Iowa Public Television

 

Newt Gingrich

posted on May 1, 2006

Borg: THE ARCHITECT OF THE REPUBLICAN REVOLUTION PURSUES MORE CHANGE. WE'LL TALK WITH NEWT GINGRICH ON THIS EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.'

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, APRIL 28 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: NEWT GINGRICH, USING THE CONTRACT WITH AMERICA THEME, IS GENERALLY CREDITED WITH RETURNING REPUBLICANS TO CONTROL OF THE U.S. CONGRESS. THAT WAS TWELVE YEARS AGO. FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS UNTIL 1999, MR. GINGRICH WAS SPEAKER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THEN HE RETIRED, HAVING SERVED 22 YEARS OF THAT TIME IN CONGRESS. AND TODAY HE'S FOCUSING ON NATIONAL ISSUES SUCH AS HEALTH CARE. HE'S TEEMED NOW WITH SENATORS JOHN KERRY AND HILARY RODHAM CLINTON TO DEVELOP POLICIES CONCERNING THE GOVERNMENT'S ROLE IN HEALTH CARE. AND AFTER TWO DECADES OF CONGRESSIONAL EXPERIENCE, HE MAY BE CONSIDERING THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH WITH A POSSIBLE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL BID. MR. GINGRICH, MR. SPEAKER, YOU'VE BEEN AT THIS TABLE BEFORE, SO YOU'RE FAMILIAR WITH THE GENTLEMEN ACROSS THE TABLE. WELCOME BACK TO 'IOWA PRESS,' INCIDENTALLY.

Gingrich: GOOD TO BE WITH YOU.

Borg: AND ACROSS THE TABLE, 'DES MOINES REGISTER' POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND 'ASSOCIATED PRESS' SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: SPEAKER GINGRICH, I'D LIKE TO ASK YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR MESSAGE THIS TRIP. YOU HAVE SAID BEFORE YOU'RE CONSIDERING A RUN FOR THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION. YOU MAY OR YOU MAY NOT. WHERE ARE YOU IN THAT THINKING?

Gingrich: WELL, I'M STILL THINKING ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT TO RUN. WHAT I'M REALLY TRYING TO DO, MIKE, IS FOCUS ON WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS THAT AMERICA NEEDS THIS YEAR: WHAT'S THE SOLUTION ON ENERGY; WHAT'S THE SOLUTION ON IMMIGRATION AND CONTROLLING THE BORDER; WHAT'S THE SOLUTION ON CLEANING UP THE LOBBYING ACTIVITIES IN WASHINGTON; AND A WHOLE RANGE OF THINGS LIKE THAT, INCLUDING IRAQ AND -- FOR EXAMPLE, I'M VERY EXCITED BY THE FACT THAT SENATOR COLLINS AND SENATOR LIEBERMAN JUST ISSUED A REPORT CALLING FOR THE ABSOLUTE REPLACEMENT OF FEMA, WHICH WOULD BE A STEP IN THE DIRECTION OF WHAT I'VE BEEN DESCRIBING AS REAL CHANGE. SO I'M GOING TO COME BACK AGAIN AND AGAIN, AND YOU'LL GET TIRED OF ME. BUT I'M GOING TO COME BACK TO TALK ABOUT IDEAS AND TALK ABOUT SOLUTIONS AND THEN, YOU KNOW, MAYBE SOMETIME IN THE FALL OF 2007 WE'LL SEE WHERE WE'RE AT. BUT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT NOT TO FOCUS ON AMBITION AND MANEUVERING FOR 2008. I THINK MY PARTY NEEDS TO GET ITS ACT TOGETHER FOR 2006 AND GET THINGS DONE IN 2006.

Glover: BUT AS YOU BEGIN TO LOOK AT THE POTENTIAL FOR DOING THIS, WHAT SORT OF FACTORS GO THROUGH YOUR MIND? ARE YOUR IDEAS RESONATING? ARE YOU RAISING THE MONEY? WHAT SORT OF FACTS ARE YOU USING?

Gingrich: I'M NOT A POTENTIAL CANDIDATE AT THIS STAGE, SO I'M NOT RAISING ANY MONEY AT ALL.

Glover: RIGHT.

Gingrich: BUT THE BIGGEST -- THERE ARE TWO BIG THINGS. CAN YOU DEVELOP A SET OF SOLUTIONS THAT ARE REAL ENOUGH THAT PEOPLE RESONATE AND SAY THAT'S THE CHANGE I WANT IN WASHINGTON? THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE CONTRACT WITH AMERICA. THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED WITH RONALD REAGAN. SECOND, CAN YOU MECHANICALLY PUT TOGETHER A BIG ENOUGH OPERATION? I MEAN RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IS A HUGE THING, AND WE'D HAVE TO LOOK AT BOTH THOSE QUESTIONS. I'M SHARING ALL OF MY IDEAS WITH BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. AS YOU SAID, I TALK OCCASIONALLY WITH SENATOR CLINTON, AND I'M DOING AN EVENT IN THE NEAR FUTURE IN RHODE ISLAND WITH PATRICK KENNEDY. I'M HAPPY TO WORK WITH ANYBODY WHO WANTS TO GET THESE THINGS DONE. I WILL AGAIN TOMORROW NIGHT AT THE LINCOLN DAY DINNER REPEAT MY SUGGESTION THAT EARLY EVENTS BE BIPARTISAN. I DO THINK THAT WE NEED A DIALOGUE ABOUT AMERICA'S FUTURE. I THINK WE'RE AT A PERIOD OF ENORMOUS CHALLENGE. AND THAT'S PART OF WHAT KEEPS ME GOING IS THAT ACTUALLY FROM THE TIME I FIRST CAME OUT HERE, I THINK THE GAP BETWEEN WHAT WE NEED AND WHERE WE ARE HAS WIDENED, NOT NARROWED. AND I THINK THAT THE CHALLENGES WE FACE ARE LARGER, NOT SMALLER.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, YOU MENTIONED 2006 ELECTIONS. LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT SOME. HOW BAD OF A YEAR IS IT GOING TO BE FOR REPUBLICANS?

Gingrich: WELL, I THINK THE REPUBLICANS HAVE ANOTHER THREE OR FOUR MONTHS TO COMMUNICATE THAT THEY'VE GOTTEN THE MESSAGES FROM BACK HOME. I HOPE THEY'RE GOING TO GET THE MESSAGES FROM BACK HOME. PEOPLE -- YOU KNOW, IT'S A DIFFICULT, PAINFUL SITUATION TO BE IN. WE ARE THE NATURAL REFORM PARTY, AND WE'RE THE PARTY THAT PAYS FOR THE PORK. WE'RE NOT THE THE PARTY THAT'S HAPPY ABOUT THE PORK. AND I THINK THAT THERE'S A REAL FEELING AMONG FISCAL CONSERVATIVES THAT WE NEED TO GET OUR ACT TOGETHER AND WE NEED TO GET BACK TO WHAT REPUBLICANS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING. I THINK SOME OF THAT MESSAGE IS GETTING THROUGH, AND I THINK THAT THERE'S A VERY REAL CHANCE THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO TURN IT AROUND. I THINK THE SENATE IS PROBABLY FINE, BUT I THINK THE HOUSE IS IN SOME DANGER THIS YEAR. BUT I'VE TRIED TO BE CANDID ABOUT THAT.

Yepsen: IS IT LIKELY IN YOUR MIND RIGHT NOW THAT WE COULD HAVE A REVERSE OF WHAT HAPPENED IN 1994, WHERE YOU SWEPT THE DEMOCRATS OUT OF CONGRESS, WHERE THEY COME NOW THIS TIME AND SWEEP YOU OUT?

Gingrich: NO. LOOK, I THINK THE DEMOCRATS MAY GAIN SOME SEATS JUST OUT OF DISAFFECTION WITH THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNING SYSTEM, BUT THERE'S A HUGE JUMP FROM A CONTRACT WITH AMERICA TO A CONTRACT WITH VERMONT AND SAN FRANCISCO. I MEAN NANCY PELOSI'S VOTING RECORD IS SO FAR TO THE LEFT AND THE POLITICS OF HOWARD DEAN ARE SO FAR TO THE LEFT THAT IT'S VERY UNLIKELY THAT YOU COULD END UP WITH THE DEMOCRATS BEING ABLE TO HAVE A SWEEP. I THINK THEY MIGHT -- THEY MIGHT, BY A VERY NARROW MARGIN, GAIN ENOUGH SEATS TO CONTROL THE HOUSE. THEY PROBABLY WON'T. IF I WERE GUESSING TODAY, THEY'LL FALL SHORT. THEY MIGHT PICK UP SOME SEATS IN THE SENATE. I THINK THERE'S ALMOST NO LIKELIHOOD THAT THEY'LL END UP WINNING CONTROL OF THE SENATE. SO IT WILL BE -- IT WON'T BE THE KIND OF YEAR WE'D LIKE TO HAVE AS REPUBLICANS, BUT I CAN'T IMAGINE -- REMEMBER, WHEN WE SWEPT IN 1994, WE PICKED UP 53 SEATS IN ONE ELECTION. THIS WAS A FAIRLY HISTORIC NUMBER.

Borg: HISTORIC IS RIGHT. I'D LIKE TO HAVE YOU, WITH THAT EXPERTISE THOUGH FROM PAST ELECTIONS, ANALYZE TWO IOWA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS THAT ARE GETTING NATIONAL ATTENTION. THE FIRST DISTRICT, JIM NUSSLE'S DISTRICT, AND THE THIRD DISTRICT WHERE THERE'S AN INCUMBENT DEMOCRAT, LEONARD BOSWELL, BEING CHALLENGED BY JEFF LAMBERTI, REPUBLICAN. OVER IN THAT FIRST DISTRICT, WHAT'S THE RATIONALE YOU THINK THAT A REPUBLICAN CAN CONTINUE TO HOLD THAT DISTRICT, WHICH IS DEMOCRATIC?

Gingrich: WELL, I MEAN FIRST OF ALL, DISTRICTS ARE -- I THINK WE OVERDO HOW MUCH DISTRICTS ARE IDENTIFIED BY EITHER PARTY. THAT WAS PART OF THE -- YOU KNOW, IN 1993 EVERYBODY SAID TO ME, WELL, YOU'LL NEVER PICK UP 53 SEATS BECAUSE, AFTER ALL, LOOK AT ALL THESE DEMOCRATIC SEATS. AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY ALL VOTED REPUBLICAN. SO SOMETIMES WHEN WE PAINT RED AND BLUE, TO USE THE CURRENT COLOR CODES, WE SET UP A MISLEADING STABILITY. I DON'T THINK IT'S NECESSARILY TRUE. THE BIGGEST ADVANTAGE -- AND THE FIRST IS VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD. JIM NUSSLE IS A GREAT REFORMER. HE HAS A TERRIFIC RECORD IN WASHINGTON. I STRONGLY ENDORSED THE BILL HE JUST INTRODUCED TO INCREASE THE SUPPORT FOR ALTERNATIVE FUELS AND TO CREATE BIOENERGY. I'M PART OF A GROUP THAT'S TALKING ABOUT --

Borg: BUT CAN THAT CARRY OVER INTO --

Gingrich: WELL, I THINK IT CERTAINLY HELPS. IF I WERE, OR WHOEVER THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE ENDS UP BEING, ONE OF THE THINGS I WOULD SAY ALL FALL IS, 'I'M SURE LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH JIM NUSSLE AS GOVERNOR. HOW ABOUT YOU'? AND I'D PUT MY OPPONENT ON THE SPOT OVER AND OVER AGAIN, AND I'D TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH I FAVORED THE WAY THAT NUSSLE WANTS TO DEVELOP THINGS AS COMPARED TO WHERE THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATS ARE AT. I THINK IN THE DISTRICT, THE THIRD AROUND DES MOINES, YOU HAVE A DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENT WHO WORKS VERY HARD, TO BE FAIR TO HIM, WHO IS A VERY NICE MAN. AND I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE GREATEST ADVANTAGES HE HAS. HE'S JUST A NICE PERSON. ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU HAVE A VERY, VERY HARD WORKING, VERY ENERGETIC REPUBLICAN OPPONENT, AND I THINK THAT MAY TURN OUT TO BE A TOSS-UP. PART OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN AS A KEY TO THIS WHOLE ELECTION IS WHEN YOU GET TO OCTOBER AND THE FIRST WEEK OF NOVEMBER, AND THE CONVERSATION COALESCES, DO REPUBLICAN -- DOES THE REPUBLICAN BASE FEEL DISAPPOINTED AND STAY HOME, IN WHICH CASE YOU'LL LOSE MARGINAL SEATS THAT YOU COULD OTHERWISE WIN OR, IN FACT BY THEN, WILL THE REPUBLICAN BASE LOOK AT THE CONTRAST, THE REAL CHOICE, I MEAN LOOK AT IT AND THINK TO THEMSELVES: DO I REALLY WANT NANCY PELOSI TO BE THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE; DO I REALLY WANT LEFT-WING POLICIES IN CHARGE OF THE HOUSE? NOW, IF THE LATTER IS THE QUESTION, THEN WE HAVE A CHANCE TO KEEP OUR SEAT AND GAIN THE THIRD. IF IT TURNS OUT TO BE AN ANTIREPUBLICAN TIDE, THEN I THINK, FRANKLY, WE'RE GOING TO BE IN THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES. BUT I AM ENCOURAGED THAT CONGRESSMAN NUSSLE IS DOING SO WELL, THAT HE HAS SUCH A POSITIVE CAMPAIGN HERE AT HOME, AND THAT HE HAS SUCH A CLEAR RECORD AS A REFORMER THAT HE MAY BE ONE OF THOSE EXAMPLES AROUND THE COUNTRY WHERE HE BREAKS THE TIDE FOR THE WHOLE IOWA PARTY. I ALSO -- MY SENSE IS -- I'M SAYING THIS NOW AS AN OUTSIDER, SO THIS IS UNLIMITED INFORMATION LARGELY FROM HIS NEWSPAPER. BUT MY SENSE IS THAT THE SCANDALS INVOLVING STATE GOVERNMENT AND THE SCANDALS INVOLVING THE VILSACK ADMINISTRATION ARE OF HELP IN IOWA IN MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR A DEMOCRAT TO RUN AS A REFORMED CANDIDATE IN IOWA IN THE WAY THAT THEY WOULD TRY TO IN SOME OTHER STATE.

Glover: WELL, YOU STARTED TO HANDICAP THE GOVERNOR'S ELECTION FOR ME ALREADY. THAT WAS GOING TO BE MY NEXT QUESTION. BUT THEN HOW DOES THIS SCANDAL THING PLAY OUT? DOES THE STATE SCANDALS WE'VE BEEN HAVING WITH WORK FORCE TRAINING BALANCE OFF THE SCANDALS THE REPUBLICANS HAVE HAD IN CONGRESS? HOW DOES HE WALK AWAY FROM THAT TANK?

Gingrich: WELL, THERE ARE THREE PARTS TO THAT. FIRST OF ALL, THE SCANDALS IN CONGRESS ARE, SADLY FOR THE COUNTRY, RAPIDLY BECOMING BIPARTISAN. I MEAN WHEN YOU HAVE A CONGRESSMAN MOLLOHAN, WHO WAS THE RANKING DEMOCRAT ON THE ETHICS COMMITTEE, HAVING TO STEP ASIDE BECAUSE HE'S NOW UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR SOMETHING LIKE $180 MILLION IN FUNDS SHOVELED TO VARIOUS FRIENDS, ONE OF WHOM BOUGHT A FARM WITH HIM, I MEAN THAT SOUNDS AN AWFUL LOT LIKE THE DUKE CUNNINGHAM PROBLEM ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE. AND THERE ARE A SERIES OF THOSE DEMOCRATIC SCANDALS BEGINNING TO BREAK. PLUS THE LARGEST SINGLE RECIPIENT OF MONEY FROM ABRAMOFF, THE LOBBYIST, WAS SENATOR REED, WHO IS THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER IN THE SENATE. SO I'M NOT SO SURE BY MIDSUMMER -- THIS, BY THE WAY, IS NOT GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY. IT WON'T BE A PARTISAN REPUBLICAN PROBLEM. IT WILL BE A WASHINGTON IS A MESS KIND OF PROBLEM.

Glover: BUT HOW DOES A VETERAN CONGRESSMAN RUN AS AN ANTI-WASHINGTON CANDIDATE?

Gingrich: THE SAME WAY RONALD REAGAN DID. I MEAN THE FACT IS JIM NUSSLE IS ONE OF THE LEADING REFORMERS IN THE CONGRESS. NUSSLE WAS A REFORMER WHEN WE WERE IN THE MINORITY. NUSSLE WAS THE PERSON I PICKED TO HEAD OVERHAULING THE HOUSE. AND IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT HE DID IN '94-'95, IT WAS A REMARKABLE JOB. NUSSLE DID A GREAT JOB OF REFORMING INSTITUTIONS IN THE HOUSE. FIRST TIME IN HISTORY THAT WE HAD AN AUDIT OF THE HOUSE BY AN OUTSIDE AUDITING FIRM. THE FIRST TIME WE EVER ESTABLISHED TERM LIMITS FOR A CHAIRMAN, WHICH STILL HOLDS TO THIS DAY. SO NUSSLE CAN SAY, YOU KNOW, 'I'M REALLY SAD THE SYSTEM HAS THESE PROBLEMS, BUT HERE ARE THE NINE THINGS THAT I'VE DONE.' AND THEN YOU COME BACK HOME. IT'S GOING TO BE PRETTY HARD FOR THE DEMOCRAT TO PROUDLY SAY, 'I WANT TO STAND RIGHT HERE NEXT TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SCANDAL IN DES MOINES AND TELL YOU HOW BIG A REFORMER I AM.' AND I THINK NUSSLE IS GOING TO KEEP THEM ON DEFENSE ABOUT THAT. AGAIN, I DON'T WANT TO -- I'M NOT AN IOWAN AND I CAN'T PICK IOWA GOVERNORS, BUT MY SENSE IS JUST WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE INTEGRITY OF JIM NUSSLE'S COMMITMENT, THE ENERGY OF HIS LEADERSHIP, HE IS ONE OF THE GUYS WHO'S BEEN CONSISTENTLY FIGHTING ALL THE WAY THROUGH FOR REFORM. HE'S LIKE ME; HE HASN'T ALWAYS WON. I THINK HE'D PROBABLY TELL YOU HE'S AS FRUSTRATED AS I AM WITH SOME OF THE THINGS HE'S NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET DONE.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, LET'S SWITCH GEARS AND TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE ISSUES CONFRONTING THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW... $3 GAS. WHAT IF ANYTHING CAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DO RIGHT NOW ABOUT THAT PROBLEM?

Gingrich: WELL, LOOK, FIRST OF ALL, ALMOST EVERYTHING THEY'RE TRYING TO DO IN THE PUNISH THE BIG OIL COMPANIES, LET'S BE DEMAGOGUES, LET'S RUN IN CIRCLES TOGETHER AND INVESTIGATE ALL THIS STUFF IS PURE POLITICS. IT WILL HAVE EITHER NO EFFECT OR A NEGATIVE EFFECT. IN THE LONG RUN, I THINK YOU WANT A STRATEGY THAT DRAMATICALLY REDUCES OUR RELIANCE ON OUTSIDE OIL, PARTLY FOR NATIONAL SECURITY, PARTLY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, AND PARTLY FOR THE ECONOMY. I STRONGLY SUPPORTED AND HELPED LAUNCH THE 25 BY 25 PROJECT THAT SAYS WE CAN BE 25 PERCENT RENEWABLE FUELS BY 2025. I STRONGLY SUPPORT CONGRESSMAN NUSSLE'S BILL, WHICH HE JUST INTRODUCED, ON FOCUSING MUCH MORE ON BIOFUELS AND USING AGRICULTURE AS A SOURCE OF ENERGY PRODUCTION. BRAZIL ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK THAT THEY ARE NOW COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF THE WORLD OIL SYSTEM. FIFTY PERCENT OF BRAZIL'S TRANSPORTATION COMES FROM ETHANOL, AND THE OTHER 50 PERCENT COMES FROM DOMESTIC SOURCES. I STRONGLY FAVOR TAX CREDITS FOR HELPING PEOPLE MOVE TO VEHICLES THAT USE ALTERNATIVE FUEL AND HELPING PEOPLE MOVE TO VEHICLES THAT YOU GET BETTER MILEAGE. BUT PART OF WHERE I DIFFER FROM THE LEFT IS I LIKE TO REWARD PEOPLE FOR CHANGING THEIR BEHAVIOR, NOT PUNISH THEM. SO I WOULD LOOK AT A SERIES OF TAX CREDITS INCLUDING IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO SEE THE VERY FIRST HYDROGEN FUEL CELL CARS COME ONLINE, AND I WOULD MAKE THEM VERY, VERY DESIRABLE TO BUY. AND I WOULD MAKE IT VERY, VERY DESIRABLE FOR COMMUNITIES TO SET UP THAT KIND OF CAPABILITY. SO I THINK YOU COULD REDUCE THE AMERICAN DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL FAIRLY SIGNIFICANTLY OVER THE NEXT FIVE TO EIGHT YEARS. THAT'S NOT GOING TO SOLVE THE SUMMER, BUT I WOULD ARGUE THERE'S NOTHING POLITICIANS CAN DO. THEY COULD CONSIDER REPEALING THE GAS TAX TEMPORARILY, WHICH I THINK A LOT OF THE ROAD BUILDERS WOULD OPPOSE, BUT THAT'S WORTH CONSIDERING AS A SHORT-TERM DEVICE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SUMMER. THEY CAN CONSIDER RELEASING SOME FUEL FROM THE STRATEGIC OIL RESERVE -- PETROLEUM RESERVE. THAT MAY BE WORTH LOOKING AT AT THE MARGINS. BUT THOSE ARE MARGINAL, SHORT-TERM MANIPULATIONS. IN THE LONG RUN, YOU NEED A NATIONAL ENERGY STRATEGY THAT'S SERIOUS, AND THAT STRATEGY HAS TO MEAN MORE RELIANCE ON DOMESTIC PRODUCTION AND MORE RELIANCE ON CONSERVATION.

Glover: ONE OF THE MOST EMOTIONAL ISSUES BEING FACED IN THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW IS IN CONGRESS -- BUT IT'S ALSO BEING FOUGHT OUT IN THE PUBLIC DEBATE -- IS IMMIGRATION. AND THERE'S A DEEP, DEEP SPLIT WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ON WHAT TO DO WITH IMMIGRATION POLICY. HOW DO YOU GET PAST THAT SPLIT?

Gingrich: WELL, I HAVE TO SAY THAT THAT'S BEEN ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAS KEPT ME ON THE ROAD TALKING TO PEOPLE, BECAUSE IT STRIKES ME THAT THERE'S NO REASON TO HAVE THE SPLIT. I MEAN THIS HAS BEEN AN AMAZINGLY BADLY HANDLED ISSUE. LET ME START BY SAYING THAT I DON'T BLAME ANY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT FOR BEING HERE, BECAUSE THEY'VE BEEN ATTRACTED BY A SYSTEM THAT WAS SET UP AS INSTITUTIONAL DISHONESTY. AMERICAN BUSINESSES BRING THEM HERE, LURE THEM HERE WITH JOBS, AND THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT HAS TOTALLY FAILED TO KEEP ITS WORD, WHICH IN 1986, IN THE ACT I VOTED FOR, SAID WE WOULD SET UP A TEMPORARY WORKER PROGRAM, WE WOULD SET UP BORDER CONTROLS, AND WE WOULD ENFORCE THE SANCTIONS AGAINST EMPLOYERS WHO ARE BREAKING THE LAW. NOW, NONE OF THOSE THINGS HAPPENED. SO I THINK THE MESS WE'RE IN -- IT TOOK US TWENTY YEARS -- OR EIGHTEEN YEARS TO GET IT TO BE THIS BIG OF A MESS, AND I THINK WE NOW HAVE TO LOOK AT HOW WE CHANGE IT. ONE, I WOULD START -- AND BY THE WAY, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORTIVE OF THIS. I WOULD START FIRST WITH CONTROLLING THE BORDER. AND HILARY CLINTON HAS COME OUT FOR CONTROLLING THE BORDER. HOWARD DEAN HAS COME OUT FOR CONTROLLING THE BORDER. I THINK THE HOUSE REPUBLICANS OUGHT TO PASS A BORDER CONTROL BILL NEXT WEEK, SEND IT TO THE SENATE. BILL FRIST OUGHT TO BRING IT UP, AND LET'S SEE IF THE DEMOCRATS ACTUALLY DO WHAT THEY SAY THEY WANT TO DO.

Borg: HOW DO YOU CONTROL THE BORDER? WHAT DO YOU --

Gingrich: WELL, YOU BUILD -- YOU BUILD A FENCE WHERE YOU HAVE TO, WHICH IS PLACES LIKE SAN DIEGO. YOU USE VIRTUAL SYSTEMS LIKE OVERHEAD VEHICLES LIKE THE PREDATOR IN OPEN COUNTRY, AND YOU HAVE AN IMMEDIATE RETURN POLICY THAT IF SOMEBODY CROSSES THE BORDER, YOU PUT THEM BACK WHERE THEY CAME FROM IMMEDIATELY. YOU DON'T HAVE A CATCH AND RELEASE AND PROMISE YOU'LL SHOW UP SOMEDAY. SECOND, I STRONGLY FAVOR ENFORCING THE LAW ON EMPLOYERS WHO ARE BREAKING THE LAW. AND THE PRESIDENT OUGHT TO INSTRUCT THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE THAT THE FIRST PLACE THEY OUGHT TO SPEND ALL OF THEIR RESOURCES IS AUDITING ANYBODY WHO IS THOUGHT TO BE HIRING PEOPLE ILLEGALLY. THIRD, AN AWFUL LOT OF BUSINESSES ARE LEGALLY HIRING PEOPLE WHO ARE ILLEGAL BUT WHO SHOW UP WITH FRAUDULENT PAPERS. I WOULDN'T BLAME THE BUSINESS FOR THAT. IF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT CAN'T GET ITS ACT TOGETHER WELL ENOUGH THAT WHEN THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT GETS $6.4 BILLION LAST YEAR IN SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS FOR PEOPLE THAT DON'T EXIST AND THEY COULDN'T -- THEY DON'T HAVE ANY SYSTEM FOR CALLING AND SAYING, 'BY THE WAY, THE $7,000 YOU JUST SENT ME WAS FROM SOMEBODY WHO IS NOT LEGAL,' THAT'S THE GOVERNMENT'S FAULT.

Glover: AND SHOULD THERE BE A GUEST WORKER PROGRAM OR SOME MECHANISM FOR SOMEBODY --

Gingrich: I WOULD CREATE A -- THREE MORE PIECES. I WOULD CREATE A WORKER VISA PROGRAM. I WOULDN'T CALL IT A GUEST WORKER OR A TEMPORARY WORKER, BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW HOW LONG THEY'LL BE HERE. I THINK IT'S A LIE TO SET UP SOME SYSTEM WHICH JUST -- AT THE END OF THREE YEARS PEOPLE ARE GOING TO START CHEATING AGAIN. SO I WOULD CREATE A WORKER VISA PROGRAM THAT REQUIRED A BACKGROUND CHECK, A CONTRACT THAT SAID THAT YOU WOULD OBEY THE LAW AND PAY TAXES OR YOU COULD BE REMOVED IMMEDIATELY WITHOUT LONG COURT PROCEEDINGS. I WOULD REQUIRE A BIOMETRIC CARD THAT HAD A RETINAL SCAN. I WOULD HAVE THE CARD SYSTEM RUN BY AMERICAN EXPRESS OR MASTER CARD OR VISA, BECAUSE I DON'T THINK THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN POSSIBLY RUN AN EFFICIENT CARD PROGRAM THAT WORKS. AND I'D TIE THAT CARD PROGRAM IN JUST LIKE YOUR CREDIT CARDS ARE SO ANY EMPLOYER ANYWHERE COULD RUN IT THROUGH 24 HOURS A DAY, VERIFY THAT YOU HAVE -- YOU'RE LEGALLY HERE. HAVING DONE THAT, THERE ARE TWO MORE STEPS. I WOULD MAKE AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP CONTINGENT ON LEARNING ENGLISH AND PASSING A TEST ON AMERICAN HISTORY IN ENGLISH AND GIVING UP THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY. SO IT'S A GENUINE COMMITMENT: YOU'VE DECIDED YOU REALLY WANT TO BE AN AMERICAN; WE WELCOME YOU AS AN AMERICAN. AND LASTLY, I WOULD REQUIRE EVERYBODY WHO IS CURRENTLY HERE TO GO HOME LONG ENOUGH TO GET THEIR WORKERS CARD. NOTICE, THE LEFT WILL SAY TO YOU, 'OH, THAT'S TOO HARD BUT WE'RE GOING TO FINE THEM $2,000.' THEY CAN GO HOME AND COME BACK FOR THE AMOUNT THEY'RE GOING TO FINE THEM. BUT I THINK SYMBOLICALLY TO HAVE PEOPLE START THEIR LIFE IN AMERICA LEGALLY -- BY DOING SOMETHING LEGAL IS VERY IMPORTANT.

Glover: WHY HAS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY DROPPED THE BALL ON THIS?

Gingrich: I DON'T KNOW. I THINK IT'S ONE OF THE -- HISTORIANS WILL LOOK BACK ON THIS PARTICULAR PROBLEM AS AN AMAZING LACK OF EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP. AND YOU LOOK AT THE NUMBERS: 88 PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY WANTS TO CUT OFF ALL AID TO CITIES AND STATES THAT REFUSE TO ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAW; 90 PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY BELIEVES THAT YOU SHOULD SPEAK -- YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO READ AND WRITE AND SPEAK ENGLISH IN ORDER TO BE AN AMERICAN CITIZEN; 80 PERCENT OF IMMIGRANT FAMILIES BELIEVE THEIR CHILDREN OUGHT TO LEARN HOW TO BE AMERICAN MORE THAN LEARN ABOUT THE COUNTRY THEY CAME FROM; 80 SOMETHING PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY WANTS TO CONTROL THE BORDER FIRST. THE NUMBERS ARE STAGGERING TO ONE SIDE AS I'VE EVER SEEN, AND THE GAP BETWEEN WHERE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE AND WHERE THE WASHINGTON ELITE IS I THINK THE BIGGEST I'VE SEEN SINCE THE PANAMA CANAL FIGHT.

Yepsen: ANOTHER ISSUE IN THE EDGE OF THE NEWS, MR. SPEAKER, IS IRAN OBTAINING -- POTENTIALLY OBTAINING NUCLEAR WEAPONS. WHAT SHOULD THIS COUNTRY DO THAT WE'RE NOT DOING?

Gingrich: WELL, THE FIRST THING WE SHOULD DO IS HAVE A NATIONAL DIALOGUE LED BY AN OVAL OFFICE ADDRESS EXACTLY LIKE RONALD REAGAN OR FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, WHERE THE PRESIDENT CALMLY AND METHODICALLY LAYS OUT THE CASE FOR THE WHOLE COUNTRY IN PRIME TIME ON EVERY CHANNEL TO GET THE ENTIRE COUNTRY TO FOCUS ON THIS. AND THE PRESIDENT SHOULD CALL ON THE HOUSE AND SENATE TO HOLD SPECIAL SESSIONS OF THE ENTIRE BODY, NOT COMMITTEE HEARINGS, TO REVIEW THE EVIDENCE. I MEAN HERE -- I BELIEVE THIS IS THE MOST DANGEROUS THING WE'VE SEEN SINCE THE RISE OF ADOLF HITLER IN 1935 AND TAKING OVER THE RHINELAND. AND I SAY THAT BECAUSE HERE YOU HAVE THE DICTATOR -- HEAD OF THE CURRENT DICTATORSHIP SAYING PUBLICLY, 'I WANT TO DEFEAT THE AMERICANS AND ELIMINATE ISRAEL.' LAST WEEK HE WENT FURTHER THAN THAT AND TALKED IN LANGUAGE THAT IS SO SAVAGE THAT I PROPOSE THAT WE SHOULD MOVE TO SUSPEND IRAN FROM ITS MEMBERSHIP IN THE U.N. BECAUSE THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT IS NOW SO BLATANTLY AND OVERWHELMINGLY THREATENING ANOTHER NATION. THEY HAVE OPENLY SAID THEY NOW HAVE BROKEN THROUGH TO GETTING THE KIND OF CENTRIFUGES YOU NEED TO MAKE NUCLEAR WEAPONS. THEY HAVE IMPLIED THEY'RE GETTING AN ADVANCED PAKISTANI VERSION, WHICH IS EVEN MORE DANGEROUS. THEY CONSISTENTLY IN THEIR COMMENTS ARE WAR-LIKE AND BELLICOSE AND ARE THREATENING US, AND I THINK WE HAVE TO TAKE THIS WITH DEADLY SERIOUSNESS.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, DOES THE FACT THAT THE COUNTRY HAS HAD SUCH A BAD EXPERIENCE IN IRAQ -- WE THOUGHT THERE WAS EVIDENCE THERE FOR ACTION -- AND THE COUNTRY DOES NOT LIKE THE FACT THAT WE'RE STILL IN IRAQ, DOES THAT LIMIT THE PRESIDENT'S ABILITY TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM IN IRAN?

Gingrich: IT DOES. WELL, IT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT BY DEFINITION. THE FACT THAT IRAQ HAS BEEN HARDER THAN PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE, THE FACT THAT THE CASE THEY MADE INITIALLY FOR GOING IN WASN'T SUSTAINED WHEN THEY GOT THERE, THOSE THINGS CLEARLY MAKE IT HARDER, BUT IT DOESN'T NECESSARILY MAKE IT ANY DIFFERENT. I MEAN THE DISCUSSION -- THE DISCUSSION IN THE UNITED STATES THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE TO HAVE IS VERY SIMPLE. ARE YOU PREPARED TO LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF AN IRANIAN DICTATORSHIP, WHICH IS APPARENTLY BUYING MISSILES FROM NORTH KOREA WHICH CAN REACH EUROPE, GETTING NUCLEAR WEAPONS WHICH COULD SHOW UP IN NEW YORK OR LOS ANGELES ON A SHIP OR BE DRIVEN ACROSS THE MEXICAN BORDER, AND ARE YOU PREPARED TO LIVE WITH THAT KIND OF IRAN? AND HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK THEY'RE GOING TO THREATEN US IN THE PERSIAN GULF THE MORNING THEY HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS?

Borg: DOES THAT JUSTIFY A PREEMPTIVE STRIKE?

Gingrich: I THINK IT ABSOLUTELY JUSTIFIES REPLACING THE REGIME. I'M AGAINST A PREEMPTIVE STRIKE JUST TO DO WHAT THE ISRAELIS DID AT OSIRAQ IN 1981. THEY'LL JUST REBUILD IT. I MEAN I THINK YOU'VE EITHER GOT TO DECIDE THIS IS A REGIME YOU CAN'T LIVE WITH, AND WE BETTER HAVE -- AND I THINK THE FIRST STAGE OF THAT IS TO PASS SENATOR SANTORUM'S BILL FOR AN IRANIAN DEMOCRACY ACT TO HAVE A RADIO-FREE IRAN, A TELEVISION-FREE IRAN, TO HAVE MONEY GOING TO THE STUDENTS, MONEY GOING TO THE TRADE UNIONS. THERE WERE 1,300 CANDIDATES KNOCKED OFF THE VOTER -- THE CANDIDACY ROLLS BY THE DICTATORSHIPS. SO YOU HAVE A LIST OF PEOPLE YOU KNOW ARE UNACCEPTABLE OF THE DICTATORSHIP THAT YOU COULD BE HELPING ORGANIZE. I ALSO THINK WE SHOULD ANNOUNCE CLEARLY THAT ANY ACTS OF REPRESSION THAT HURT HUMAN BEINGS WHO ARE STRUGGLING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN WILL BE TREATED AS WAR CRIMES WHEN THE REGIME IS GONE. AND I THINK YOU BEGIN TO APPLY FIRST PSYCHOLOGICAL PRESSURE AND YOU BEGIN TO ORGANIZE PEOPLE. BUT I WOULD INDICATE -- I THINK WE SHOULD INDICATE VERY CLEARLY TO THE WORLD WE ARE NOT GOING TO ALLOW THE IRANIANS TO GET NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

Glover: WELL, THEN LET'S GO TO IRAQ. WHAT'S THE ROAD OUT OF IRAQ? WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? HOW LONG SHOULD WE BE THERE? SHOULD WE SET A DEADLINE? WHAT'S NEXT IN IRAQ?

Gingrich: WELL, THE ROAD OUT OF IRAQ IS TO DO ACTUALLY WHAT WE'RE NOW DOING. THE GREAT MISTAKE IN IRAQ WAS THE SUMMER OF 2003 WHEN THEY CHANGED STRATEGIES FOR REASONS THAT I THINK THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND. I MEAN THEY HAD A VERY CLEAR STRATEGY IN IRAQ: GO IN WITH A LIGHT FORCE; DEFEAT SADDAM; TURN THE COUNTRY BACK OVER TO THE IRAQIS; AND BE IN A POSITION, BY JULY OR AUGUST OF 2003, TO HAVE AN IRAQI INTERIM GOVERNMENT DEALING WITH ITS PROBLEM. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID IN AFGHANISTAN. IT WORKED VERY, VERY WELL IN AFGHANISTAN. AMBASSADOR KHALILZAD, WHO IS NOW FINALLY IN IRAQ, HAD ACTUALLY STARTED THE PROCESS WHEN THEY SENT AMBASSADOR BREMER, AND AMBASSADOR BREMER TOTALLY MISUNDERSTOOD THE SITUATION. AND AMBASSADOR BREMER CREATED AN AMERICAN CENTERED SYSTEM THAT COST US I THINK TWO AND A HALF YEARS TO BEGIN TO RECOVER FROM. WE'RE NOW SLOWLY RECOVERING. YOU HAVE AN IRAQI INTERIM GOVERNMENT. YOU HAVE AN IRAQI POLICE FORCE. YOU HAVE AN IRAQI MILITARY. THEY HAVE A LONG, BITTER WAR TO FIGHT. IT'S GOING TO TAKE THEM A LONG TIME TO GRIND DOWN THE ANTI-IRAQI FORCES.

Glover: IS IT A CIVIL WAR?

Gingrich: IT'S A CIVIL WAR IN THE SENSE THAT THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO USED TO RUN A DICTATORSHIP WHO RAPED AND TORTURED PEOPLE. WE HAVE 12,000 HOURS OF VIDEOTAPE OF THE IRAQI DICTATORSHIP RAPING, TORTURING, AND MURDERING PEOPLE.... 12,000 HOURS! THESE WERE VICIOUS, EVIL PEOPLE. NOW THOSE VICIOUS, EVIL PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO BE BACK IN CHARGE OF THE COUNTRY, AND THEY'RE PREPARED TO KILL ANYBODY THEY HAVE TO KILL TO GET TO BE IN CHARGE OF THE COUNTRY.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, WE'VE ONLY GOT A COUPLE MINUTES LEFT. WHERE ARE YOU ON THE QUESTION OF WHETHER DONALD RUMSFELD SHOULD REMAIN AS DEFENSE SECRETARY?

Gingrich: I THINK RUMSFELD IS CURRENTLY BEARING THE BRUNT OF -- AND IF YOU'RE THE PRESIDENT, YOU'D RATHER HAVE THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE BEAR THE BRUNT OF IT. BUT HE'S BEARING THE BRUNT OF FRUSTRATION. HE WAS EXACTLY RIGHT IN AFGHANISTAN. HE WAS EXACTLY RIGHT IN THE FIRST IRAQI CAMPAIGN. HE HAS BEEN LARGELY RIGHT ON TRANSFORMATION. OUT OF 8,500 ADMIRALS AND GENERALS ACTIVE AND RETIRED, HE'S HAD SIX SPEAK OUT PUBLICLY. HE'S ALSO HAD A NUMBER OF PEOPLE SPEAK OUT IN HIS DEFENSE AND SAY IT'S SIMPLY UNTRUE WHAT THEY'VE SAID.

Yepsen: WE'VE ONLY GOT A MINUTE LEFT. WHAT DO REPUBLICANS HAVE TO DO TO GET BACK THE MANTLE AS BEING THE PARTY OF FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY? THE DEFICIT HAS SOARED UNDER THE REPUBLICAN WATCH. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET BACK THE MANTLE OF FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY?

Gingrich: THEY HAVE TO ESTABLISH A CLEAR TRACK TO A BALANCED BUDGET. THEY HAVE TO TRANSFORM THE HEALTH SYSTEM. THEY HAVE TO CONTROL PORK BARREL SPEND. THEY HAVE TO RETHINK THE BUDGET ACT. THEY HAVE TO CREATE A RULE THAT SAYS ANY CONFERENCE REPORT SHOWS UP ON THE THOMAS SYSTEM FOR 48 HOURS SO EVERY BLOGGER IN THE COUNTRY CAN EXAMINE IT BEFORE IT COMES TO A VOTE. THEY'VE GOT TO CHANGE.

Glover: IS THERE ANY SIGN IN YOUR MIND THAT THEY'RE DOING IT, THAT THEY GET IT?

Gingrich: NO. NO. AND THE LAST TWO WEEKS HAVE BEEN VERY FRUSTRATING FOR ME BECAUSE THEY HAD EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO COME BACK FROM THE EASTER RECESS AND SAY WE REALLY DO GET IT. IN FACT, I SENSE THAT THEY HAVE NOT YET REALIZED HOW OUT OF STEP THEY ARE WITH THE COUNTRY AT LARGE.

Glover: AND HOW BAD AN OMEN IS THAT FOR NOVEMBER? IF THEY HAVEN'T GOTTEN --

Gingrich: I THINK IT'S A MODERATELY BAD OMEN. I THINK THERE IS A REAL DANGER WE'RE GOING TO LOSE SEATS IN THE HOUSE. BUT I KEEP SPEAKING OUT PUBLICLY NOW TO TRY TO GET THE LEADERSHIP IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE HOUSE AND SENATE TO CHANGE NOW, BECAUSE I THINK THERE'S PLENTY OF TIME IN THE AGE OF TELEVISION TO HAVE A VERY GOOD RECORD BY SEPTEMBER AND TO HAVE PEOPLE SAY THEY GOT THE MESSAGE AND I WANT TO REELECT HIM.

Borg: THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

Gingrich: THANK YOU.

Borg: WELL, THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' NEXT WEEK IOWA POLITICAL JOURNALISTS GATHER AT THIS TABLE. THEY'LL BE PROVIDING INSIGHTS ON THE IOWA LEGISLATIVE SESSION WHICH, WITH ANY LUCK, SHOULD BE CONCLUDED BY THAT TIME. HOPE YOU'LL WATCH NEXT WEEKEND, REGULAR AIRTIMES: 7:30 FRIDAY NIGHT; AND REBROADCAST AT 11:30 SUNDAY MORNING. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

Tags: Iowa Newt Gingrich