Central Oregon

Walden talks of 'common ground' on MSNBC

Of GOP: 'We have to learn from our losses'

WASHINGTON - Rep. Greg Walden, newly elected to the top House Republican political position, talked Friday on MSNBC about efforts to find common ground in budget talks and the need for the GOP to "learn from our losses" and project a positive message.

Here's the full transcript of Walden's appearance, as provided by his office:

LUKE RUSSERT: Joining me now, Republican Congressman from Oregon, the newly elected chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Greg Walden. Thank you for being with us.

The big fiscal meeting at the White House, obviously you're close with Speaker Boehner. Do you think there's any hope that from today we could get an idea of a central blueprint, they're all going to try to work around, the central blueprint compromise for the fiscal cliff?

GREG WALDEN: It would be nice to come out with a framework to reach a solution to the nation's problems. I don't think anybody expects the president after being re-elected to suddenly retreat from his principles, and I can't imagine they would expect Republicans to retreat from theirs. In the middle we can find mutual agreement and I think common ground. The nation wants it. They expect it. They deserve it. That's what they elect us to do. Hopefully this will be the beginning of finding some solutions to enormous problems we face.

LUKE RUSSERT: It's interesting in terms of common ground because some of your colleagues re-elected really do believe that they were sent to Washington to continue to fight. They have the last few years. From Utah, Jason Chaffetz said this. I want to play it and get your reaction:

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Pretty much every Republican Congressman -- so would you be fine doing a compromise you would go against your signature on that pledge?

CHAFFETZ: I do not intend to do that. I want to fight for the principles I believe in. I, too, was elected.

LUKE RUSSERT: You hear, I, too, was elected. Almost saying that it's the equivalent of the President being re-elected. Is that going to be a problem in terms of trying to get a grand bargain?

GREG WALDEN: Well, Luke, as I said, I don't think anybody would expect the president to run away from his principles or Republicans newly elected to the House to jettison their principals. In between that, though, if it's about trying to get government back to where we can afford it, generate revenues by creating new jobs and closing loopholes in the tax code, there would be a piece of it.

I think we can find common ground. We get hung up on what somebody says here or there and saying if you don't abandon your principles then there's no solution, I think that's the wrong course of action.

Let's get a framework in place. See what we can do to find common ground and get to an answer here. It won't be easy but if the problems were easy they would have been resolved long ago. If we get hung up over saying, 'Oh, you have to abandon your principles, Mr. President, or Republicans, you have to abandon yours,' and then we're going nowhere. I think that's a cul-de-sac, a dead end street.

LUKE RUSSERT: Pacific Northwest pragmatism there. Question for you, as NRCC chairman, one of your chief responsibilities is the recruitment of members to run in 2014. You guys obviously if you look at the demographics of the country took a real shellacking. How intense are the recruitment efforts going to be from you to try to get folks that look more like America and not be as white as the Republican Party is?

GREG WALDEN: You know, one of the ironies of this election outcome — at least right now — some of our Latino members, some of our women members and perhaps an African-American member which is kind of ironic.

Look, we have to do better. We know that. We have to learn from our losses. Republicans have the second largest majority we have had since World War II. We're coming off the biggest. So we have a message that works.

Look at the census data, though, and tell me today with poverty rates shooting up even higher among Latinos and Asians that somehow what the Democrats have offered has worked for them.

And, you know, the best thing we can do is run on our economic platform. It's about creating jobs, it's about lifting people out of poverty and, yes, we're going to reach out and do a better job communicating that message. Mistakes made, we're going to learn from them, do better.

 LUKE RUSSERT: Mitt Romney said in a conference call to his financial chairs, the reason he lost the presidency is the president was giving gifts to those groups. Do you agree with that statement and does that help in recruitment of folks?

GREG WALDEN: Look, my view is I've never seen a person in political life get in trouble for what they did not say. And I'm going to leave it at that. It's best to talk about the positive things.

I'm proud of our agenda about trying to grow jobs and about trying to get America back on its feet and working again, and we need to reach out to all voters, all Americans, and tell them we're the party of hope and opportunity, of gobs and growth, and about getting the government to be responsive and not just overbearing. So that's what we're getting.

LUKE RUSSERT: Greg Walden, new NRCC chairman. Be well.

 GREG WALDEN: Thanks, Luke, you too.

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