This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 8, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: But first, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, nice to see you, sir.
NEWT GINGRICH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's good to see you.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I want to talk to you about $2.50 a gallon, plus your new ad. Do you -- is there any question in your mind that President Obama would like to see the gas prices come down? Is there any question in your mind that he wants that?
GINGRICH: Only for the purpose of reelection. I think that he is a committed liberal. I think, like his secretary of energy, he would like to see European-level gas prices of $9 or $10 a gallon. He was very clear on -- about coal, that he would like to bankrupt anybody who built a new coal utility.
And I think you have to ask yourself why did he appoint Chu, who, by the way, admitted today he doesn't have a car. So you have a secretary of energy who doesn't -- I describe him as the secretary of anti-energy, who said publicly last week at the -- in the U.S. House he was not going to try to lower the price of gasoline.
That wasn't his job. His job was to get us off of gasoline into other kinds of propulsion. He announced -- admitted today he doesn't have a car. I assume the president appointed him knowing who he was and knowing what he's doing.
And this is the president's policy. The president has reduced drilling on federal land by 11 percent for oil. He's reduced it by 27 percent for natural gas. The Obama administration is trying to figure out a way to make it difficult to use the new drilling techniques for natural gas. This is an anti-American energy administration.
VAN SUSTEREN: But what do you -- but I mean, I guess it seems farfetched to me to think that any president seeking reelection would want to have high gas prices. So it's, like...
GINGRICH: No, he'd like them to come...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... are you assigning a bad...
GINGRICH: He'd like them to come down -- look, he wants them to go down until December 1st, and then he'd like them to go to the European levels. I mean, it's pretty clear his goal in life -- and he actually had conversations like this on the road last year, where people would say they have -- one guy said to him, I have a really big family, and he said, Well, you better buy a hybrid SUV, without any regard to what it costs, not really referring to anything else.
He -- Obama has a very clear model, which is very, very long gas mileage, very small use of petroleum, limited drilling in the United States and very high prices to force people into electric cars and into other methods of propulsion.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I take it you'd agree that -- I mean, if there were a program where we could get lots of gas mileage, that would be a good thing. If we could wean ourselves off of, you know, foreign oil, that would be a good thing.
If there was some alternative to oil, that's also a good thing, I mean, to run cars -- I mean, I take it that those ideas are not ideas that you think are bad, but that are just simply not workable right now? Is that your thinking?
GINGRICH: No, I've -- look, first of all, I'm for an American drilling program that eliminates all the foreign oil, so that we have an energy independence. Second, I'm perfectly happy to have new technologies that extend things. I'm happy to see electric cars when they're economically feasible.
I support biofuels. I support natural gas as an alternative. I believe in flex-fuel vehicles. But I also believe, as a practical matter, that you have an amazing number of cars and trucks on the road that use gasoline or diesel, that the price is too high.
I have a $2.50 goal as a maximum price. I think -- and if people go to Newt.org, they'll see a 30-minute speech where we outline step by step how to do it.
I think it is doable. Remember, it was only $1.89 when he was sworn in. It was $1.13 when I was speaker. I mean, we're not talking about some, you know, fanciful price that is a fantasy. We're talking about a question about policy.
His policy is anti-American development of energy. My policy would be very pro-American development of energy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Part of the problem with the price of gas going up, not just at the pump and the pain of people spending more, is that it is going to be a drag on the economy long term...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... whether it's food, moving food from one place to another or any sort of transportation, anything. What do you sort of see as the path, come, let's say, August or September, if the price stays where it is, it continues to go up? What's the economy going to look like?
GINGRICH: Look, this is a triple nightmare for the president. First, if we get into $5, $6 a gallon gasoline, the direct consequence in pain and people being angry will become very anti-Obama. Second, as you point out, when you start to get to that price level, it affects every independent trucker. It affects every delivery.
I just talked to somebody from McDonald's here in Mississippi, who said that he's lost about 2 percent of his gross revenue to pay for higher transportation just to get the products delivered to his franchise. That's a significant amount of money at a low-margin business. And so every grocery store is going to have pressure.
Everything that's delivered by truck is going to be more expensive. Everything that's made out of plastic is going to be more expensive.
There's an additional part, though. There's a real risk of some kind of problem in the Middle East, whether it is the Straits of Hormuz or it's something else. That could send oil prices skyrocketing, and that would have a catastrophic effect worldwide.
So the president actually now is faced with a series of challenges that are the natural result of his policies. Remember, this is a president who is so anti-American energy that when he was a senator in 2007, he introduced the bill to wipe out all of the information about the U.S. Geological Survey inventory of oil.
I mean, it was truly a remarkable step to say, Let's not even know what our resources are.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, there's so much has an impact on the price of oil, and you just noted some. It's even international. How does -- how does a president -- what could you do differently if you have a divided Congress, because let's take the international question, the people on both sides of the aisle, even within different parties, on what to do about Iran, which may -- which has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. So you've got that problem with trying to deal with Congress there.
You've got a problem with people even on decisions on whether to drill, where to drill. So you've got a divided Congress. They're not easy to work with. So what would be -- what could you do differently about working with a divided Congress, so even your agenda could be passed?
GINGRICH: Well, the president keeps saying that there are no silver bullets, but he does have a presidential pen. He could right now approve the Keystone XL pipeline. That would be 700,000 barrels a day of Canadian oil going to Houston.
He could right now authorize Louisiana and Texas development offshore. That's 400,000 barrels a day. He could right now authorize several areas of Alaska that do not require congressional action. That's about 1,200,000 barrels a day.
So with three signatures, the president could increase the availability of oil in the United States to about 2,300,000 barrels a day, or about 800 million barrels a year. That would be a tremendous amount of money kept here at home, more jobs here in the United States, and a significant margin for error in terms of what happens in the Middle East.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, there's been a call from a super PAC, Senator Rick Santorum, for you to leave the race. Today you sent out a fundraising letter, and it mentions Senator Santorum all over it, nothing about Governor Romney. What -- you know, what's your response to the super PAC asking you to get out? And why are you only focused on Santorum in your fundraising letter?
GINGRICH: Well, you'd have to ask the folks who run the campaign, either RCM under Michael Kroll about the letter. I -- you know, that -- my view is that we have a real race. It's a -- basically, a three-way race with Ron Paul as a fourth candidate who's getting his percentage.
You know, for a long stretch, I was either in first place or I was clearly in second place. During that entire period, Senator Santorum declined to leave. Now suddenly, he's in better shape. He would now like me to leave. I think this is just all a game. He and I would both like Romney to leave.
So you know, the fact is, everybody would like to end this on their terms. I think this is going to go on probably -- certainly into June. And depending on what happens in Texas and California -- and I have a very good chance, working with Governor Perry, to do very, very well on Texas. And that could set the stage a week later to do very well in California.
So I want to wait and see how this all develops. We're having a great response here in Mississippi. Yesterday, we had a great response in Alabama. I think we're going to do very well next Tuesday night. And I think that's just one of the challenges of campaigning. We're going to keep moving forward.
We gathered delegates -- we swept an amazing number of delegates in Georgia, which was the largest state on super-Tuesday. We also got delegates in Tennessee and in Oklahoma. And we have our eye on several states where we think we'll be very competitive in the next 30 to 45 days.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, suppose you win big next week in the South and that you take Texas and California, and that either -- and Senator Santorum equally does well, and so denying the front-runner -- who the front-runner is right now -- Governor Romney, the 1,144 he needs. Tell me what happens at the Republican convention. How does this go down if nobody's reached the number? Explain it to me.
GINGRICH: Well, I think we ought to have a national conversation among Republicans, that I think will probably start sometime in April, over who can beat Barack Obama.
I mean, what Romney's proven is that he can raise a lot of money out of Wall Street, much of it from companies that were bailed out by the taxpayers, so we're having our own money come back at us in the form of negative advertising.
He's not going to be able to outspend Barack Obama. We don't have any evidence right now that Romney, in fact, would be able to survive a campaign this fall when he's up against an opponent who is better financed than he is. I think that's part one.
Part two is with Senator Santorum. He was in the leadership, which led to the disastrous 2006 elections that lost six Senate seats. And in fact, he lost his seat by the largest margin in the history of Pennsylvania.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what happens at the convention?
GINGRICH: There are questions there. I'm just -- so -- well, my point is one of two things is going to happen. Either somebody will get a long winning streak -- and Governor Romney is probably best positioned -- just by sheer money to do that, but he keeps bouncing into ceilings where people reject him.
Or we're going to have a conversation about who could win, and I think people generally agree I could debate Obama better than anybody else and have a better chance, in that sense, of defeating Obama. Or we're going to get to a brokered convention and we're all going to be in a room.
I think what you're going to find there is that somewhere between the four of us, there will be a real conversation about solving it. And each of us will have our own rationale and we'll have to see where we are at that point. I don't ...
VAN SUSTEREN: But what's -- what...
GINGRICH: ... think it would be very practical for a fifth candidate.
VAN SUSTEREN: What does a brokered convention mean, though? Suppose we do get that to that point, and the four of you in a room are going to just, like, what, duke it out? I mean, like, tell me how this resolves.
GINGRICH: Well, you don't -- you don't know. I mean, if Governor Romney is short and the other three have more votes, there are a couple of different ways it could play.
First of all, if the other -- if the three of us have more votes, I suspect we're going to revisit Arizona and Florida, both of which ought to be proportional and where Romney currently is counted as having an over- representation because they're violating the RNC rules in claiming that they're, in fact, you know, winner-take-all, which they're not supposed to be under the RNC rules. So start there.
Second, I think the question becomes then how do you write the platform? What's the platform going to be? And does the platform have pieces out of Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum? Is it -- is it a Romney-only platform? What kind of coalitions emerge?
I don't think we -- we have not seen anything like this, I think, since 1920 on the Republican side. You could argue 1940, as a historian, but I think, literally, you may have to go back to 1920.
This is a very different environment. And you have to -- you know, to be candid, Governor Romney has the most money. He has the biggest organization. You would think he has lots of advantages.
But on the other hand, you look at the percentage he gets. With very rare exception, he has a hard time really putting together anything close to a majority.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, switching gears, this morning, I woke up and I had e-mailed to me a picture of your dancing late into the night. And I was just curious whether there's a videotape of you doing the twist or any other video I should be looking for out there because it's probably -- I think the viewers would love to see you, a video of dancing.
GINGRICH: You know, Callista warned me that this would make GretaWire.
GINGRICH: Since we'd already agreed to come on, I figured I couldn't back out. We got in fairly late last night into Jackson. We had been campaigning non-stop, as you know, in Georgia and had really campaigned very, very hard. We campaigned all day yesterday in Alabama.
They happened to have a really good local band at the hotel that we were at, and they -- it was really just a few hours of relaxation. You could say we took about a two-hour vacation from the campaign.
And then we're back at it. I did my first interview at 6:30 this morning. But it was fun. And I like dancing with Callista, and it was great fun. Everybody who was with us had a good time.
We even had a couple of reporters who were with us, and it was kind of fun. It was -- I thought it was in the 99 percent off the record. I think you got the 1 percent.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I did post it on GretaWire, and I am waiting for the video of the twist, the polka. There are lots of dances that I'm waiting to get you on tape doing, so beware.
GINGRICH: I'll tell you what. If a video of that shows up, you may find one of the reporters missing.
GINGRICH: No videos. We didn't mind an occasional still shot, but no videos.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, thank you, sir.
GINGRICH: Thank you. Great fun.