This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 13, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Another tea party day -- it's tomorrow. It is called Tea Party 2.0. If you wanted to go to a tea party on April 15 but could not make it or there was none in your hometown, tomorrow's your big chance. But tomorrow's tea party is very different from the April 15 tea parties. How different? South Carolina governor Mark Sanford is one of the hosts of the tea party. He joins us live.
Good evening, Governor. And what is your tea party tomorrow? And how is it different than those tea parties on the 15th of April?
GOV. MARK SANFORD, R – S.C.: Let me give you a disclaimer up front, which is it won't be as good as the first round of tea parties. But I suspect there'll be Tea Party 2.0 and 3.0 and 4.0 and 5.0, and go down the list, because what I saw at the original tea party was a level of political energy that I've not seen in the last 15 years that I've been involved in the political process, and I think it's important that that energy gets harnessed toward creating change toward the conservative side.
I think that there is a genuine blowback across this country in reaction to what much of Obama and the administration and the Congress has laid out. And I think that whether it's in this 2.0 version that we're going to have or some other version, there's going to be a movement that's created.
And our 2.0 version, to give you a long sentence made a little bit shorter, is simply, via the Internet, inviting about 50,000 people to join us and having a conversation.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do they do? They log on a particular place, and will they be able to interact with you? I mean, how is this going to work?
SANFORD: It'll be somewhat awkward. I'm not a technology guy, and so it's been explained to me that myself and Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, will be on it, and we will basically -- there'll be questions submitted and we can answer them. So there'll be, at least in the awkward framework that you can have with a very large audience and two governors, something of a conversation. The idea is to learn more of what's happening at a grass roots level so that we can take those ideas and try and plug them into in places in our respective states and through the Republican Governors Association.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, when is this tea party? When does it begin? And is there a Web address or a phone number?
SANFORD: The Web address is GOPcomeback. I suspect on that Web site, there's a phone number. That's how computer unsavvy I am. As to...
VAN SUSTEREN: Time?
SANFORD: And so you can't really call in. It is via the Internet. And it takes place tomorrow night from about 8:30 to 9:30. So it's a shorter version.
You know, I went to three of the original tea parties across our state of South Carolina, and they were much longer. And it was amazing the number of people who turned out, trying to make their voice heard, and if not their voice heard, their presence known.
VAN SUSTEREN: What's going on with your party right now?
SANFORD: Well, we're doing some soul-searching. And I think that -- again, this may not be the right answer, but somebody's going to get it right with regard to how you take that political energy that really does exist with the silent majority that exists across America and give them a way of getting involved.
And obviously, one conduit is Republican governors, and I happen to be a fan of that particular way, given I'm chairman of the Republican Governors Association and working work with the likes of Sarah Palin or Rick Perry or Haley Barbour or Sonny Perdue. We'll go down the list.
But there are plenty of other revenues. And all I'm saying, and I guess what we're saying is we want to be part of the solution. We want to be out there listening to what the grass roots as saying. And I suspect other folks are going to have other conduits in terms of ways in which people can plug in and display the political energy that really is out there.
VAN SUSTEREN: When you talk about the grass roots -- I mean, I assume that's -- that's, you know, the Republican Party. The Democrats are perfectly happy with their candidate and president, for the most part. Where is the sort of the core discontent among the grass root Republicans? Is it taxes?
SANFORD: I think that that's certainly a unifying theme. You know, there was amazing energy at least at the tea parties that I went to around the idea of fair tax or equity in the tax system that they think has been lost with too much of a lobbyist-driven system in Washington or in state capitals across this country.
I would say that the other nexus that really seemed to draw a lot of energy was on the stimulus package, of people saying, Wait a minute, this is just too much, too soon. You cannot solve a problem of too much debt by issuing up more debt. You can't go out and print your way out of a problem. There's something artificial to what's going on here. So I would say taxes and spending, which is really the backbone of the traditional conservative movement and what was traditionally the Republican Party.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, where we left off was the whole -- the last time you and I spoke was about the stimulus package and whether or not you would accept any or all of it. Where did you end up? Are you taking some of it or all of it or none of it?
SANFORD: We're having something of a giant food fight on that front in South Carolina...
VAN SUSTEREN: That's what I figured.
SANFORD: ... as we speak. The senate today wrapped up their budget that basically had a clause in it compelling me to take $700 million that I pledged not to. What we said was we ought to hold some money back, set some money aside in reserve, use it to pay down debt because a prudent family, if they won the lottery, they'd go out and pay down the credit card balance or they'd pay off the mortgage, and we ought to be doing the same. We ought to be employing that same principles, the state. So we've sort of drawn a line around $700 million and said that really ought to go toward paying down our state's very sizable debt. And we're in the middle of that food fight right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, we'll continue to follow it and wait to see what happens with your food fight. Thank you, sir.
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