OTR Interviews

FreedomWorks versus Orrin Hatch

President and CEO of FreedomWorks responds to allegations made by veteran senator in 'On the Record' interview

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 24, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Veteran Utah senator Orrin Hatch survives a battle, but the war is far from over. After coming up just one percent shy of the votes needed for a direct nomination, Senator Hatch now faces a primary challenge for a bid for seventh term. The Tea Party group FreedomWorks insists it will unseat Senator Hatch. Senator Hatch firing back at FreedomWorks here on our show last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ORRIN HATCH, R-UTAH: I could probably live with them if they tell the truth. But they take a few dozen of my votes out of the better 12,000 votes that I have cast, one of the most in the history of the Senate, and they distort those votes, they lie about them, direct lie about them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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VAN SUSTEREN: Strong words from Senator Hatch. And tonight, the other side. FreedomWorks and President and CEO Matt Kibbe joins us. Nice to see you, sir.

MATT KIBBE, FREEDOMWORKS PRESIDENT AND CEO: Thanks for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, let's go to the issue of votes. What vote are you and Senator Hatch arguing over?

KIBBE: I think there are a lot of votes, but I think the one that frustrated me the most was not a vote but was his partnership with Ted Kennedy to create a new health care entitlement which is now called S-CHIP. That was Hillary Clinton's strategy after the failure of Clinton care to add government healthcare population by population from the top down.

VAN SUSTEREN: That was about 15 years ago. And the senator said it was one vote in about 12,000 votes?

KIBBE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you like Governor Romney?

KIBBE: I think he is better than Barack Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor Romney has endorsed Senator Hatch?

KIBBE: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: And your board is C. Boyden, Gray. He has endorsed Senator Hatch.

KIBBE: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Also on your board is Steve Forbes, and he has endorsed Senator Hatch.

KIBBE: Yes, he has.

VAN SUSTEREN: So I guess I'm a little bit curious how you can isolate this vote and suddenly with all the seniority of Senator Hatch, why would you want to push him on out? If the Senate is taken by Republicans why would a group from Washington, D.C. want to put push out a veteran U.S. senator?

KIBBE: For a couple reasons. First of all, our power as an organization comes from the activists that we partner with. It was the activists in Utah that came to us and said, would you help us unseat Senator Hatch? They were our partners when we replaced Senator Bennett with the Tea Party rock star Mike Lee.

VAN SUSTEREN: I went to their website. It's quote "under construction." It seems like it's been disbanded, local FreedomWorks you partner with in Utah. I tried to look on the website.

KIBBE: That is not FreedomWorks. It's the pro-Hatch group. It's called Freedom Path.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think so. I got linked to your website. But what is so peculiar, though, is that your organization is an outside of Utah. You spent $700,000 to unseat Senator Hatch and you spent zero opposing Democrats and you spent $173,000 against President Obama. So it looks like you got something on Senator Hatch, because you have Governor Romney endorsing him. You like Congressman Chaffetz, right?

KIBBE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: He is a surrogate for Governor Romney. So those two --

KIBBE: He was thinking about running against Orrin Hatch and is highly critical of his record as a fiscal conservative.

VAN SUSTEREN: But he's a surrogate, and having the endorsement of Governor Romney who has done an ad and endorses Senator Hatch. It goes full circle. There's something funny about that.

KIBBE: Let's talk about the money. Orrin Hatch raised $5.7 million to solicit some 2,000 votes in the convention. About 89 percent of that came from out of the state of Utah. So you are talking about --

VAN SUSTEREN: Both of you guys are out of state.

KIBBE: Our $700,000, his $5.7 million -- I don't think that suggests that FreedomWorks is pouring all this outside money. We are focused now on disciplining certain Republicans that have grown the size of government, because our goal is not just take the Senate for Republicans, but actually have a fiscally conservative Senate. And we can't do that --

VAN SUSTEREN: If you look at his record as a fiscal conservative -- and I don't care if he is elected, but if you look at his record, Senator Orrin Hatch introduced a balanced budget the cornerstone of the Tea Party movement. And FreedomWorks is a Tea Party movement, would you agree with that?

KIBBE: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: So he has done it year after year on the balanced budget amendment. I know you are critical of him because he voted to raise the debt ceiling a number of times. Your leader of FreedomWorks, former Congressman Dick Armey, he raised it including the last year in Congress.

KIBBE: Let's talk about one thing at that time. The balanced budget management, he had been co-sponsoring the balanced budget amendment his entire career. It's important to understand in 1997 when he offered his first balanced budget amendment, he decided.

VAN SUSTEREN: In 177, he introduced the first one, I thought?

KIBBE: He didn't introduce it in `77. He introduced it in 97.

VAN SUSTEREN: In 77 -- I have to look it up.

KIBBE: Paul Simon, the progressive democrat from Illinois wrote a balanced budget amendment, because he wanted to grow the size of government. How did he do it? He didn't require anything more than a simple majority to raise taxes. Paul Simon ran to the left of Jesse Jackson in 1998. When Orrin Hatch introduced his first BBA, he took Paul Simon's. That is not a fiscal conservative because my view is we should balance the budget by limiting the sizes of government. You can raise the taxes through the ceiling to do that.

Look at the entitlement programs. Why is it you are constantly trying to pass a balanced budget amendment but constantly growing the size of government --

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is one that you didn't like, which you mentioned.

(Sen. Orrin Hatch's 'On the Record' Interview - 4/20/12)

KIBBE: It's not one. We have published 32 pages, and it's on our website FreedomWorksforAmerica.com. Anybody can look at our documentation. We've gotten our facts right. And the idea is --

VAN SUSTEREN: We got to go, but I actually looked at the research, and even your criticism of the education vote, and I disagree with that. But we need to do a lot of time, because there is a lot we disagree on. But we'll do it again.

KIBBE: OK, we'll do it again.

VAN SUSTEREN: Matt, thank you.