Jon Runyan: From the Gridiron to Politics

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 5, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former NFL football star Jon Runyan is making a leap from the gridiron to the world of politics. Runyan, a Republican, is running for Congress in New Jersey. Jon Runyan joins us live. Good evening, sir. And why is it that you want to go from one contact sport to another contact sport, politics?

JON RUNYAN, R - N.J., CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think it's a smooth transition. You know, there's a lot of similarities between the two and -- but I really believe we need to make some changes because the way we're headed right now is not in a good direction.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's sort of interesting. Your Democratic congressman, the incumbent in your district right now, voted no as a Democrat on health care. So what do you say about that?

RUNYAN: Well, I think we need to go back and you look at the -- Mr. Adler's voting record throughout his -- his stint in the New Jersey state legislature. He's very, very liberal in his votes, and it's getting to a point now where I think he's realized that, you know, his career as a congressman is in jeopardy and he's trying to -- you know, he's trying to vote as his constituents would be, this being a traditionally Republican district. He's trying to -- he's trying to match that up in an effort to save his job.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, you have a primary first, a primary contest. How do you distinguish yourself from your competitor in the primary within the same party?

RUNYAN: Well, I think it's just a big thing of being yourself and going out and taking care of your business. I relate that back to a lot of things I experienced in the NFL. You don't worry about your opponent all the time. You do what you can do. You put your work in. You put your beliefs out there. And then ultimately, the voters are going to make the decision. You don't really have to worry about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any concern or worry that the Tea Party movement in any way is going to create, you know, an issue for the Republican Party nationally for the mid-term election?

RUNYAN: Well, I think when you look at the Tea Party in general, I mean, we both have very conservative values. You know, no matter where you are on the spectrum, you know, you're going to agree and disagree on certain things. But I think the biggest thing is -- where I come from and my stance on anything is take a lot of common sense, you know? You know, special interests are getting in the way, and I think that's really what a lot of people are upset about. And if you sit back and you keep the doors open and don't slam them shut with special interests, just allow people to have conversations, I think that's what a lot of people are looking to go (ph).

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, what's the story about Donovan McNabb? You played with him with the Eagles. Why the Redskins? What's that going to do for the Redskins and what's that going to do to the Eagles?

RUNYAN: Well, I think the Eagles were in a unique situation where they actually had three starting quarterbacks on the roster, so they were able to shop, you know, each one individually, and it ultimately ended up being Donovan going to Washington, which surprised a lot of people around here, especially the fact that they're playing in the division twice a year. So it's going to be an interesting thing. I mean, they have traditionally in Washington, they have a great defense. You know, if they can come out and put together some -- put -- you know, put together some scoring drives and put points on the board, they're a very formidable team here in the NFC East.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's a little like having Donovan McNabb go from the Eagles to the Redskins because it's the same -- they're going to play against each other -- it's a little bit like Brett Favre going from the Packers to the Vikings. You know, they're both incredible rivalries, and now they've -- they've lost -- they've now lost or given away or however you want to describe it, their quarterbacks.

RUNYAN: Yes, but minus the "I want to play, I want to retire, I want to play, I want to retire" fiasco.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it certainly -- it doesn't have that. So in terms of everything you've learned as a lineman in football, how's that going to help you be a better congressman, or is that just a different chapter in your life?

RUNYAN: Well, I think there's a lot of similarities. I mean, you know, I always step back and look at -- you know, look at my background in playing team sports my whole life and taking that approach into Congress. It's not about me going, and you know, feeding my ego going to Congress. I'm here -- I'm here to take the team concept, listen to what constituents have so say, and take that as a leader to D.C. and get changes made. It's not -- it's not about -- it's not about, you know, keeping your political job, you know -- you know, making a run at -- an extended run in office. It's about going down there and making some positive changes.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, we're going to be watching your race because it's going to be an exciting one. And thank you very much for joining us.

RUNYAN: Thank you.

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