OTR Interviews

Mitt Romney versus President Obama: A difference of 'opportunity society' versus 'dependency society'?

Fla. Rep. Allen West sounds off on Mitt Romney's post-debate bounce, the state of his congressional challenge and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. ALLEN WEST, R-FLA.: Just a race between what is simply called the opportunity society versus the dependency society! And what you saw Wednesday night was when the opportunity society takes the stage with the dependency society, the opportunity society wins!



GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Turning up the heat in Florida, a fired-up Congressman Allen West rallying the crowd at a Romney campaign event. Well, there's no doubt about it, Florida is a big battleground state, and Congressman West is going to battle for Governor Romney. He joins us.

Nice to see you, sir.

WEST: It's a pleasure to be with you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm curious, sir, that sort of that -- the opportunity society versus the dependency society -- are you saying that President Obama's voters don't want jobs?

WEST: No, I'm not saying that President Obama's voters don't want jobs. Of course, everyone wants jobs. I'm talking about the policies between the Obama administration and what Mitt Romney is offering.

When you look at what happened in Saint Lucie County when Governor Romney was there on Sunday, you had close to 16,000 people that were there. They were there, coming from a county, here, that has almost a 13 percent unemployment rate. They don't want to be part of a dependency society.

They want people that are going to create the right type of tax and regulatory policies, access to capital policies that will allow our small businesses to get back to being open and also to return production and manufacturing to this country.

They don't want to see the policies that continue to go from 26 weeks of unemployment benefits out to 99 weeks. They don't want to be part of a society that goes from 32 million Americans on food stamps to 47 million Americans. They don't want to be part of a society that has gone to 9.3 million more Americans on poverty.

That's what the dependency society gives you. And plus, with that, the expansion of the federal government. You get $16 trillion of debt and you get four straight years of trillion-dollar-plus deficits. We have to move away from that.

VAN SUSTEREN: I suspect if President Obama were here, he would say that what he has done is to give people opportunity, that you need to sort of jump-start people, you need to give them a little help every once in a while just to get them sort of jump started. How do you answer him to that remark?

WEST: I would say, Mr. President, you gave us some $800 billion to $900 billion of a stimulus package. First of all, you said that unemployment would never go above 8 percent. It remained at 8 percent for 43 -- or above for 43 straight months.

And even still, you said that right now, unemployment would be somewhere between 5.8 percent to 6 percent. So you haven't jump-started anything. As a matter of fact, all you did was you wasted almost a trillion dollars of American taxpayer money, and you continue to see yourself as a venture capitalist, using American taxpayer money for failed companies that you want to try to pick based upon your own policies.

This is about taking our tax code and taking these tax rates and bringing them down so that we can infuse capital into the pockets of the job creators and the entrepreneurs. This is about looking to the trillions of dollars of capital that's sitting offshore and bringing that capital back onshore by allowing the repatriation.

This is about looking at our corporate business tax rate and lowering it. And with those things, we have to lower those exemptions and deductions. I think that we have to look at keeping the mortgage interest deduction, maybe charitable contributions so that we can continue to have a benevolent group of Americans that can take care of others.

But everything about President Obama's vision, his philosophy of governance and his policies have failed. So I'd be happy to have a chat with the president on what you just talked about.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the -- in two nights, we're going to have -- we're going to have the vice presidential debate. And I'm curious what you want to hear vice presidential candidate -- candidate Paul Ryan say about Medicare in light of the fact that you have a lot of Medicare recipients in Florida.

WEST: All I want Paul Ryan to do is to tell the truth. I want Paul Ryan to say that the actuaries of Medicare and Social Security have said that in 2024, Medicare goes bankrupt. And Joe Biden can sit up and try to criticize Paul Ryan, but to do nothing means that we lose the Medicare program for our seniors right now.

We have a proposal that is on the table that will protect and preserve Medicare. And one of the things that I look at -- just last week, we have a new mandate that came down from the Affordable Care Act that says that seniors, if they return back to a hospital within 30 days of a visit, the hospital will receive a fine.

I don't think those are the type of policies going to help Medicare. Those are not the type of policies going to help our seniors. And taking $716 billion out of Medicare, $517 billion in part A, $247 billion in part B -- that's not what our seniors down here in south Florida want. And they are definitely afraid about the reimbursement rates that are being lowered and doctors taking them off of their Medicare coverage.

So Paul Ryan just needs to talk about the facts and watch Joe Biden run scurrying like rats off the Titanic.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you, sir.

WEST: Always a pleasure, Greta.