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CBS "Face the Nation" - Transcript

Interview

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BOB SCHIEFFER: And welcome back now to FACE THE NATION and our new page two. At the top of the page today, the Republican side to all of this, and we begin with Newt Gingrich, who's been a frequent visitor to FACE THE NATION during this campaign. Thank you for coming again, Mister Gingrich.

NEWT GINGRICH (Republican Presidential Candidate/Former House Speaker): (INDISTINCT).

BOB SCHIEFFER: You have the awesome responsibility of being the responder to the Vice President this morning. He-- he talked about your proposal to get gas to two dollars and fifty cents a gallon. He said, though, that Republicans are emasculating all efforts to deal with renewable energy, and that in fact, you have no policy.

NEWT GINGRICH: Well, our policy is pretty straightforward. If you look at natural gas, where we have in fact pumped a lot more, volume's gone up eleven percent, the price has dropped so dramatically since 2008, that if the same thing happened to gasoline, it would be at dollar thirteen a gallon. Now, I've argued that we ought to have an American independence energy policy, so no future President will bow to a Saudi King. And I've argued that if the President would open up the federal government's land, open up offshore drilling, and sign the Keystone Pipeline which will bring seven hundred thousand barrels a day to Houston from Canada that those-- that combined series of things would bring down the price of gasoline dramatically.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean-- but isn't it very difficult for this President or any President to bring down gas prices because the big factor here is the fact that the Chinese now need so much oil. You have turmoil in the Middle East. You have this situation going on with Iran. Some of these things the President can't control.

NEWT GINGRICH: No, but-- but that would mean you don't-- you'd want even more American energy because you want a margin of error for the things you can't control. In World War II, we pumped eighty-three percent of the world's oil. We were enormously powerful as an oil producer. The new technologies allow us in North Dakota to jump from a hundred and fifty million barrels in reserve to twenty-four billion barrels in reserve. Nobody in Washington has noticed the revolution in technology which should make America the leading oil producing country in the world if President Obama weren't so anti-American energy. He spends money on Solyndra which fails, while attacking the oil companies who could bring down the price of gasoline. That's an-- that's an irrational policy if you care about the pocketbook of the American people.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little bit about what Mitt Romney said about the open-mic where Barack Obama told the Russian president, look, give me space here, I'll have more flexibility after the election. The Vice President says, look, he is just stating reality.

NEWT GINGRICH: First of all, I thought you getting Biden to explain Obama's open-mic was such a nice shift of direction from Obama having to explain Biden's open-mic that it was almost worth watching just for that. What people have to worry about is when-- when a President who has already proven he is a radical says to a Russian president, give me some space so I can get re-elected because then I'll have real flexibility--you have to wonder, real flexibility for what, and you also have to ask yourself how many foreign leaders has he said that to without an open-mic. How many other countries are counting on Barack Obama to be, quote, "flexible" after the election and what kind of flexibility is it that he doesn't want to share with the American people right now?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, but I mean, when he says that, I mean just-- just to be the devil's advocate here, I mean, it's-- nobody ever gets much done in an election year, in Washington. I mean, that's-- that's pretty much a true fact. It wasn't that really just stating the obvious, I mean, it's embarrassing.

NEWT GINGRICH: Look--

BOB SCHIEFFER: I mean, I think--

NEWT GINGRICH: Look, I-- I don't know. The-- the last time we had an open-mic incident with a foreign leader, it was Sarkozy complaining about Prime Mister Netanyahu of Israel, and Obama actually sort of trumping him and saying it's even worse I have to deal with him every day. And it was a very derogatory reference to Israel. And if I were the Israelis, and I was watching this President wander around the planet, I'd be a little worried and I would want to know, what-- what he's going to be like after the re-election. I-- I also think, if you look at his policies, he will be more radical. And this by the way, is-- is a President whose environmental protection agency declared war on coal this week, and-- and despite Vice President Biden's effort to-- to apologize for it, his attack on the Catholic Church is certainly seen by the Catholic bishops as a direct frontal assault on their religious liberty and they do not agree with the Vice President's interpretation of that kind of a radical assault.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think it's-- it's good politics so for Republicans to be sort of campaigning against birth control, I mean, I take your points on the Catholic side of it.

NEWT GINGRICH: Nobody is campaigning. This is-- this is a canard. Nobody is campaigning against birth control. And nobody is blocking the young lady who testified from having access to birth control. The question is, first of all, the Obama rule includes abortifications, things that lead to abortions, not just birth control. And second you can have total freedom as an individual without having to coerce a church or a synagogue into doing something against its religious beliefs. I mean, the real question is does the government of the United States--just as in Obamacare generally, does the government of the United States have the power to coerce religious institutions against their religious beliefs? That's a pretty fundamental question.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, I-- I want to talk a little politics and personal politics about you.

NEWT GINGRICH: All right.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You-- and I'm going to say in the beginning, I have learned my lesson about counting you out in this campaign. I-- I think I declared you dead about twice, and-- and both times you-- you came back alive and were still in there. But right now, it looks to me like it's going to be very difficult for you. I mean, Sheldon Adelson, who gave you ten million dollars or gave your Super PAC ten million said the other day, he thinks you have reached the end of the line, I mean, where do you go from here?

NEWT GINGRICH: Well I think we keep campaigning and-- and Governor Romney, as he himself said in the clip that you used, had says he has to earn the eleven hundred and forty-four. We're not going to concede it to him. You know, Kansas last night set the second record for coming from behind. They were down nine points at the half. That is the second biggest margin to come back from in the final four series. So, I'm going to take Kansas as a model. St. Louis last year was ten-and-a-half games out with twenty-eight games going against as an Atlanta Braves fan that was a very painful lesson. If Governor Romney gets to eleven forty-four not counting by the way disputed delegates in Arizona, Florida and Idaho, but if he gets to eleven forty-four, he will be the nominee.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Will you then endorse him at that point.

NEWT GINGRICH: Absolutely. I will do everything I can to help elect him. If Rick Santorum becomes the nominee, I'll help him. And I believe both of them would tell you, if I became the nominee they'd help me. We are all committed to defeating Barak Obama. We think his re-election would be a disaster for the country.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Having said that this has been a very personal and a very tough campaign. You yourself have said some hard and harsh things. I mean, one of the most arresting moments in this campaign came when you were on the CBS Morning Show with Norah O'Donnell and I and-- and let me just show you what you said. You will remember.

NORAH O'DONNELL (January 2, 2012): Are you calling Mitt Romney a liar?

NEWT GINGRICH: Yes.

NORAH O'DONNELL: You're calling Mitt Romney a liar?

NEWT GINGRICH: Well, you seem shock by it, but, yes. I mean, what-- what else could we say.

NORAH O'DONNELL: Why are you saying he's a liar?

NEWT GINGRICH: Because this is a man whose staff created the PAC? His millionaire friends fund the PAC. He pretends he has nothing to do with the PAC. It's baloney. He's not telling the American people the truth. It's just like his pretense that he is a Conservative.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So-- so, how do you do that, Mister Speaker, you-- you call someone a liar and-- and then you said, oh, yeah, I can endorse him.

NEWT GINGRICH: Because there's an alternative. I mean, you didn't say to me in an ideal world is Mitt Romney the person I'd like to have as President, first of all, that person is Newt Gingrich. But second-- but second and is a realistic thing, Barak Obama, in my judgment, as-- and I mean this is not just as a partisan. I believe he is so radical, and I believe his policies are so dangerous to the United States that I am determined to do everything I can to help defeat Barak Obama, and there's no question in my mind that Mitt Romney would be a dramatically better President, as would Rick Santorum, than Barak Obama in terms of the values I hold dear. So-- so it comes down to a question if-- if you end up with those as your two choices, I would do everything I could do to defeat Barack Obama.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Speaker, I want to thank you for being with us this morning.

NEWT GINGRICH: Thank you.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You have been very forthcoming and direct as we just saw in this campaign and we appreciate your coming by.

NEWT GINGRICH: And good to be with you.

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