NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: We've got the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, joining us right now, he and his wife joining the Obamas and the Bidens at the White House earlier today in a spirit of bipartisanship to work with the new administration.
Much has been made, Leader, about the tone of the president's speech and whether it was in-your-face, or not particularly in your face, but in Republicans' faces. Do you agree with that?
REP. ERIC CANTOR, R-VA, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: No, Neil. What I think today is, is what you see on the screen, is just Americans coming together, some of whom who voted for the and some of whom who didn't, but are here in celebration of the inaugural, hoping that perhaps we're going to chart a new path and try and solve some problems together for a change.
And that is what my take is. I know the president gave a speech today and laid out some of the things he wants to do. I do think there are areas that we have in common and can work toward solutions together, though.
CAVUTO: Congressman, the president made a good deal about still the chasm between those who are doing very well in our society and those who are not, intimating that he might not be done taxing the well-to-do. And this comes on the heels of Chuck Schumer over the weekend saying that the Senate will produce a budget and it will include higher taxes on the wealthy, and Republicans might not like it, but paraphrasing here, sir, they just have got to deal with that. What do you think of that?
CANTOR: Well, I just fundamentally disagree.
I don't think most Americans would say to give more money to Washington to have Washington spend their money is a way to help anybody. And we identify with those who have not experienced upward mobility in our society, want to help those who need the safety nets, provide the relief, save those programs, but actually give them some opportunities working through areas on education.
Hopefully, the White House will finally join us in some of those efforts in trying to promote parental choice in education for their kids. There are all kinds of things, work force training and others, that we could actually find some common ground on, depending on whether the mood today lasts.
CAVUTO: Do you get a sense, though, that they are very leery to -- that is Democrats, Congressman -- to go too crazy on spending cuts?
As the president himself apparently told John Boehner, he doesn't see it as a spending problem, as much as a health care problem. And he really believes that. A lot of Democrats believe that, that get health care spending under control, you might not have to go willy-nilly attacking some of these other entitlements that they charge you are trying to rip apart. What do you say to that, that this is almost entirely health care?
CANTOR: Well, really, Neil, there are examples throughout the federal government where the dollars just aren't being spent wisely.
And I believe we ought to treat that as other people's money, because it is the money earned by the taxpayers. And we have an obligation to make sure that we don't continue the wasteful ways of Washington.
We intend in the House to promote an agenda that allows for getting spending under control, not just in the health care arena, but in many many other arenas, where even the GAO, the General Accounting Office, has pointed out again and again that there is a lot of room for improvement to rid the system of errors in waste, fraud, and abuse.
CAVUTO: But do you think that now as the president makes his way to this reviewing stand, he is literally just feet from us now, feet from where I am, before he moves into that reviewing stand, that he is seizing on what he thinks is the advantage over Congress and your popularity, I'm talking collectively Republicans, sir, and that he's going get his way because you guys have not found yours? What do you say?
CANTOR: No, because, listen, we are in the majority in the House because the voters of our districts sent here to do the job of trying to re-instill a commonsense approach into the spending situation in Washington and actually begin to allow America to grow again.
And we believe strongly that there are some areas in common that we could work with the president on to promote the kind of innovation and opportunity country that we are, to reflect on our roots, as the president did today, about being a country that was open to all and has more opportunity for more people than any in the history of the world.
CAVUTO: Eric Cantor, majority leader of the House of Representatives, the man who will be central to all these debates going forward.