Cain: Obama Iraq Troop Drawdown 'Purely Motivated for Political Reasons'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 7, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: A Republican will face off against President Obama in 2012. Eight of them Republicans squared off tonight in another series of debates. Joining us is one of those presidential contenders, former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, Mr. Herman Cain. Good evening, sir.

And already I've seen the press release from your campaign -- an hour and 45 minute debate, you had only five questions and less than six minutes. We'll give you more time here usually "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Tell me how do we make these debates more effective for the candidates and the viewers and the voters?

HERMAN CAIN, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The way you make them more effective is, first of all, even if we get less questions Greta, I think you should give the candidates at least a minute and a half to answer the question.

Secondly, they need to show a little bit more equity in terms of giving everybody an opportunity to answer, you know, the serious issues.

And the third thing is I would structure them where most of the questions focus on the really big issues that the American people care about. We talked a lot about the economy. We talked a little bit about foreign policy, but I don't think we talked enough about foreign policy. We talked a little bit about energy, but I didn't get an opportunity, because of the structure to talk more about my energy approach.

Now, the good news is, I did get a chance to talk about by bellwether central issue, my nine-nine-nine economic growth and jobs plan. That's what I wanted to drive home, and I did get an opportunity to do that a couple of times.

VAN SUSTEREN: So I'm not going to ask you about that, so let me ask you about foreign policy since it was a little bit short on foreign policy. The big issue is whether or not the president is going to draw down to 3,000 troops in Iraq. What do you think about that idea if indeed that is the president's plan?

CAIN: I believe that's a bad idea, Greta. Once again, this president did not listen to the expanders on the ground. The commanders on the ground do not agree with that, just like the commanders on the ground didn't agree with the drawdown in Afghanistan. That's very scary in terms of foreign policy and our position in the world. So I don't agree with it. Why? Because the commanders on the ground don't agree with it. They believe it is too much, too fast. And I believe it is going to leave the 3,000 there vulnerable.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's what I don't understand. It seems to me -- I really can't believe the president isn't listening to his commanders. I'm a little suspicious there are commanders telling him 3,000 is fine. Is there any reason why you think, if it is true, that he doesn't have any commanders support him, why would he go ahead and do this, just sort of freelancing without consulting commanders?

CAIN: Two reasons, in my opinion. One, to carry out a campaign programs, and secondly to create a distraction. This president has nothing to talk about in terms of his record on the economy, zero new jobs created. They are trying to get away from that.

So if he -- if next year he can say we have pulled out all of the troops out of Iraq, then that will give him something to brag about, along with the taking out of Usama bin Laden. The American people are not that stupid.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you really think he would do that? Risking 3,000 people that he would do it not because he thought it was good judgment and his advisers telling him, but simply for political reasons? You are saying he's putting 3,000 people at risk and risking Iran moving into Iraq and destabilizing the whole region. To do it for political reasons is incredibly horrible. Do you really believe that -- do you think that's truly why he would do that?

CAIN: Greta, unfortunately, I do. Let me tell you why. If you look at the Afghanistan scenario, we had nearly 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. The surge was working. Why would he announce to the world that he's going to reduce by the third over the next year and then send an e-mail to the enemy that this is how are going to draw down and this is when we are going to do it? It puts those that are left at greater risk. So he didn't just do this once. He has now done it twice. I believe it is purely motivated for political reasons.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Cain we have 30 seconds left. Are you going to listen to tomorrow night's speech by the president?

CAIN: I am going to painfully listen to the president's speech tomorrow fight. But, Greta, I'm expecting zero substance, same old, same old. And that is going to be bad for the 14 million people tar wishing this economy would turn around.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Cain, thank you. I think you get more than that less than six minutes you get in the debate you get when you come here, so I hope you come back often.


CAIN: I love it. Thank you very much. My pleasure.