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Fox News "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace" - Transcript

Interview

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CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.

As the GOP presidential race heads South, Newt Gingrich goes all in to mount another come back. With Alabama and Mississippi at stake, we'll ask Gingrich if those two states are must-wins for his campaign to continue.

And then foreign trouble spots -- should the U.S. intervene in Syria? Are the U.S. and Israel on the same page about Iran? We'll discuss both issues and talk about the new movie "Game Change" in an exclusive interview with Senator John McCain.

Plus, better news on jobs, but no relief on gas prices. We'll ask our Sunday panel how the economy is driving the president's poll numbers.

And as the candidates recalibrate after Super Tuesday, we go on the trail.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(MUSIC)

And hello again, from Fox News in Washington.

While the political world waits to see how Alabama and Mississippi play out on Tuesday, we have results from Saturday. In Kansas, Rick Santorum easily won the caucuses with 51 percent. Mitt Romney had 21 percent, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul rounding out the field.

In Wyoming, Mitt Romney first with 44 percent, followed by Santorum at 27, Paul was third and Gingrich last.

Including the results from three U.S. territories Saturday where Mitt Romney did well, here is the latest delegate count: Mitt Romney leads with 454. Santorum has 217. Gingrich is third and Paul last.

It takes 1,144 delegates to clinch the nomination.

Joining us from Birmingham, Alabama, a man looking for a strong showing in the South Tuesday, Newt Gingrich.

And, Mr. Speaker, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

NEWT GINGRICH, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's good to be back with you.

WALLACE: The polls show a surprisingly close race Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi. Question -- are you going to win them both?

GINGRICH: I think we'll win both. We are campaigning very aggressively on both states. As almost everywhere, you start a little behind because of Romney's money and the length of time he's advertising. And as you campaign, you catch up with him pretty rapidly, and I think we're probably polling ahead in both states right now. We have great organizations in both states and in particular in Alabama where Senate Majority Leader Jabo Waggoner has put together a great statewide organization.

But I will be campaigning both in Birmingham and in Mississippi. And then we'll be campaigning tomorrow morning in Biloxi and then back in the Birmingham area. So, we're not taking anything for granted these next two days.

WALLACE: Let's talk some math, Mr. Speaker. You have won two of the 25 contests, states that voted so far. The Romney camp points out you must now take more than 70 percent of the outstanding delegates to clinch the nomination.

You said on Friday, even if you were to lose one or both, Alabama or Mississippi, you are going to stay in this all the way to the convention. But doesn't it get awfully hard and doesn't it become impossible to get to 1,144 if you don't win both states?

GINGRICH: Well, you know, the Mitt Romney camp has been trying to sell since last June that I should get out of the race and that Romney is inevitable. But the fact is, Romney is probably weakest Republican front runner since Leonard Wood in 1920, and Wood lost on the 10th ballot.

Romney has a challenge. He wins a state, for example, he wins Ohio. He gets 38 percent of the vote, places where no one competes because of money. Guam, for example he does fine. But overall, you reported Wyoming, 47 percent. He loses Kansas outright.

The most he's going to get in Mississippi and Alabama is probably a third and more likely to get 25 percent or 28 percent.

So, yes, he is a front runner. He's not a very strong front runner. Almost all conservatives are opposed, which is the base of the party. And I think we are likely to see after the last primary in June, we're likely to see a 60-day conversation about what's going to happen as we already see Romney dominating.

And in that context, I think that the both that I got remembering that I was in first place both in December and again in mid-January in terms of the Gallup poll and the Rasmussen, I think there is a space for a visionary conservative with big solutions like national American energy policy and leading at $2.50 a gallon gasoline, or a personal Social Security savings account for young Americans, or replacing the current 130-year-old civil services system with a brand new management model.

These are big ideas. They take a while to sink in. But we have a lot of states where we are second and we have a lot of states where we're gathering delegates and I feel pretty good about representing people.

The other that I say, Chris, is I have 175,000 donors, 95 percent of them under $275. I think I owe them something representing their views and their desires for a positive kind of conservatism. WALLACE: We're going to get to some of those big ideas, especially energy in a moment. I just want to ask you, though, about exactly your point, which is that Romney is winning but not with winning with a majority. He's winning with the plurality.

You put out a new web video this week going after Rick Santorum. Let's take a look at it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I teamed up with Joe Lieberman. Barbara Boxer and I wrote a law protecting open space. I've even working with Hillary Clinton.

You know, politics is a team sport, folks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Now, I understand that you think you would make a better president than Rick Santorum. You think you have bigger ideas and bigger solutions. But given the fact that you are both conservatives and you say that Romney is a moderate, at some point, does it make sense to get out and give Rick Santorum a shot at Romney who, as you point out, is not winning by very impressive margins in a lot of these states.

GINGRICH: Well -- that video, though, makes the point of why I didn't get out. When I was speaker of the House, we led an effort which led to four consecutive balanced budgets.

When Rick was in leadership, they went up $1.7 trillion deficit. Very big difference, I think just to put the label conservative and assume that covers everything is very misleading.

I went to work to change Washington and I think it's fair to say in some ways, and just to use Rick's own language, people see it themselves. This is somebody who on a number of occasions had Washington change him. He admits it and he says it's a team sport. You had to go along to get along.

I don't believe that. I'm not running in order to go along to get along. And frankly, the leadership team that Rick was in suffered a disastrous loss in 2006, because the country didn't want bigger deficits, more earmarks, the bridge to nowhere, and those kinds of things.

So, I think there's a principle difference. It's not just a label. What are you trying to accomplish, how do you think the system works, and are you in the business to change Washington decisively, or are you just in the business to be a part of the team?

WALLACE: Let's talk energy and $2.50 a gallon gasoline, which is become the center piece of your campaign. How quickly do you believe you be could get us back to that, Mr. Speaker?

GINGRICH: Within two years, maybe faster. When George W. Bush signed up the executive order opening up offshore drilling at presidential level, it still required congressional action, the price of oil per barrel dropped $9 that day.

I think the market moves in anticipatory basis. I would sign the Keystone Pipeline immediately. We believe that could be up in a year, or to expedite the procedures. But 700,000 barrels a day going to Houston from Canada. There are a number of steps like that.

I'd sign opening up the gulf off of Louisiana and Texas, about 400,000 barrels a day. The folks down in Louisiana believe that can start turning around very fast once they knew it was coming.

So, there are steps you can take that would dramatically lower the price of gasoline; $2.50 a gallon is not irrational. It was $1.89 when Obama (VIDEO GAP), $1.13 when I was speaker. So, you can imagine circumstances to get below $2.50.

The key thing is, the direction I would take the country is towards developing our energy resources to be independent of the Middle East so that no American president would bow to a Saudi king.

The direction the president is taking the country is greater dependency and much more expensive gasoline, maybe ultimately as high as $9 or $10 a gallon, which is what his secretary of energy, Dr. Chu, says he wants it to be. He has said publicly the wants us to pay European levels and that would be $9 or $10 a gallon.

WALLACE: But, Mr. Speaker, gas experts make two points. First of all, you pointed out the fact that gasoline was $1.89 a gallon when President Obama took office. They say that's a bit misleading because it was the depths of the recession. So, understandably, gas prices have gone down. The fact is just six months before, it was $4.11 under President Bush.

The other point they make is even if you were to begin a big onslaught of domestic drilling then it would take three-five years for that to result in more production here domestically -- which is not to say we shouldn't start doing it, but it wouldn't indicate or it wouldn't cause gas prices to go down sharply in a two-year time frame you are talking about.

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, it's a question of what the futures market does and whether it starts to anticipate production. Secondly, I led the effort called "drill here, drill, pay less." WE got 1,600,000 signatures back in '08, when as you point out, gasoline prices were up to $4. If we had started then, we'd be inside the window you are now describing.

But let me use the example of natural gas. Natural gas production has gone up 11 percent since 2008.

GINGRICH: The price crashed from $7.97 a unit down to under $3. From 2008 to today, it's crashed.

If you had exactly the same pattern in oil that you had in natural gas you'd be paying $1.13. Now, I didn't project that, I'm not saying you'll get there. But that is literally the direct parallel to what's happened in United States with natural gas in the last four years.

WALLACE: Let me pivot to another subject. Mr. Speaker, there is a terrible incident which I assume you knew about this morning, where a U.S. serviceman apparently walked off his base in southern Afghanistan, started firing at civilians and, according to some reports, killed as many as 16.

Your reaction to that, sir?

GINGRICH: Well, we clearly have to investigate it. I see that the NATO command has already commented on it. We have to indicate clearly and convince the people of Afghanistan that justice will be done and we are not going to tolerate that kind of thing.

And also there I think it is a grave difficulty in reaching out those the families. And they should be compensated for the tragic loss. I think when those kinds of things happen, what makes us different from the Taliban or Al Qaeda, they target, killing civilians.

We work very hard not to have things like this happened and we have to live up to our standards and our values.

WALLACE: You know, it brings up a bigger question, though, that I want to discuss with you about our future in Afghanistan. After the accidental burning of the Koran, are so-called Afghan partners targeted and killed six U.S. servicemen. And you reacted very sharply to that.

Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: This is a real problem. And there are some problems what have you to do is say, you know, you're going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: I want to ask you about that. Are you saying that we should pull out of Afghanistan now? And what about the argument that we need to be there longer because we need to get the Afghan, the government and the military and the police to stand up so they can stand up to and defend us against the Taliban and Al Qaeda after we leave.

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, what I've said is very directly related to President Karzai. I think he owes -- as much as we at times have to be concerned about our impact on the Afghan people, he owes the American people an apology. Some of those killings were by Afghan soldiers. Now, it's got to be a two-way street.

And I think that this idea that we have to tolerate and tolerate and tolerate while things are done to us is wrong, I think it sends the wrong signal. And I think we have to reconsider what's going on.

I reached a conclusion frankly about the entire region that is much more pessimistic than Washington's official position. When you look at Pakistan and realized that they have been hiding bin Laden for at least seven years in a military city within a mile of their national defense university, and their reaction wasn't to fine the people who'd been hiding him, but it was to find the people who helped the Americans, there is something profoundly wrong with the way approaching the whole region. And I think it's going to get substantially worse, not better. And I think that we are risking of young men and women in a mission that may frankly not be doable.

WALLACE: Well, that's what I want to pick on, that final point, because you didn't just say Karzai needs to apologize. You said that there are some problems where you just have to say you're going to have to live your own miserable life.

Are you saying that the U.S. needs to just -- you know, we fought bravely and with all good intent for more than 10 years, is it time to just say, enough?

GINGRICH: I think it's very likely that we have lost -- tragically lost the lives and suffered injuries to a considerable number of young Americans on a mission that we're going to discover is not doable. And what point do you -- by not doable I mean you are not going to get Afghanistan and Pakistan and frankly watch what's happening in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood -- look at the things that are going on around the region and then ask yourself: is this, in fact, a harder, deeper problem that is not going to be susceptible to military force, at least not military forces in the scale we are prepared to do?

And if that is true, this is part of why I decide to make energy independence a major theme of my campaign. We need to decide that the United States is going to have to back off from that region, not take primary responsibility for the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf and say to the Chinese and the Indians and the Europeans -- you have a problem, but it's not necessarily America's problem. And I think they're going to have to recognize that this is a region that's going to be hard to deal with in the near future.

WALLACE: Speaker Gingrich, thank you. Thank you so much for joining us today. Safe travels on the campaign trail, sir, and we'll see how things turn out on Tuesday.

GINGRICH: Thanks, Chris.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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