In case you missed it this morning, be sure to listen to Senator Burr discuss Israel, Syria, the 2012 presidential race and other news of the day with Jerri Jameson here.
Jerri Jameson: Online with me now, calling in from Washington, we have Senator Richard Burr. Good morning, sir. How are you today?
Senator Burr: Good morning, Jerri. Greetings from Washington.
Jameson: Well, thank you. I was just doing a story on the Secret Service, with the agents that are being well, booted out basically, and things like that. What is the tenor like in Washington right now? We've got the Colombia prostitution scandal, we've got the General Services Administration. How are things there?
Burr: Well, you know, things weren't well before this last incident. That continues to shake people's confidence in government. And I think it's proof once again that government's become too big, too expensive, and unable to supervise it. Congress lacks the will to do the oversight, and now we're starting to get into issues that deal with the security of a President, and I would suggest the security of a country while we have an ever-more threatening world around us. It's time we buckle down up here and start doing what we're supposed to be doing and quit the political charades that I think have really consumed every week for the past 6 -- 8 months.
Jameson: Alright, I do want to address the spending and budget and things like that. But, right now, you mention the security of the United States and the security of the world, and there's a whole lot going on right now. I mean, Israel says it may strike Iran and that it did not agree during last weekend's nuclear talks not to. Where do we stand on that? Obviously we want diplomacy, but I mean, that could be a major concern if that happens.
Burr: Well Jerri, Israel is a sovereign country. Just like we would expect to protect our homeland, we can't criticize them for a commitment to protect theirs. So that's a daily issue that we watch. Clearly the Israelis have every intent, if diplomacy fails, of taking care of it, even if it's only to delay the nuclear proliferation in Iran. Just 10 days ago I came back from the borders of Syria, I was in Turkey, South Korea before the missile launch, then China There are beginning to be so many potential hot spots in the world that it's almost humanly impossible to get first-hand information and as pertinent information just simply because there are so many of them now.
Jameson: Well now that you came back from the Syria area, I know some are saying we should be more involved. I believe Senator McCain has said that we should arm the opposition troops and things like that even more so. The ceasefire of course went into effect, but there are reports that there is still fighting going on. Do we need to be more involved there?
Burr: Well, I think that's the question that this Administration needs to answer. We can independently voice what we think, but ultimately this is an Administration decision. It's odd to me that we were so quick to follow the events of Libya and to jump in when the Europeans saw genocide in Yugoslavia, they begged the United States to come. Well, what I see in Syria today is genocide, a government that just randomly slaughters its people. I don't think that we, the Europeans, the Asians or anybody in the world should sit idly by and watch that happen.
Jameson: You talk also about the missile launches in North Korea, specifically, and of course we are concerned that it is for nuclear reasons. India just launched a missile and said it would give it the capacity to hit major Chinese cities to counter China's dominance. Is there a concern there of aggression on Indian's part?
Burr: Oh, I think there's a concern of escalation everywhere in the world, as we continue to have a debate that will last for probably two years about our future in Afghanistan. One of the things the American people need begin to focus on is asking the question, when we leave Afghanistan, what happens in Pakistan and Iran? When we're no longer a force that attracts the attention in the region, does that open up the door for Pakistan to then look back at India and for that conflict to flare up? There's reasons for every decision that the United States makes. Not all of them are obvious to begin with, but ultimately I think that our global policy has to be to try to extend stability in as many places in the world as we possibly can, and sometimes that has a cost.
Jameson: Well it certainly isn't the world of our grandparents and their grandparents, is it sir?
Burr: No it's not. And I remember one day in an illness by dad looking up at me and he said, "I fought a war so you wouldn't have to go through these things." I received the last Honor Flight from North Carolina yesterday morning. That means that every World War II veteran, regardless of where they are geographically, that expressed an interest to come has now been flown to Washington and seen their memorial that was erected in their honor aof their sacrifice. I said to this group of World War II veterans, men and women, it's because of your sacrifice that I have the privilege to serve in the United States Senate. So we make sacrifices today, and I saw many of them last night and I saw many of them last as the Wounded Warrior bike ride started. I kicked that off for them. I can't explain to parents or to service members exactly what it's for, I just know that generations from now they will look at the sacrifices made today, and our liberties and our freedoms will be in tact because of that.
Jameson: So we only have about 2 minutes left. I wanted to touch on obviously, that Senator Rick Santorum withdrew, Speaker Newt Gingrich is still running as is Congressman Ron Paul, but you are endorsing Governor Mitt Romney now for the GOP candidacy. Can you explain why you are going with Gov. Romney?
Burr: Sure, I think Gov. Romney has the skill set that America needs right now to 1. Get us financially back in the right groove from the standpoint of our desire to spend and the fact that we've got so much debt and 2. Gov. Romney has created jobs, unlike the current President. What we need right now is somebody who can control the growth of spending and who can massively get this economy re-started so that we can re-employ those people who are looking for work. Jerri, it's going to take those two things to become fiscally sustainable in this country. In an absence of that, we don't even need to talk about who the next President would be because it would be disastrous what we would hand over to them. I'm very confident that Gov. Romney can handle the task in front of him. Again, I think he's got the skill set at a particular time that's perfect for the job, and I'm going to do everything that I can to tirelessly go around the country and try to promote his election.
Jameson: Okay, 30 seconds. Anything you'd like to add in closing?
Burr: Well, Jerri, we're at a challenging time, but as I've said before to you and to your listeners, this is the greatest country in the world. We can overcome anything. It's just that we have to realize that the American people have to pitch in. And as we talk about austerities, we talk about cutting the size of government and cutting spending, it means we're all going to have to participate in that. It means we've got to be brave enough to go out and change programs that don't work, eliminate things that don't work, replace them with things that do work. But at the end of the day, we've got to make sure that we're getting a value for the taxpayer's dollar.