No. We absolutely should not. We can't do that. We can't negotiate with terrorists. I understand this I was the United States Attorney for seven years in New Jersey, fought against terrorism, appointed right before September 11th. We just encourage those folks by doing that, we can't do it.
Jack Heath: Governor, it maybe the message, it may be that Republicans aren't great communicators like Democrats but entitlement reform is a tough subject. We know that some of the most popular programs, Medicare, Disability with Social Security, they're basically going insolvent or will be broke, they'll go under soon. To tell the Americans they have to give something up, a program they may like and not want to give up or see cut is a tough message. How do you win an election for President and tell the truth on entitlement reform?
First off, you have to have a concrete plan. You can't just speak in generalities in vague generalities to folks. 71 percent of federal spending right now is between entitlements and debt service. When the American people hear that they understand that what we're doing is we're mortgaging away not only our children's future but also killing those programs. So we need to tell them the truth. We need to tell them that the, we're living now much longer and much better quality of life. That's a blessing. So we need to increase the retirement age over a period of time. I've said two years over the next 25 years. We need to tell them that for those who are most fortunate, and I heard, just heard Lindsey say this, you know, we need to say to those folks, if you've done very well in this country then we need you to not take a Social Security check. Those are things that Americans are willing to hear. The problem is us. We underestimate the American people, they've always risen to challenges especially challenges that promise them a better future for their children and grandchildren. It's not the American people who are failing the entitlement system. It's the leaders of our country who are failing the American people by not telling them the truth.
Jack Heath: Governor, I want to ask you quickly. Two groups, very important to me, one is Veterans in New Hampshire, we have one of the highest populations per capita of veterans in, in America. We do not have a full-time VA Hospital. Should every state have a full-time VA Hospital?
No, what what should happen, in my view, is that every veteran should be kept a promise that was given to them, which is they should be able to take their veteran's card and go to any healthcare provider in any hospital in America and get treatment when they ask for it. They shouldn't have to wait on a VA line. If they want to go to a VA hospital, that's great. Good for them. But if they wanna go someplace else, we should keep that promise to our veterans. And we're not keeping that promise right now because of the incompetence of this administration. So let's get the VA to do what they need to do, which is to provide healthcare to our folks through the card to any healthcare provider and let the American public step up to the plate like we want to. To honor our veterans by giving them the healthcare that they've been promised.
Jack Heath: The Governor of New Hampshire, the mayor of the state's largest city have called the heroin crisis now one of the biggest crisis facing New Hampshire here. One of the folks working here tonight asked me pretty passionately if I would ask one of you this tonight. Her daughter recently passed away to a heroin overdose. She is now trying to do some good with it. She wants to know why there's not rehabilitation in prison, why there's not more help for these addicts versus just arresting them when they have to turn to prostitution or breaking into a family member's home or car just to get more money to support their habit? Why are we falling down on the heroin crisis?
There should be. And there is in New Jersey. We're the first state in the country to say for the first time, non-violent drug offenders, no more prison. They're going to mandatory in-patient drug treatment because this is a disease. And the war on drugs has been a failure, well intentioned but a failure. We're looking at this as a moral failing by people. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone in this audience has made a mistake. There but for the grace of God go I for those people who have been stricken with the disease of drug and alcohol addiction. And what we need to do is to reach out as a public and embrace those people and say, if you're not a violent offender, if you're not dealing drugs to our children, then we need to get you treatment rather than prison. And the fact is that this can happen to anyone. People think that this is somehow guided by socio-economic or educational standards. It's not. Anyone, anyone can have this happen to them. And what we need is to have a country and we need to have a President who is gonna stand up and say this is a disease and we need to fix it.
Jack Heath: Thank you, Governor.
Q = Jack Heath
A = Chris Christie
U = Unidentified Speaker
(INAUDIBLE) = Areas that could not be heard due to background noise, tape/phone line quality, muffled speaking, etc.