Published January 14, 2015
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 5, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The White House insists there is a disinformation campaign meant to stop the president's health care campaign. In a blog at WhiteHouse.gov titled "Facts are stubborn things," the White House gives an e-mail address where people can report "fishy" speech opposing the Democrats' health care plan.
Apparently, Republican senator John Cornyn is disturbed by the White House blog. In a letter to the president, Senator Cornyn writes to him in part, "I'm not aware of any precedent for a president asking American citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure political speech that is deemed `fishy.' You should not be surprised that these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program. As Congress debates health care reform and other critical policy matters, citizen engagement must not be chilled by fear of government monitoring the exercise of free speech rights."
Former senator Rick Santorum joins us live.
RICK SANTORUM, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA SENATOR: God bless John Cornyn! Great!
VAN SUSTEREN: Wild stuff is going on!
SANTORUM: Great letter! Oh, it's -- well, first, a great letter for John Cornyn. Thank you for standing up for the folks, who are not organized by community organizers but are organized by information that they're getting, not disinformation, real information, of actually what's in the bill, the things that Barack Obama actually didn't know about when he was asked questions about what's actually in the bill. People are actually reading the bill. They're understanding what's in there, and they don't like it and they're showing up.
I've watched probably seven or eight YouTube videos from these congressional town hall meetings, and they're not people looking like you and me. These are folks -- a lot of these people...
VAN SUSTEREN: They're better-looking!
SANTORUM: They're better-looking.
VAN SUSTEREN: Right.
SANTORUM: There -- there are a lot of people -- seniors. I mean, seniors realize that the Democrat bill calls for half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts! Now, ordinary people realize that what you're talking about here is taking away choices from them about health care. And I remember one of them -- one of the most compelling YouTube videos I saw was a woman at Keith Ellison's -- who's a congressman from -- from -- from I guess Minnesota -- who talked -- who stood up and said, You know, I'm -- my father has very bad cancer and has a 15 percent survival. He's at the Mayo Clinic. We may lose the farm. And I thought, Oh, here we go. We're going to have some liberal talk about losing the farm. She says, You know what? In Norway, you can't get this drug. In Britain, you can't get -- it's illegal in Canada. You -- because it's an expensive drug. And there's one thing worse than losing your farm, and that's losing your dad!
I mean, that's the kind of passion we're seeing! This is not put up by anybody! This is Americans who know we don't have a perfect health care system, but we can't lose what we do have, and Obama will take it away from us!
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm surprised that -- I mean, and this whole debate about the health care -- obviously, and what this bill is and whether anyone'll read it and all those important issues and (INAUDIBLE) I'm surprised, though, that the president or his staff would let anything go out that sort of shows it got under his skin. I mean, insulting protesters -- I mean, if nothing (INAUDIBLE) I represent (ph) protesters (INAUDIBLE) agreed with (INAUDIBLE) but you know, the 1st Amendment is so important. And to say "fishy" and -- it seemed -- it seemed like it got under their skin. It was small.
SANTORUM: Calling -- the DNC going out with an ad calling ordinary Americans showing up at town hall meetings -- I saw -- you had a clip of Arlen Specter's town hall meeting. I've had many town hall meetings in Pittsburgh. Never have I seen a crowd like that! I mean, this is -- that's an enormous crowd, lots of seniors, which you would expect. And these were not orchestrated folks. I'm telling you, these are real folks. And they're not angry mobs. And for the DNC to call them that is a slap in the face of ordinary Americans, whether you agree with President Obama or not on this, and for the White House to put a -- you know, a KGB-like operation in place to for you to report citizens who are saying bad things about the president -- I mean, this is -- this is...
VAN SUSTEREN: Not threatening. Not threatening things. We're talking about just things in about the bill -- I mean...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... go to the Secret Service.
SANTORUM: ... go to jail, fine.
VAN SUSTEREN: Right.
SANTORUM: But if you're saying things about what the president's bill is about, and you're in most cases, probably telling the truth, unlike what they are doing, you're now going to be reported to the White House. That's not good!
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I'll tell you what's interesting, that Claire McCaskill, Democratic senator from the state of Missouri -- she tweeted. In fact, you should follow her on Twitter if you aren't because it's always fun to follow senators. But she says she disagrees with the people showing concern over some health care proposals are, quote, "manufactured." These are real folks, strong opinions. So she's backing off this. She apparently -- she must not like the attack on the protesters.
SANTORUM: Well, she's going to back off -- and here's my prediction. Very few town meetings between now and the end of next month, end of this month. Yes, I think you're going to see the Democrats pull the plug on town meetings. Go away! They -- they...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know what they -- you know what I -- I'm fine on that. I think the members of Congress -- you know, I know that -- I mean, this is a recess, but this is like breaking news in our business. You work anyway at such an important time. I don't care that it's a recess. You know, when there's breaking news, I'm in here in this chair.
VAN SUSTEREN: It doesn't make a difference. They should be visiting hospitals. We went to the Cleveland Clinic yesterday. They should be talking to doctors. I mean, they should be really hustling and learning stuff!
SANTORUM: They're not going to. They've seen the YouTube videos. And I guarantee you, members of Congress are going to hide for the next month.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, they got -- they got a vote in a month.
SANTORUM: Yes. Well, but -- but they -- today's news, yesterday's news, all of this news that's going on right now is not helping Barack Obama. And I'm telling you, the White House is going to say, Pull the plug on those town meetings, or if you're going to have a tow meetings, issue tickets. Make sure that you have the people -- the right people there. Make them an orchestrated event.
VAN SUSTEREN: They'll be protesting outside.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean -- I mean, they...
SANTORUM: ... they probably aren't going to do anything! I think they're going to walk!
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, so -- but -- but what are the members of Congress and the Senate doing right now (INAUDIBLE) what should they be doing? I hope they're investigating. You know, I'm sick of them sitting up in their office fielding constituent calls. I think they should actually be pounding the pavement, looking to see what works. You know, like I said, we went to the Cleveland Clinic yesterday to see what works. They should go to places to see what doesn't work and what works, do their homework.
SANTORUM: We know what works. We know what reforms are out there that are necessary to make change. That's not -- and I -- one point we have to -- this is not what Obama's about. He's not about reforming the system. It is about taking government control of the health care system. That's what this is about. It is not about fixing what's broken. It's about changing it from a system that is run by the private sector -- for example, I'll give you one great example, Medicare. There's one part of Medicare, it's called Medicare Advantage, that is private sector. It's private sector-run. It's a managed care program that is -- that the government gives money out and seniors can -- can have a private sector -- completely private sector experience in Medicare. He wants to shut it down.
So I'm telling you, he wants to pull you over into a government-run plan where he can control...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well...
SANTORUM: ... the health care system!
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think it's a mistake to alienate the American people and people who are protesting and insult them or even try to chill their rights. I think that'll backfire on him.
SANTORUM: It is backfiring on him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, Senator, thank you, sir.
SANTORUM: Thank you.
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