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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Paul Ryan on energy, polls and foreign policy

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HH: Starting this hour with Congressman Paul Ryan, the next vice president of the United States. Congressman Ryan, welcome back.

PR: Hey, what’s going on, Hugh? How are you doing?

HH: I’m great. I know you were in Colorado today. You were in Ohio yesterday, though, not in Warren.

PR: Yeah.

HH: I hope you get back to Warren and to the original Hot Dog Shoppe, and all the other great places.

PR: Great place.

HH: Well, I wanted to focus on Ohio with you, and Colorado and Virginia to a lesser extent, and their energy policies, Congressman, particularly the Marcellus and the Utica shale formations.

PR: Right.

HH: These are the future of Ohio. And the President is going to put out new regs, his senior environmental assistant, Heather Zichal said so in December. Those are almost certainly going to kill fracking. What’s Romney/Ryan going to do about fracking, and about the energy production issue?

PR: So the Obama administration has ten governing agencies, four executive offices involved in regulating fracking. We are going to streamline this, because we want to open up fracking. We want to open up these resources so we can create jobs and get this energy. We have a lot of energy in this country. We’re going to use this energy. In particular, with regulation for fracking, we want to get the states to do it. We think that the states are better suited to do this. That’s part of our very comprehensive plan that Mitt Romney and I put out on how to get America energy independent, North America energy independent by 2020. And a key part of that is use our resources. That’s not just shale, but also coal. And there’s a lot of coal in Ohio as well, especially in Virginia and West Virginia and Pennsylvania. We lost 1,200 coal jobs in coal country just a week ago, in due part because the Obama administration’s hostility toward this. So it doesn’t take a big stretch of the mind, Hugh, to know that the President wants this kind of energy to be really expensive. I mean, that’s the whole goal of his national energy tax of cap and trade in the first place. And so he couldn’t get cap and trade passed through the front door of Congress, so now he’s doing it through the back door of regulations. And this is just another chapter in that story of his hostility toward American energy, toward oil and gas and coal.

HH: So when you got through…

PR: We believe in an all…what’s that?

HH: When you go through a place like Ohio, and you’re talking to people on the street, when I was just back there in August, and I go fairly frequently, they’re very excited about it. It’s transforming Trumbull and Mahoning Counties and Central Ohio. They’ve got the first steel manufacturing new plant to open in 50 years opened last year. And it’s revolutionary. But this fracking stuff can shut it down. Are people aware that the President is, you know, when he talks about energy independence, it’s just blowing smoke given his record?

PR: Yeah, I mean, he even uses our word, our phrase, all of the above. Actually, it’s not all of the above. And so you know what’s interesting is we can see a window into this incredible jobs explosion, because when you look at private land, like in North Dakota, they’ve got the lowest unemployment rate in the country. It is a boon. Incomes are going up, wages are going up, jobs are being created. It’s giving them revenues to fix their infrastructure. It’s a boom. And the problem is, the President wants to regulate these things in such a way that it becomes virtually impossible. He’s shutting off access to federal lands, to the Outer Continental Shelf. And so we have before us this new kind of technology we didn’t even have a decade ago that is right under our feet. It’s our energy, in our country, that makes us less dependent on foreign oil. And it will be a boon to manufacturing, lots of jobs, lower prices, more revenues, helps us close the deficit. It’s a great, it’s a great asset that’s right before us. But if you believe in the hostility towards carbon-based energy, if you believe in raising the price of carbon-based energy, which is the goal of cap and trade, then you’re going to regulate this thing the way he is.

HH: Now Congressman Ryan, if they put these regs out in the interim, they say they’re coming in December, do you expect a Romney/Ryan administration would revoke them?

PR: Yeah, so we see this, there’s a long list of things that we’re going to revoke and do differently. And those are published rules, so you remember those rules aren’t finalized until…

HH: Right.

PR: …you know, months later. Our goal is to reverse this hostility toward shale, toward oil and gas and coal, and get this stuff turned back on, to get these jobs created, and to turn the Keystone Pipeline back on. We’re really worried that the Canadians might throw in the towel on America, and then just ship it to China. And so we’ve got, first things first, right on day one, we’ve got a lot of work to do to open up these natural resources, so that we can use them to bring that oil from Canada into our country, to build that pipeline, to build refineries. We need to streamline regulations. Go to our website. Mitt has put up a very comprehensive policy on there about specifically how we’ll deal with this, how we’re invoke states’ rights so Ohio can regulate the shale exploration in Ohio.

HH: Now this is key to the Buckeye State, so I’m curious. There are polls out today from Quinnipiac, and the other one’s from Marist. They are saying that you, Romney and Ryan, are way behind in Ohio. I think they’re nonsense, given their turnout model. What do you think of those polls?

PR: Well, yeah, you can analyze these things those ways. I’ve heard the turnout model issue as well. The poll that matters is November 6th, and what President Obama is doing, he’s been outspending us I think something like two to one or three to one in Ohio. He’s just trying to trash Mitt Romney. I mean, look, President Obama cannot run on his record, so he’s just going to try and trash Mitt Romney and win this thing by default. He’s going to distort, he’s going to divide this country, he’s going to distort his record, Mitt Romney’s record, to try and win this thing on default. We are not going to fall for that. We are not going to fall for the President’s straw men arguments. We’re not going to fall for a president, you know, who I’ve never seen such a politician so skilled at striking heroic poses against imaginary adversaries. That’s what he’s basically doing with all these make believe straw men arguments. Mitt Romney and I are going to give the country a very clear choice. And that very clear choice is if you want a real recovery, by getting back to economic growth, individual freedom, free enterprise, we are going to do that.

HH: Now it seems to me, Congressman, they have given up on the senior scare to a certain extent, that you’ve gotten the message across…

PR: Yeah.

HH: …that if you’re 55 or older, nothing is changing. Is that your perception, that they stopped trying to win that argument, in fact, they don’t want to have that argument with you?

PR: They don’t want to have the argument, because they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. They raided Medicare to pay for Obamacare. They have a new board of bureaucrats that will begin cutting benefits to seniors, which leads to rationed care. So they know if they go back into this debate, they’re culpable, and seniors begin to pay attention to what Medicare, how it’s damaged by Obamacare. So I think on that exchange, we’ve got the public educated. We’re going through and educating the public on these other things. And so what Mitt and I are going to do is offer the country very clear solutions how to get this country back on track by reapplying our founding principles, what are our ideas on jobs, on energy, on education, on trade, on cutting the budget, balancing the budget, reforming entitlements, reforming the tax code, getting the regulatory system cleaned up to get economic growth. We’re going to be offering them that choice so they can choose the opportunity society that America has been, the upward mobility society of economic growth and limited government and prosperity, strong national defense, peace through strength, or we can do four more years of what Obama has offered, which is going to end up with a welfare state and a debt crisis.

HH: Now Congressman, yesterday the President went to the United Nations, and this is part of what he said. It’s in context, and I want to play 17 seconds of his speech.

BO: The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.

HH: Now Congressman, when he said specifically this…

BO: The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

HH: …I thought to myself immediately that’s what’s going to be excerpted on Al Jazeera, and played on jihadist websites.

PR: Right.

HH: What does that mean, because slander in some circles means rebuking or disagreeing, or in any way doubting the creed? And so what was the President trying to say?

PR: Well, you know, I look at the broader context of his speech, and he basically said the challenge that we have are Iran, Syria and the Middle East peace process. And in every one of these cases, everything’s gotten worse since he became president. So I think he’s trying to speak to everybody in every way. But if you look at the result of his foreign policy, Iran is four years closer to a nuclear weapon, you’ve got 20,000 Syrians who have been slaughtered by the hands of this dictator, peace in the region’s further out of reach. By his own measure, you know, he is doing far worse. He’s been an abject failure. And so perhaps these are going to be distractions from the fact that these things that he measures himself by, he has failed. What I get out of this is America needs to be strong and resolute in discussing and projecting our values. We should not be equivocal on this thing.

HH: Is the President being honest with us on Benghazi?

PR: Well, he needs to talk to his own people. I mean, his own counterterrorism director, his own State Department, his own press secretary have said this was a premeditated terrorist attack, and he’s not even said that. So I think the President has more of a challenge just talking to his own people about this.

HH: Okay, last question, Congressman.

PR: We’ll dig to the bottom of this, and that’s what Congressional hearings and all these things are all about.

HH: You’re going back to Ohio, Virginia and Colorado? Is that, plus Florida, the four places you’re going to spend the most time?

PR: Absolutely. I’m going to hang up the phone and go to Colorado Springs right now.

HH: All right.

PR: And then I’m going to swing over to the places. We’re going to spend a lot of time there.

HH: Paul Ryan, great to talk to you again, Congressman. We’ll catch back up with you on the road.

End of interview.


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