May 31st, 2015
02:54 PM ET

Gov Pataki on SOTU: "I think he [Rand Paul] is wrong... I don't understand why if it's going to happen on Wednesday or Thursday he doesn't allow it to happen today..."

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, 2016 presidential candidate, former Gov. George Pataki (R-NY), joined chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto to discuss the Congressional reauthorization of the USA Freedom Act, Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster of the reauthorization of key provisions, sending US troops to fight against ISIS, Pataki’s candidacy for the 2016 presidential race and presidential debate rules.

Text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Former Gov. Pataki on the late negotiations of the USA Freedom Act – and Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster: “… it's just to me totally wrong that a filibuster would be used to create this void in our security at a time when we are at risk. And I honestly think, Jim, we are at as great a risk today as we have been at any time since September 11th of another terrorist attack. So, I hope they can get it done today.  By the way, I think they should reauthorize the Patriot Act. I think Senator King's comments about how the alternative - the House pass doesn't require the private sector to hold those phone records and without them we are at greater risk than we are today.”

Former Gov. Pataki on debate rules being the debate rules:  “Now Jim, the rules are what the rules are. Whether it's fair or not, you abide by the rules. And I'm not going to let it bother me one way or the other. It's August of 2015, whether I'm in the debate, not in the debate, I'm going to continue to make the case to the American people that my whole life has prepared me for this moment. I know I can lead this country. I know I have the vision. I know I have the background and experience. And if I'm in the debate, great. If I'm not in the debate, great. It's not where you start. It's where you finish.”

Former Gov. Pataki responds to former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s comment about the presidency not being “passed back and forth by you between two royal families”: “Well, sure. Obviously you don't pass it on to a family. You have to go earn it. And I'm a fan of Jeb Bush. I know if he decides to run he's not going to run because it a legacy thing but because he has a record of his own and he's fighting to get there. … I know I'm starting close if not at the bottom now but you fight the fight. You have a vision that Americans can believe in. You work harder than others. You talk about a record which I'm very proud of. And at the end that's what it matters where you are at the end.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: This week George Pataki became the eighth official GOP contender for 2016. His announcement came in New Hampshire, a friendly state for moderate Republicans.

Governor Pataki joins me now from New York. Governor, thanks very much for joining us on Sunday.

GEORGE PATAKI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good being on with you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: I want to start if I can with the news of the day because key provisions of the Patriot Act are due to expire today. We just had Senators Mike Lee and Angus King on who said it's possible though they believe that they have the votes - that these powers will be suspended perhaps for a period of days - two or three days.

You were governor of New York during the 9/11 attacks.

PATAKI: Mm-hmm.

SCIUTTO: Does that put the U.S. at risk of terror attacks?

PATAKI: It certainly does. And it's just to me totally wrong that a filibuster would be used to create this void in our security at a time when we are at risk. And I honestly think, Jim, we are at as great a risk today as we have been at any time since September 11th of another terrorist attack. So, I hope they can get it done today.

By the way, I think they should reauthorize the Patriot Act. I think Senator King's comments about how the alternative - the House pass doesn't require the private sector to hold those phone records and without them we are at greater risk than we are today.

SCIUTTO: Senator Rand Paul one of your opponents, you mentioned a filibuster there, putting the country at risk, he's the man behind it - leading the way on this. Do you believe that he is fit to be commander in chief in light of the position?

PATAKI: Well, I think he is wrong on this position where he is going to buy himself block reauthorization of the creation of new authority to protect us and provide our intelligence we need to protect us in these dangerous times.

So, I think he is wrong. I don't understand why if it's going to happen on Wednesday or Thursday he doesn't allow it to happen today.

It is simply putting Americans at risk for a political reason. I think it's wrong and I think it's unfortunate.

SCIUTTO: I want to move to the fight against ISIS. The fight against ISIS is not going well. The map virtually unchanged in a number of months. You've had the key loss of Ramadi - other areas in just in the last couple of weeks.

You have said repeatedly that American forces need to be put on the ground there to fight there so that you don't have to fight a group like this at home. I wonder if you could describe to our viewers how far would you go. How many troops are you talking about? A large ground force? Are you talking about military advisers? What exactly do you think is necessary to turn the tide?

PATAKI: Jim, what I said is, if necessary. We should not rule out using American forces to take out the recruiting centers, their training centers, their planning hubs where they are actively working to attack us here.

I would do a number of things first. First, I would provide actual arms and assistance and training to groups like the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Sunni Anbar sheikhs who are on our side. Right now we don't do that. All of our aid goes through Baghdad and most of it doesn't get to those fighting ISIS on the ground.

I would also put American troops as advisers and as observers on the front line working with the Kurds, working with Baghdadis and with the Sunni to help them overcome ISIS' ability. I would greatly expand the air attacks on those save havens, on those centers using whatever intelligence we could get, which is obviously critical.

But if all else fails, then to prevent them from having these centers where they are organizing to attack us here in America I would use American forces. It wouldn't be a trillion dollars, hundreds of thousands of troops, a 10-year war to nation willed. It would be a quick strike, destroy their operations and then move out and continue to support those other forces, those local forces fighting ISIS on the ground.

SCIUTTO: But let me ask you this, the U.S. has been training, advising, assisting and arming the Iraqi army for more than 10 years, $25 billion. That army has dissolved in effect with ISIS' advance in Mosul and in Ramadi. What gives you confidence that if you do more of that it's going to turn the tide without a significant U.S. presence on the ground?

PATAKI: You know, I think what we have to do is not just to help the Iraqi army but as I was saying put advisers and greater troops and support with the Kurds. Put advisers and support and weaponry with the Sunni who are on our side. And yes, have advisers with the Iraqi army, the Baghdadi army with them so that instead of having Iranians guiding them they will have Americans guiding them. And they will have the confidence that we are at their side.

Jim, let me make one point. I have two sons. My older son after college was a marine lieutenant in Iraq for a year. My younger son after college became a lieutenant in the 10th Mountain Division and just got back from Afghanistan in September. I know what it's like to lie awake as a parent worrying about your child. I don't want us to put one young person in harm's way unless it's absolutely necessary, but I saw September 11th, I know ISIS wants to do it again anywhere here in America. We cannot let that happen.

SCIUTTO: I want to turn back to the political race here.

I want to play you something that a new Democratic presidential candidate, Martin O'Malley, said this week. Have a quick listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARTIN O'MALLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you, between two royal families.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: He's of course referring to the Bushes and the Clintons. I wonder if you agree with his assessment.

PATAKI: Well, sure. Obviously you don't pass it on to a family. You have to go earn it.

And I'm a fan of Jeb Bush. I know if he decides to run he's not going to run because it a legacy thing but because he has a record of his own and he's fighting to get there.

But I have to tell you my background is so different growing up on a small town in upstate New York. And my father couldn't speak English when I - when he went to the first grade and I had to work in a factory over Christmas and summer vacations. And I think that's the American way where - one of the things that excites me about this race is that pretty much everything I've done I've started at the bottom and been able to finish at the top.

I know I'm starting close if not at the bottom now but you fight the fight. You have a vision that Americans can believe in. You work harder than others. You talk about a record which I'm very proud of. And at the end that's what it matters where you are at the end.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you think because the first Republican debate is going to be in August 6th, and "Fox News" the debate sponsor had said, only the top 10 candidates based on opinion polls will be able to participate.

Do you think that's a fair rule?

PATAKI: Now Jim, the rules are what the rules are. Whether it's fair or not, you abide by the rules.

And I'm not going to let it bother me one way or the other. It's August of 2015, whether I'm in the debate, not in the debate, I'm going to continue to make the case to the American people that my whole life has prepared me for this moment. I know I can lead this country.

I know I have the vision. I know I have the background and experience. And if I'm in the debate, great. If I'm not in the debate, great. It's not where you start. It's where you finish.

SCIUTTO: Well Governor Pataki, we wish you the best. Thanks very much for joining us on this Sunday.

PATAKI: Thank you, Jim. Good being on with you.

END INTERVIEW


Topics: CNN • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union
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