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OTR Interviews

Christie: Obama one of worst presidents in history

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 7, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, ON THE RECORD, blunt-talking Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is here.

Now we just got back from New Hampshire where the garden state governor made his case why he should be your next president.

And an added bonus, Governor Christie's wife, Mary Pat Christie, joins the interview. But right now Governor Chris Christie goes ON THE RECORD.

Governor, nice to see you.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm happy to be back, Greta. Thanks for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Back in New Hampshire, but where are we?

CHRISTIE: We're at east coast lumber today and this is the beginning of a three-day tour. We're going to be taking up here in New Hampshire.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, let's talk jobs. People are talking a lot about student loans. Getting youthful people jobs and that's great. But what about the person who's over 50 who loses a job.

Do you have any sort of idea for that person?

CHRISTIE: Well, first off, you have to have economic growth to help that person. An economy that's growing will create all kinds of new jobs. That's why we put forward the tax and regulatory plan we did. But we also have to intersperse that with education.

You know, folks who lose their job at that age need to get some new skill sets as well, that's why we've talk about really trying to intertwine our economic growth program with using community colleges to get people some new skills. To be able to start anew if that's what they have to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why has the recovery been sluggish in terms of many economists?

CHRISTIE: I think for few reasons. One, because taxes are too high. The tax code is too complicated and because regulation is just overbearing. Right now $10,000 per employee is what small businesses pay just to comply with federal regulations.

The Obama administration has been the most regulating government that we've had in the history of our country. They're in every part of it and we need to get them out. The first thing I'm going to do is look for every Obama bureaucrat I could find as president and fire them.

VAN SUSTEREN: I talked to Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch about a year ago and he said that he wanted to change the tax code, but the problem is that he couldn't do it. That has become his -- it's impossible to change things on Capitol Hill. He doesn't have the filibuster-proof Senate.

If you didn't have a filibuster-proof Senate, how are you going to change taxes and streamline that tax code?

CHRISTIE: We have to make it to exactly what they did with ObamaCare which is not worry about the filibuster. The president didn't worry about the filibuster. ObamaCare passed with 51 votes. What we need to do is to get the Senate to understand that the American people are not going to put up with the excuses that if they didn't have 60 votes, they're not going to do anything.

They need a strong president who's going to bring them into the White House and tell them this stuff needs to be done for the American people. And if you can't do it, then we're going to go over your head to the American people and make sure the American people force them to do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's wrong with Congress? I heard you say on Sunday that you'd rather jump off the Brooklyn Bridge than be in Congress.

What's wrong with them?

CHRISTIE: They get nothing done.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why?

CHRISTIE: You know, because I think they're more concerned with keeping their jobs than they're concerned with getting the job than. Everybody loves their titles down there, Mr. Chairman this, Mr. Some Committee Chairman that.

I mean, who cares? The American people are so tired of it and they've been tired of this Congress when Democrats were in control, when it was a split Congress, now the Republicans are in control.

I'll tell you, we're not particularly disappointed in the Republican Congress. We gave them the majority in both houses. I worked real hard to try to get folks elected throughout the country to the United States Senate last year, and yet no tax reform has gone to the president's desk. No repeal and replacement of ObamaCare. No defunding of Planned Parenthood.

The things that we really stand for and care about. The Republican agenda is not being put on the president's desk. If he wants to veto it, let him veto it, but then at least the American people know where the Democrat stands and where we stand. Congress is ineffectively and a strong president, they'll change it.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. In light of that although you don't have a vote and neither do I, are you team Chaffetz or team McCarthy for a speaker?

CHRISTIE: I'm team America is what I am. And I think, you know, I just hope the next speaker is effective and get some things done, although I'm skeptical. I'm skeptical that it can be done under the current circumstance because this president doesn't want to get involve either. He doesn't want Congress to be effective. He wants to do things by Executive Order. That's why this president has been one of the worst in American history, because he doesn't want to work with Congress.

Even when the Democrats were in charge, he didn't want to work with them. So I don't know. It doesn't matter to me at this point, quite frankly. What matters much more is that Congress show they can do something, anything, to try to move the American people's agenda forward. They forget it's not their agenda, it's the American people's agenda.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let's jump to the other side of the world, to Syria. And the report today is that Russian planes are shadowing our U.S. drones over Syria.

CHRISTIE: Just when you think it can't get worse, it does. And I'll ask you, Greta, is there anyone home at the White House? The Russians are now attacking repeatedly now with missiles rebel positions in Syria to try to prop up Assad. This whole thing was an absolute farce. The idea that Russia was going in there to help fight ISIS. There's no interest in helping fight ISIS. They have an interest in making sure that Assad stays in power.

And anybody, both in our party and the president, who believes that Russia is there to help ISIS is just painfully naive and is putting the American people and the people in that region at greater risk.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So did President Obama do something really wrong from a strategic point of view? What would a governor -- a President Chris Christie do today about it?

CHRISTIE: His weakness and his timidity across the world has allowed people to take advantage of us. He's allowed our military to go downhill in terms of our hardware and our ability to fight. He's allowed Russia back into the Middle East. He invited them back in. Can you imagine inviting the Russians back into the Middle East?

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think he did that?

CHRISTIE: Because I just don't think he gets it. I don't think he gets it. He thinks -- he's so arrogant that he thinks that his charm is going to be able to bring anybody around.

Well, Putin is not interested in being charmed by Barack Obama. And his missiles rain down on CIA-trained rebels, trying to fight against an Assad government that's killed a quarter of a million people. They're understanding that Barack Obama's charm doesn't work on Vladimir Putin. That's not the way you work with Vladimir Putin.

What would a President Christie do? Immediately put a no-fly zone into effect. Make sure that the Russians understood, you want to fight ISIS, you fight ISIS with us. You're not going to fight ISIS, get out.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald Trump says that Putin would respect him. He doesn't respect President Obama.

CHRISTIE: Well, I don't think he'd respect him when he says things like, you know, he'd let ISIS and the Russians fight because we don't like either of them and then clean up the mess afterwards.

The Russians have no interest in fighting with ISIS. The Russians are there to prop up Assad. You need to understand that. That's what they're there for. And guess who they're teaming with, Iran.

I mean, you know, our new partners in Iran, in this nuclear deal. Let's be real clear about that. First day of the Christie presidency, I'll say two things. First is that we are for regime change in Iran. And secondly, that the Iranian mullahs need to understand they will never get a nuclear weapon during the Christie administration. If we need to take military action to prevent it, we'll do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about all the billions of dollars in sanctions relief that they're getting now. I spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu last week and he is worried about the fact that they're going to take that money and fuel all sorts of problems in the Middle East.

CHRISTIE: Of course, they are. They're going to fund Hezbollah and Hamas, like they are doing now, except they'll have even more money to do it. This is another part of the president and Hillary Clinton's follies. And she owns this, too. She supports this deal. She owns it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, she's sort of broken with the White House, with the president on whether there should be some sort of no-fly zone in Syria.

CHRISTIE: Yes. Well, every once in a while, she figures she's got to break with the White House. But on the major things, she's the architect of this foreign policy and she owns it as much as Barack Obama does. And the fact is she has said she supports the Iran deal. That's giving them those tens of billions of dollars. So she can't walk away from that. She owns it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Your prior career and we've spoken about this before, as U.S. attorney. And you bring up Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the e-mail situation. If this were within your district as U.S. attorney, what would you be doing right now.

CHRISTIE: We'll be working with the FBI to make sure I get a thorough investigation of both potential charges of obstruction of justice and mishandling of classified information. The fact is that I think she's got problems in both those areas. I'd be working with the FBI to make sure we got all the facts, all the information, interview all the witnesses we need to. And then if appropriate, to recommend that we bring charges to a grand jury.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so you wouldn't have a grand jury at this point?

CHRISTIE: Oh, I'd have a grand jury. They'd be the ones helping us to investigate.

VAN SUSTEREN: Right now? You'd already have them convened and presenting evidence.

CHRISTIE: And getting subpoenas.

VAN SUSTEREN: Already?

CHRISTIE: Already, sure. You got to get grand jury subpoenas to make sure you can use that evidence before the grand jury, absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kevin McCarthy, the Majority Leader said -- last week said -- made some reference to Benghazi as though it was a political committee and that's the reason Secretary Clinton's poll numbers have come down. He's taking a lot of heat for that.

CHRISTIE: Well, the reason Secretary Clinton's poll numbers come down is because the American people don't trust her, because she doesn't answer questions, because she comes to town halls and gets canned questions and she gives canned answers, because she doesn't know how to relate to people. That's why her poll numbers are going down.

Listen, what Congressman McCarthy said was ill-advised and he shouldn't have said it. And I know that Trey Gowdy doesn't believe that's a political committee. Trey Gowdy believes he's there trying to absolutely get answers for those families who lost their loved ones in Benghazi. And that's the most important thing.

And whatever Congressman McCarthy said, it was a bad thing for him to say. I think he was just trying to show off and it didn't work for him. But the more important thing is that's not why Hillary Clinton's numbers are going down. Her numbers are going down is because she is not transparent. She is not accountable to the American people. And at the beginning of her campaign, they see it and they know it. And they don't want it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think she's -- I mean, you know, why do you think she's not speaking out more about these emails?

CHRISTIE: Because she can't, Greta, because she set up the private e- mail server in her basement to avoid detection of what she was doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that what you think? It was to be deceitful? I mean, you certainly don't think she was trying to help out the Russians or the Chinese. She was not doing anything like that, but why do you think -- I mean, I'm perplexed why she had the server in the basement?

CHRISTIE: She's the most secretive person in American public life.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why?

CHRISTIE: Well, I guess she feels like she has to be. You know, you try to keep secrets when you think you need to.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where do you think this is going to lead?

CHRISTIE: You know, I don't know. But I'll tell you this, they charged David Petraeus from mishandling of classified information.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he transferred some information to a third party.

CHRISTIE: I understand. But it's still the mishandling of classified information, Greta. And they did the same thing with Sandy Berger. So there had been --

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he took stuff and put it in his socks and left.

CHRISTIE: I don't know. Is it worse to put it in your socks or put it in the server in your basement. Because in Sandy Berger's socks, the only person who could get it were people that went in Sandy Berger's socks. I don't think a lot of people were looking to do that, quite frankly. I know I wasn't. I hope that you were.

But a server? As you mentioned before, the Russians, the Chinese or two smart 18-year-olds off on a two could get in there and get that information. That's not the way we want the secretary of state of this country conducting herself. And she knows it was wrong. She knows it was wrong.

You know what? She's -- the only thing she's sorry for while she gave that great apology a couple of weeks back. She's only sorry she got caught.

VAN SUSTEREN: President Obama is going to Oregon. And with that mass shooting last week, some controversy, some people say he shouldn't go. Some are thrilled that he's going.

CHRISTIE: That's up to the president. You know, I've got enough problems managing my own travel schedule, I'm not going to manage the president's. I think what matters much more is what he says there.

What does he say? And does he try to continue to be divisive in this country or is he going to try to bring people together.

VAN SUSTEREN: What would you say?

CHRISTIE: What I would say is what happened there is an awful tragedy. And that what we need to focus on in this country is making sure that we're much more aggressive in our treatment of the mentally ill. Because every one of these mass shootings has one thing in common, a mentally ill perpetrator.

And the fact is we need to be more aggressive. In New Jersey, I've already recommended that twice now. The legislature has put forward to give doctors the ability to involuntary commit people who are speaking out violently.

You need to do that. We need to give doctors more tools to be able to protect society and protect those people from themselves, because you know what happens, Greta. Almost in every one of those occasions, almost every one, the person, the perpetrator winds up losing his or her life as well, often by their own hand.

And so we need to make sure that we get much more aggressive on mental illness in this country. The president wants to continue to parade around on gun violence. What the president should be concerned about is controlling violence in general.

And his liberal friends, the mayor of New York, mayor of Chicago, they're seeing their murder rates go up double digits, where is he on that except talking bad about the police in this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you travel around the country, the difference -- like Iowa versus New Hampshire, what's the difference? What do the people want in two different states? I know everybody fundamentally wants jobs and opportunity, but is there a difference in sort of what they're asking?

CHRISTIE: There's not a difference on what they're asking, it's just a little bit different how they ask it. You know, Iowans are a little more laid back. A little more reserve. Folks here in New Hampshire are a little more aggressive, a little more out there.

So it's a difference in style, but I will tell you, that in both places, they're talking about jobs, about national security, terrorism and student debt. Those are the four things I hear about the most.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, this may be sort of a gimme because you're a governor. But we have senators running, we have governors running and we have business people and a doctor.

Do any of those experiences make anyone better qualified?

CHRISTIE: It will be the governor because you're actually having to make decisions every day and be held accountable for them. God knows we don't want anybody from Congress to be president again.

VAN SUSTEREN: So the senators, they're off to the side for you, the ones in running?

CHRISTIE: For me, they are. I mean, I just don't think we want another person whose only experience is being in the United States Senate.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess that would also -- of course, Secretary Clinton was at the State Department, and she was also next to the Oval Office for years.

CHRISTIE: She did a fabulous job at the State Department, didn't she? The world is on fire after what she and Barack Obama have done for the last nearly seven years. So I think that's a disqualifier, not a qualifier. And then the Senate would keep her out as well.

We need to have a governor. We need to have a governor be president of the United States. Someone who knows how to make decisions, who's not afraid to make decisions. Will enforce the law and knows that you're held accountable every day.

What the American people want from their leaders is accountability. They want them to stand up when things go right and when things go wrong. And say, hey, it's on my watch. I'm going to be accountable for it. You know, in the Senate, they always talk about how the bill got changed in the subcommittee. You know, enough of that. We have seven years now of a United States senator running the government. I don't think we want to repeat that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what about a businessperson? That would, of course, be Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump, their experience.

CHRISTIE: Well, I just think it's so much different. And I've said this before that, you know, if you -- if the speaker of the house won't post the bill that you want and get it to your desk, you can't fire them. And that's the CEO experience.

If someone is doing something they don't like, they fire them. You can't do that in the political world. So I think the experience is so different. I just think the governor is better suited. And you look at some of our greatest presidents, they have been governors.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, doctor, as experience.

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: As experience, I just don't think it's relevant.

VAN SUSTEREN: At all?

CHRISTIE: No. No.

VAN SUSTEREN: So let me ask you about being on the campaign trail. Exciting or exhausting, or what is it?

CHRISTIE: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Both of those?

CHRISTIE: Exciting and exhausting.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you wake up in the middle of the night thinking, why am I doing this, I'm exhausted?

CHRISTIE: Not yet.

VAN SUSTEREN: No?

CHRISTIE: Not yet. It's more like once I get home and I'm enjoying myself at home, I think, well, do I really want to go out and keep doing this? But I conclude that I do because I think our country needs tough, strong leadership, and I think I'm able to provide it.

And so what matters most to me is the ability to be able to provide that leadership for my country and to provide a better country for my kids and everybody else's kids. And so, yes.

Are there times when you're tired? You bet. And are there times where you kind of shake your head and wonder how crazy is this process and why do I want to be in the middle of it? Of course. But it's never strong enough to make me want to say, I don't want to do it. In fact, I want to do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you very much. Thank you.

CHRISTIE: Thanks, Great. Appreciate it.