Meet the Press | March 04, 2012
>>> house speaker , newt gingrich . mr. speaker, welcome back to the program.
>> david , it's good to be with you.
>> i want to talk about the campaign and the numbers i just went through with chuck todd . i have to ask you about access to contraception. i know it's not at the core of your stump speech , but it's a debate highly charged in washington and congress --
>> no, no.
>> but, it s. mr. speaker. let me take you through the conversation with rush limbaugh , and something he now apologized for. let me play it.
>> what does it say about the college coed, susan fluke that goes before the congressional committee and says she must be paid to have sex. what does that make her? it makes her a slut, right? a prostitute? she wants to be paid to have sex.
>> limbaugh issued an apology yesterday which many may not know about, and he said in this instance i choes the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. i did not mean a personal attack on ms. fluke. how much damage has this done?
>> david , i am astonished at the desperation of the elite media, to avoid gast rising gas prices , and to avoid a trillion-dollar deficit and to avoid the longest period of unemployment since the great depression, and suddenly decide that rush limbaugh is the great national crisis of this week. there's no debate about access to contraception. there's a debate, which one cardinal pointed out, as a war against the catholic church . do you have a weird situation where president obama apologize to islamic extremist , while waging war against the catholic church , and ythat's something i don't find any reporter wants to talk about. you have a president -- if you want to have a dialogue about this david , let's set the record straight . barack obama , as a state senator, voted to allow doctors to kill babies if they survive t abortion. that's the most radical move made by a --
>> mr. speaker.
>> wait a second. let me finish.
>> they say they would have to give up every single hospital and every single university and college associated with the church, because he is asking them to violate their religious beliefs . if you want to debate over whether or not the president of the united states should be able to impose his views on a religious institution as to whether america is now a secular country, let's have that debate.
>> do you think it was harmful that -- was it appropriate for him to apologize or do you think he's done damage to the debate you are now getting into?
>> okay. i think it was appropriate for rush to apologize and i am glad he apologized. do you think the president owes an apology to all the men and women in uniform who he abandon abandoned?
>> i will get to my question --
>> i am happy to get into that discussion.
>> my question is you want the other side to appreciate your view, which is that this is a religious liberty question at the heart of this access to contraception. can you appreciate the view of those that disagree with you that this is an attack on women's rights, that's their reproductive rights and access to contraception and some sort of war on women, do you appreciate that view at all?
>> wait. wait. nobody is blocking anybody from having access to contraception. nobody. the young lady who testified can get access to contraception. nobody said they couldn't. the question is who the ohio christian university , which is a institution that is being told they will have to pay for abortion pills. should they be dictated to over whether or not it can be its own religious beliefs , or have we become a country where we can go to church for one hour, but don't express those beliefs for the rest of the week, and it's not about access to contraception. people who want to can get access to contraception every day. that young lady can get access to contraception. it's a question about whether or not a religious affiliated institution can be coerced by the government.
>> you don't like the framing of it, but the fact that it gets raised, it will get you animated and it will energize a lot of voters on both sides of the aisle?
>> i don't like the framing because it was false. that young lady has access to contraception. what the question is, is should a religious affiliated institution be required to provide abortion pills or stashlization. remember, the obama rule was more than just contraception. by the way, mitt romney was on the wrong side of the issue in massachusetts where he instructed the catholic hospitals would be required to issue abortion pills against their religious beliefs . this is a very serious fundamental right against religious freedom .
>> fair enough. let's go to the state of your campaign. if you don't win georgia can you keep going?
>> look, i thought it was vital to the campaign and we focused on it and as a result despite a lot of money spent against me, we are doing very well and i think we will windy i decisively. i thought frankly, as i said it earlier about romney in michigan and santorum in pennsylvania, very hard for one of the major candidates to not carry their home state and continue to move forward. so we thought it was very important. we feel very good about it. i will be back again tomorrow night and on tuesday morning, and i will be at the next county chamber of commerce . we worked hard to make sure we can carry georgia , and all the polls indicate we will carry georgia .
>> as long as you are in the race and santorum is in the race, the anti-romney candidate is splitting up those votes. what is your case about why santorum should give up the fight and why he is in your view not an electable candidate?
>> he can run as long as he wants to. we had this dialogue a month and a half ago. i keep coming back. i have twice been the frontrunner in the national polls, and with the gasoline, and i think we're coming back again for a third time. but, rick has every right to run. i think outside of industrial states , having been a very big union senator, having voted against the right to work and having voted for david which costs billions in order to prop up the unions, santorum has a harder time when he gets outside the industrial states . but in a sense he and i represent two parts of conservatism. i am much more willing to do things like having personal social security savings accounts for young people and talking about the kind of solutions we need for being able to produce oil and gas and be independent of the middle east , and we have different approaches to how we represent conservatism.
>> and i want to talk about iran and something president obama spoke out about in an interview, and this is a portion of the interview. he said i think the israeli government recognizes, i am a president of the united states that don't bluff. but they recognize when the united states says it's acceptable for them to have that we mean what we say.
>> i can't tell, because i can never tell from this particular president what, you know, what's the next step. the sanctions process has not worked. we have had three years of talking. i think we have to recognize that. this is a dictatorship that we had a chance to affect a couple years ago and did nothing. i don't know what the president will do or say. my view is that an israeli prime minister could not possibly allow the iranians to acquire nuclear weapons . israel is such a small country and compact in population. no israeli prime minister could accept that risk. the fact is they should be told they are not going to of nuclear weapons , and i think the iranians do not believe him and that's why -- all the iranian facilities are being dug underground and designed to withstand a bombing campaign, and that's a very bad sign.
>> a few seconds left, and given how hard fought this primary campaign has been so far, if mitt romney is the eventual nominee, do you think it's possible for him to ignite the republican party ?
>> whoever the nominee is, and we discussed this a little bit when we were all three together yesterday, and whoever the nominee is, we will work together to defeat barack obama , period. people should not be confused about that. the re-election of barack obama is such a disaster to the future of the country i think you will find the republican candidates come firmly together behind the nominee.
>> we will leave it there. thank you.
>> thank you.