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CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcript


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BLITZER: It's been a volatile week in the Republican presidential race with dramatic movement in the top tier and some very provocative comments by the contenders. I spoke with two Republican candidates this week, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. First up, the former House speaker.


BLITZER: I'd like you to respond to one of your other rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, Ron Paul. He very much opposed President Obama's decision to order the killing Anwar Al- Awlaki, the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, there. Listen to what Ron Paul said today.

RON PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They asked me whether that was an impeachable offense. It is. I mean, just ignoring the Fifth Amendment and assassinating American citizen without due process? And won't even tell us what the rules are. Oh, I bet he's a threat. Can you imagine being put on a list because you're a threat?

BLITZER: All right. Are with you President Obama on this issue or with Ron Paul on this issue?

NEWT GINGRICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I wrote a newsletter today, I write a weekly electronic newsletter, entitled "Obama Gets One Right. The fact is that Congressman Paul is wrong about the law. He's wrong about the Constitution. If you were an active enemy combatant, if you're actively advocating the killing of Americans.

And Callista and did a movie about America at risk. And we have footage in a movie of Anwar Al-Awlaki calling for the killing of Americans. We know that he was advising the terrorists who killed 13 Americans and wounded 33 at Ft. Hood. He wasn't in American courts. He wasn't in Chicago or New York. He was running around Yemen plotting the killing of Americans. If you do that, you are an enemy combatant.

If you're an enemy combatant, you're subject to military action which causes killing, you are not subject to going to court. This is not a criminal procedure. This is a war. We have a long precedent for this. You are called a traitor.

Now If he had shown up and turned himself in, then we would have owed him due process as an American citizen. We would are tried him as a traitor. I think we would have convicted him. He has no defense if he's actively trying to encourage the killing of Americans. The president was exactly right legally and he was exactly right morally in killing somebody who was a threat to everybody.

BLITZER: One final question. Give me a yes or no if one of the other Republican candidates gets the nomination and asks you to be the vice-presidential running mate, is it a yes for you or a no?

GINGRICH: Well, it wouldn't be a no.

BLITZER: Sound like a yes. Anything? All right. I'll leave it at that.

GINGRICH: I'm not going to-

BLITZER: It wouldn't be the first time that a candidate asked somebody with more experience a little bit older, President Bush asked Dick Cheney, President Obama, as you know, asked Joe Biden. I wouldn't be surprised necessarily if somebody else gets the nomination-I know you want to get the nomination-they turn to you and say will you join me on the ticket. So what I hear you saying, is you're open to that. Give me a yes or no?

GINGRICH: Ronald Reagan once said he was very glad Jerry Ford did not ask him in '76 because he didn't see how a citizen could turn down a president in that setting. I think Reagan had a lot of profound wisdom about that.


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