OTR Interviews

Marco Rubio: Ted Cruz is a calculated conservative

GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio goes 'On the Record' on what he would do in his first day in office if elected president, how he'd handle Boko Haram, his latest war of words with Ted Cruz over a controversial campaign ad and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 31, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, a very special Sunday edition OF ON THE RECORD. We're coming to you live from Des Moines, Iowa, wherein just 24 hours, Iowans will turn out to caucus and officially kick off the 2016 election season

Really all the candidates, Democrats and Republicans are storming Iowa. ON THE RECORD has been out in the field, talking to the candidates, investigating their ground games and talking to caucus goers. But right now, a major winter storm is threatening to derail what could potentially be a record caucus turnout.

But first, this busy special Sunday edition of ON THE RECORD kicks off with Senator Marco Rubio going on the record for Davenport, Iowa. Good evening, Senator.


VAN SUSTEREN: It's really nice to see you. So tell me, Senator, if you are elected president in the first four hours when you get back to the White House after the inaugural parade, what are you doing that first four hours?

RUBIO: Well, I'm going to repeal every single one of Barack Obama's unconstitutional amendments. That means the end to all these EPA rulings, the end to DAPA, which should be end of -- to DACA as well, eventually. I mean that needs to wind down.

Also the end to all of the -- this federal funding of abortions overseas, that has to come to an end immediately as well. And so we look forward to getting rid of all those things. The deal with Iran, I'll cancel it on my first day in office.

VAN SUSTEREN: Today, there was news that in Nigeria, Boko Haram attacked, about 96 people were killed. Many of then were children that were burned to death. Is that any of our business? And if you're president, what are you going to do about that or not do about that?

RUBIO: Well, let me tell you why it becomes our business, because these sorts of terrorist attacks, where they start triggering a migratory crisis and those migratory crises eventually destabilize our allies. And eventually in the United States, we're having a huge debate in this country now about what to do with Syrian refugees that are trying to come to America. They're trying to come here because Assad is barrel bombing and - - using chemical weapons, and also because ISIS is beheading people and committing incredible brutality.

So you see it's already infringing on Europe, but it's also now a big issue here in the United States. So these sorts of instability around the world ultimately impacts the United States. It also, by the way, allows Boko Haram, which is a group that now has pledged allegiance to ISIS, it allows ISIS to establish one more affiliate, one more place from which they can conduct operations against our interests, our allies and eventually the homeland as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what do you do? I mean, it's a terrible situation and you've laid out why it affects the United States and why people in here Iowa should care about even something so far away as Boko Haram doing to Nigerians. So you've laid out that case. So what can you do as president? Or what should you do? Or what should the United States do?

RUBIO: Well, we need to lead a global coalition to defeat ISIS and it needs to be made up primarily of Sunni Arabs who form the bulk of the ground force. We'll imbed special operators with them. It means increasing the number of air strikes that we're taking, sharing logistical and intelligent support. Getting for example, not just Sunni tribes armed and working with the Kurds, but also ensuring that Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and other Sunni countries like the gulf kingdoms, begin to provide ground forces as well.

They have an immediate vested interest in the defeat of this radical group ISIS. Their core of operations today are in Iraq and -- I'm sorry, in Syria. And so, if we could eliminate the hub, the core of that, I think it begins to have an impact on their affiliates as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Cruz says a vote for you is a vote for amnesty. You say what?

RUBIO: Well, Senator Cruz has built his campaign on this falsehood that he's the only conservative in the race. The truth is Ted Cruz is a supporter of legalizing people that were here illegally. and he was is supporter up until he was called out on it, and then had to flip his position in order to keep up this false image that he's tried to create.

He designed George W. Bush's immigration plan on his campaign. He told CBS News in an interview that he wanted to come up with a reasonable compromise on people that were here illegally. He talked about bringing people out of the shadows. He sponsored an amendment in the Senate that would have done so, and legalized people that were here illegally.

Because, at least, at the time, he understood what most Americans do, and that is we have an issue that we need to deal with. But we cannot deal with it until we first enforce our immigration laws. We have to security our border first. And once that has happened and it is working, then I think the American people are willing to do something very reasonable, but responsible with someone who's been here for a long time, who's not a dangerous criminal, who can pass a background check, learns English, pays a huge fine, starts paying taxes, because they're gainfully employed and all they want is a work permit.

That won't happen. None of that will happen until we first secure our borders and make sure that it is working and prove it to the American people.

But Ted has been very calculated. Not just on this issue, but on a host of issues. He goes to New York and raises a bunch of money from New Yorkers and then comes to Iowa and attacks New York values, for example, you know.

So, again, I think that this campaign has gone on and people have learned more about him, they've realized he's not a consistent conservative. He's a politically calculated one.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, you bring up the issue of money. Everybody does it. Every candidate, both parties, and everybody has these big super PACs. Everybody does, the super PAC that is supporting you has, I think, raised $30 million in this past year. Do you have any problem, or does it bother you, the super PACs with all the money. Everybody does it, I admit it. Do you have any problem with that? Because if you're a little Iowa farmer, you're probably not in a Super PAC.

RUBIO: First of all, people always buy into my agenda, I don't buy into theirs. When someone gives money to me, it's because they're buying into what I stand for. And that's why there are people that don't give me money and instead, contribute to somebody else.

Number two, you have to have the ability to defend yourself. Jeb Bush's Super PAC has raised over $100 million. It has spent about a third to over a quarter of it against me alone in attacks. So we've got to be able to respond to these things.

And the third thing is, look, the media is keep charging us with commercials. I mean, I hear all this criticism of Super PACs in the media but the media charges us to run commercials. So we -- and that's just on the campaign side that's also through of these groups.

They have a First Amendment Right, American citizens do, to speak out on political issues. The labor unions spent unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. So we've got to have the resources available to set the record straight. Obviously, there's a way to bring some sanity to the process. I'd be open to that, but we're not going to unilaterally disarm in this environment where we already have to face down incredible amount ...

VAN SUSTEREN: I agree. Can't be unilateral because everybody's doing it - - and everybody is doing it.

Senator, I've got to go. And I know you have to go. You got a busy 24 hours. Thank you very much for joining us. We'll be watching you. Good luck, sir.

RUBIO: Thank you.