in.
And I think some in this debate have decided to use this for their own political benefit, and I think that's unfortunate.
VAN SUSTEREN: How'd we get there -- get, like -- I mean, like, these are important issues --
BOEHNER: Let's remember...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... whether it's women's rights or whether it's, you know...
BOEHNER: Let's remember how we...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... freedom of religion, they're both important. And now it's a big -- a big...
BOEHNER: Well, remember how we got there. This is "Obama care." This is just another example of the federal government going to tell everyone in America that, You're going to do it our way.
Remember when the president said, If you like the health insurance policy that you have, you can keep it? Not anymore because this policy will require everybody in America to have at least one -- this is the first step -- one exception, based on what the government in Washington wants.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, thank you, sir.
BOEHNER: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you.