Former Governor Proud of Ohioans for Rejecting Union-Busting Law

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 8, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTERN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now a leader of the crusade against the Ohio union-busting law, former Ohio governor, Ted Strickland, joins us. Good evening, sir. And on the one hand, you got a victory on this collective bargaining, on issue number 2. And on issue number 3, it looks like you got the flip side of the coin.

So tell me, first of all, I'm curious, on the collective bargaining, what is the governor now to do to sort of manage the budget of the state of Ohio? He can't do it via the curbing of the collective bargaining rights.

TED STRICKLAND, FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: Well, Greta, this Senate Bill 5 had very little to do with Ohio's fiscal circumstances. It had everything to do with the attempt to consolidate political power. And I think that's why Republicans, as well as Democrats and independents, have cast the citizens' veto, because they recognize that this was an unfair piece of legislation.

And people came out across Ohio in large numbers today. I'm very proud of Ohioans. And the people have spoken, and I -- you know, the governor is going to have to decide what his response is, but I am very proud of Ohioans tonight.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you very proud of the Ohioans that they sent a message that they don't like this health care business? Are you proud of them on that, as well?

STRICKLAND: Well, quite frankly, as -- you know, as was recently said on this program, what happens with the health care legislation will be determined by the federal courts. And so this vote in Ohio was -- was fairly meaningless in terms of its effect upon what actually happens ultimately in terms of the Affordable Care Act. And so...

VAN SUSTEREN: It may be...

STRICKLAND: So consequently, there was not a lot of effort put into this effort in Ohio. It was largely an issue that was not fought hard on either side.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you say it's meaningless, but I think to the many voters who voted for it, and rather overwhelmingly voted for it, it was not particularly meaningless. And it does send a signal that must be sort of rattling those people who like the national health care. I don't think it's quite as meaningless to the voters, I mean, it certainly doesn't look by the numbers.

STRICKLAND: Well, Greta, the fact is that there was very little campaigning done on this issue. I think people voted for, you know, reasons that were perhaps not fully understood, but...

VAN SUSTEREN: Are they dumb? Are you saying that they're uninformed?

STRICKLAND: The reason there was not -- the reason there was not a real campaign on this issue is because everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, understood that ultimately, the federal courts will decide whether or not a federal mandate regarding health care is constitutional. And so it was a symbolic victory for those opposed to the Affordable Care Act, but it really has no force of law in terms of what will actually happen in Ohio and across America as far as the mandate is concerned.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I don't know, Governor, if that's really fair to sort of -- you know, to sort of divide it that way. I mean, I understand sort of a split victory, but to say -- you know, to say that, you know, you're proud of Ohioans on the one hand, and then saying, Well, you know, that's, like -- it wasn't campaigned on much, they voted for it, but it's largely symbolic...


VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, I think those people were sending...

STRICKLAND: No, Greta...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... a strong message about how they felt!

STRICKLAND: Greta, please don't misunderstand me. I'm not -- I'm not saying that I'm not proud of Ohioans for everything they did tonight. They came out in large numbers. They cast their votes. But everyone knows -- people across this country knows that the real ballot in Ohio was Senate Bill 5, issue 2. Both sides joined in that debate over several months, and in overwhelming numbers, the people of Ohio said this was an unfair piece of legislation. It unfairly scapegoated public employees for an economic circumstance that they did not cause.

We know what caused this recession that we're dealing with. It was human greed, and much of that emanated from Wall Street. And the people of Ohio said, We're not going to stand by and let our nurses and teachers and firefighters and police officers be scapegoated because of a set of circumstances that they did not cause.

That's what's happened here in Ohio tonight, and that's why, you know, I think -- you know, I just -- I'm very proud of Ohioans. And you know, the fact that they voted as they did on the third issue, that was the people speaking, obviously, and I respect what they intended to say regarding that issue.

But Greta, this is a good night in Ohio, democracy in action. It's been a beautiful day, and so we're just celebrating.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Governor. Thank you very much. And we'll be watching Ohio. It's a big player in this -- in 2012, and it's always nice to talk to you, sir. Hope you come back.

STRICKLAND: Hey, Greta, thanks for having me. I really appreciate it very much.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.