This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 28, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: There is continued very grim news out of Afghanistan, and our nation is standing by, waiting for President Obama to make important life-or-death decisions as to what our nation is going to do in that country. This month, October 2009, it is not even over yet, is now the deadliest month of the entire eight-year war in Afghanistan. Fifty- five U.S. troops have been killed this month. How much longer can President Obama debate a decision about the war?
Former senator Rick Santorum joins us. Senator, as we look at these horrendous numbers -- and this is a very important decision, a tough decision for our president, but we need this decision. You know, what's -- what's taking him -- do you have any clue, or is this just he's using the time because it's -- it needs more thought?
RICK SANTORUM, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA SENATOR: I'd like to think that it's just needs more thought, but the fact of the matter is, we heard from Vice President Cheney just a little over a week ago that there was a complete vetting, a new -- a bottom-up review, if you will, by the generals in Afghanistan, and they handed to the president in January a new plan, a lain-out counterinsurgency strategy that was recommended by General Petraeus in Iraq, a similar one now for Afghanistan, the war that President Obama said was the right war. He was given that strategy, and he sat on it and did nothing, then, subsequently, authorized this review by General McChrystal.
We heard from General McChrystal that he didn't communicate with the president or the White House for some 70 days, was not able to get any kind of audience with the president, and then finally, when that became public, the administration started to pay attention to it, got the report in August, two months ago, and has sat on it since then.
So it's hard to believe that he's really routed (ph) a lot of attention to this issue, other than to just wait and putting other things that he thought were more important in front of him, like his domestic agenda, particularly health care.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is -- though, was a wrench put into the works, though, not the president's fault, when the -- when the election -- with the fraud in the election? Because now we don't know what civilian government we're really dealing with in Afghanistan. There's going to be an election runoff in early November. I think it's the 7th of November. And at least post- then, we'll know who we're dealing with as we try to work both our military options as they affect the civilian government there or -- and we have to work with them in some way. So do you give the president some latitude?
SANTORUM: Well, look, you know, the fact of the matter is we've had soldiers deployed in the field the entire length of the Obama administration without a plan, without any word from this administration as to what they -- how they want to accomplish victory. They've been very critical of the previous president's plan, and legitimately so, but they have done nothing to change that. They have done nothing to give a prescription for victory.
And you can say they're waiting for the election. Well, why weren't they doing something, you know, nine months before the election that may have actually had an impact on the election? I think the election they're waiting for, Greta, is not the one in Afghanistan. The one they're waiting for is the election next week here in America. They don't want to alienate their base.
You saw the president in Virginia today, campaigning for Creigh Deeds. You hear him up -- or you saw him in New Jersey. These are very important races for this president not because of Afghanistan, but because of his domestic agenda. That's what this president is focused on. He's focused on health care, cap-and-trade, you know, the employee free choice, the union bill. Those are the things he really wants to accomplish, and he sees Afghanistan as simply a problem that he's got to figure out how to -- how to politically get out of instead of a mission that we must successfully accomplish.
VAN SUSTEREN: I realize that you and I don't have the information that people on the inside have, but based on at least what we know, what would you do about Afghanistan?
SANTORUM: Well, look, what we saw in Iraq was a counterinsurgency strategy that worked. We understand that Afghanistan is a bigger country. It's a much more complex country. But we have a model that has worked, and we have generals who have come forward, assessed the differences between Iraq and Afghanistan, and have suggested that that strategy can and will work in Afghanistan.
My sense is that we have an obligation to support our generals in the field, to give them the resources they need to accomplish the mission. That was not done by the prior administration. Let's be very clear about that. They put their own political imprint on the Afghan strategy. And my concern is that Barack Obama is going to do the same thing and try to middle-ground it here and not give the generals the resources they need to be successful.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir.
SANTORUM: My pleasure. Thank you, Greta.
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