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Oct. 23, 2015

Note: Official YouTube Video Linked Through Subheadings in Transcript

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  Senator, welcome to South Carolina.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Thank you.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  We are so honored to have you here in Lexington County, West Columbia and the Midlands of South Carolina. We appreciate you taking time to talk to the citizens of this community. I know they are very interested and excited to be hearing from you. What we're going to do is we're going to break the questions down in that topical areas. These are areas that, as Attorney General, I've had to deal with. These are areas that are going to be of great interest to many of you. We're going to start with judicial philosophy, as the first topical area. As you heard me state, just a few moments ago, that 4 supreme court justices were born in the 1930's, which means, we're going to have a bunch of 80 year olds on the court in a couple of years.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Still makes them younger than the Senate.

On Supreme Court Appointments

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  If elected President, you could appoint up to 4 justices to the Supreme Court. What type of individuals would you appoint to the court?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: That's a great question. Let's begin with this basic point, that I think often is lost. Every time we have the chance to do Supreme Court nomination, we should take the opportunity to remind people is: The Supreme Court is an appellate court, it's the highest appellate court in the country. It is not a trial court, which means it is not a trial of fact, it is a trier of law. It is supposed to apply the law. In the case of the Supreme Court, its job is to apply the Constitution of the United States to the constitutional issue before it. We need to understand that, because every time they appoint a nominee, they say, "What kind of judge will they be? What do they believe about this issue? What do they believe about that issue?" That is not the question. The fundamental question when appointing someone to the Supreme Court, and quite frankly, any appellate court, is, "What do they believe about the Constitution?" Do they believe that the Constitution is a living and breathing document, designed to adjust itself to new realities of the world, or do they believe the Constitution is a document that was written as a document of limitation? That in trying in it, limitations of the power of the federal government. That it's job, basically, is to ensure that the federal government does not intrude into the powers of the states and it's individuals. I believe the second part. I believe the Constitution is not a living and breathing document. If it is a living and breathing document, then it doesn't really mean anything. You can change it every 10 years to mean ... Statutes, the law that they pass out of Congress, that's living and breathing. You can change the law, you can change it back and forth, but you can't change the Constitution. I don't want to go to long with this, but I wanted to share this with you. I was in Utah Monday and the Governor of Utah gave me this little note that he passes around, and it's got a lot of great things in it. It says, "State's finding solutions, improving lives." As a quote from Federalist 45, here's what it says, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite." You asked me what my criteria is. My criteria is, someone, that no matter what their personal opinion is, understands that their job will be to apply the Constitution as it was written and amended. Not to manipulate it, to reach some sort of policy in they believe in. More importantly, someone who understands that the Constitution, as well, is a document of limitation, that contain within it, are enumerated powers that belong to the federal government, and everything else belongs to the states, local communities, and ultimately, US individuals.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  You just answered three questions with that one answer. That's pretty good.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: I'm very efficient.

On Judicial Philosophy

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  I was going to ask your judicial philosophy. I was going to ask you if you interpret the Constitution with its original intent, or as a living document. You answered that. Another question I wanted to ask: What are some key questions you would ask, of those individuals, with whom you would consider putting on a court, at any level?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: The important point that you raise: records. That's exactly the first thing I'd want to know, not just what they believe, but I want to see their record on their judgments. What have you done in the past that proves, that in fact, you are someone that applies the Constitution? One of the questions that I ask now, of people that are nominated and the things I'd like to know: Give me an example of a time, where perhaps, from a personal perspective, you may or may not have disagreed with the policy outcome, but you understood that that wasn't your job. Your job as a trier of law was not to determine what you thought the law should be. If you want to determine what the law should be, you've got to run for Congress or the state legislature. I want to know an example where you, as a justice, or in the case of someone, maybe as a law professor, whatever, I'm looking for evidence, that in the past, they've been confronted with a policy outcome that maybe they didn't agree with, but the law was something different, and that they had to apply it. I think that's really critical. If you look at the Supreme Court cases in the history of this country and recent history, they have gone off the tracks. They are the decisions where five justices have made up their minds, "We want to arrive at this policy. This is what we want this law to be. Our job is to figure out how to manipulate the Constitution to reach that conclusion." I want to make sure that we're not appointing people, at any level, that reach that. By the way, the lower courts are important too. That's where you're getting the Supreme Court justices. They're climbing through that process.

On Supreme Court Rulings

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  There've been a lot of controversial Supreme Court decisions over the last several years. You can choose from some of those, or you can go back much farther, let's say, the last decade. What are some Supreme Court decisions that you think are wrongly decided and why?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Clearly, we had a couple lately that I think are important. The one, obviously, upheld Obamacare. The recent one redefined marriage at the federal level. I never believed that the definition of marriage belonged on a federal level, and don't believe that there's a Constitutional right for 2 people of the same sex to get married. If that state wants to legalize that, then they go to their legislature and do it. I'll be against it. In Florida, we actually passed a Constitutional Amendment that defined marriage as one man and one woman, and the Supreme Court, basically, overturned it, with that decision. Basically wiped out the judgement of the people of Florida. The one I always look at, because it goes to an issue that isn't even political, it goes to the most fundamental issue we'll ever even talk about, life, that's Roe vs. Wade. If you look at American politics today, there's a lot of debate about the issue of abortion and life. Really, what we're just debating is restrictions on abortion. As long as Roe vs. Wade is the law of this country, via the decision, you can't ban abortion. You can restrict it, you can limit it, under certain circumstances, but you can't ban it, as long as it's the law of the land. I believe that that decision isn't just wrong morally, I believe that decision is wrong constitutionally.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  One of my favorite topical areas that we're going to move to now is, executive action. I have parenthetical right beside executive action, phone and pen.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Yeah.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  You know where I'm going with this. Phone and pen. When I first became Attorney General, I dealt with a case involving Yucca Mountain. Which many of you recall, that was an area, out west, Nevada, that was basically the nuclear depository that was agreed upon by multiple Congresses, through bipartisan resolutions. Billions of dollars were raised through fees assessed against rate payers. Billions of dollars were spent on environmental impact statements, and studies and construction, out there under the mountain, to store the nation's nuclear waste. That was unilaterally undone by an act of this President and executed by the Department of Energy. South Carolina was the 3rd highest rate payer of all the states that paid into that fund. Sadly, we got stuck with our nuclear waste, but we still paid the money. They got to keep the money. Another executive action I'm going to mention is, in November 2014, the President famously said, "I just took action to change the law." That's a quote. A phrase that White House, then qualified, as the President speaking colloquially. This is in reference to the executive order on immigration that the President ...

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Colloquially is a fancy term for the truth right?

On Executive Action

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  I'm actually reading my question straight from the way the White House said it. That it was a colloquial, it was conversational. This is an action that he took that allowed 5 million illegal immigrants to remain in the US, based on fiat. Do you believe that federal administrative agencies are required to operate, based on congressional or executive action, when the two are in conflict?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: There shouldn't be a conflict, first and foremost, because the Executive's job is to execute the law as written by Congress and passed by the people. I'm going to give you the bad news first and then the good news. The bad news is, that when I'm President, in my first few days, I'm going to have to issue a lot of executive orders. The good news is, because I'm going to be repealing the ones that Obama did. This is the best example that I can use in that regard. I believe that the tax code in the United States is too complicated and too expensive. I want Congress to lower taxes. If the President of the United States came to me and said, "I'm going to order the IRS not to collect more than 25% on corporate taxes, even though the law says 35." Even though I agree with the outcome, I would oppose that executive order, because it undermines the basis of our Republic. The job of the executive is to faithfully execute the laws of the country. What's happened is, we now have a President that says, "My ideas are so good. My ideas are so special, that I can ignore the Constitution. I can ignore the Congress. I can ignore our Republic and it's 200 and some odd year history, because my ideas are so special that the ends justify the means." What he's done is not only set a precedent, but undermined the very pillars of republic system of government. That won't happen when I'm in charge, even if the outcome isn't what I want it to be. We must protect the enduring nature of this Republic. It has to remain a nation of laws, and it's become a lawless nation, with regards to the Executive. Who, today, basically puts us into those conflicts we've just outlined. Which is, ordering executive agencies, don't worry about if Congress passed. By implementing the law, we're either going to undermine it or change it. We have a lot of executive orders to repeal on immigration, on common core, on closing Guantanamo, on environmental policies that are making America, not just a more expensive place to do business, but a more expensive place to live. We're going to be busy in the few days, on doing things like that. While it's not an executive order, we're ultimately going to undo the deal with Iraq, which directly ...

On Immigration

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  Again, you just answered several questions with one answer, that's amazing. I'm going to move on to ... I used immigration as one of my examples of executive overreach. I'm going to go ahead and just leave immigration as an area of discussion. Currently 27 states, South Carolina's one of them, that joined the Texas lawsuit, challenging the President's executive action on immigration, that is currently going on right now. What would you do to solve, or to at least address the problem with illegal immigration in the United States?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: First, understand why that's a problem, irrespective of how you feel about immigration. Let's say you're in favor of full blown amnesty, you still should be against what he did. What he's basically saying is, the law of the country says, unless you come here legally, you can't stay here. The President has ordered federal agencies not to enforce the law. That's basically what the executive order is. I've ordered them not to enforce the law on 4, 5, 6 million people. I don't know how you define that small group in an instance where the laws application might lead to an unintended consequence, but a widespread ignoring of the law. In addition to undermining our Republic, it's actually set back the cause of immigration reform, because it gives credence to the argument that, "We don't trust the federal government to enforce the law." Look, immigration for me is not something that I read about in a book, I live it. My parents were immigrants. My neighborhood, all my neighbors are immigrants or the first generation Americans. My family’s parents are immigrants. My children go to with, are children of immigrants or immigrants themselves. I know this issue personally, in it's depth. I know the good parts of it. I know people that are in this country that work 2 jobs, and will work 3 jobs if they can find it, to get ahead and leave their family better off. I know people that are wealthy, wealthy, who come to the United States and are taking advantage of Medicaid, and other benefits. They are wealthy people. Some of them own their own airplane. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly of it. Here's what I know. Every nation in the world is entitled to have immigration laws. Every nation is entitled to enforce them. We are no different. We have 3 immigration problems in America. Problem number 1, is we have 12 to 14 million people here illegally, maybe more. Problem number 2, is we have a legal immigration system that is completely broken and outdated. Problem number 3, is we still have people coming illegally, despite the fact that a million people a year immigrate to the United States permanently. We have to address all 3 of those issues. Here's how we can't do it. We will not be able to do it in one massive piece of legislation. The votes aren't there and Congress is done, and the American people have had a terrible experience with massive pieces of legislation over the last 10 to 15 years. For me, the only way forward begins by proving to the American people that illegal immigration is under control. It does require a wall in key sectors of the border. It also requires more border patrol, more cameras, more sensors and drones. It also requires a mandatory E-Verify system. It also requires an entry, exit tracking system, because over 40% of the people entering, that are here illegally, enter legally. They come on a Visa and Visa expires, and they stay. Until we do all of that and prove to people, look, here are the numbers, illegal immigration has plummeted. Until you do that, you're not going to be able to do anything else. Once you've done that, step two will be to modernize our legal immigration system. Which means this, from now on, when you come to America as an immigrant, it has to be on the basis of what can you do, what skills do you have, what business are you going to open? If we can do those two things, then I think the American people are going to be very reasonable about: What do you do with someone who's been here 20 years, who has not otherwise violated the law, because if they're a criminal they can't stay. If they haven't otherwise violated the law, they've been here 20 years, they've learned English, they're going to pay a fine, they're going to start paying taxes. I think people are going to be very reasonable about what to do in that situation. Not until you've done those other 2 things. Here's why, because people are willing to be reasonable about what we have now, but not if it's going to happen again. In essence, they're not prepared to deal with 10 million people that are here illegally, or 6 million, or 4 million, or whatever it is, if in 5 years there's going to be 5 million more, or 10 million more. That's not an unreasonable thing. Guatemala has immigration laws. Mexico has immigration laws. Canada has immigration laws. Every country in the world has immigration laws. We do too, and if we don't enforce them they're meaningless. By the way, here's my last point. I know I've gone too long, but this is an important issue. You know who all of this is really unfair to? No one ever talks about this, because they don't show up and protest events, they don't have a special interest group that's pushing for their cause. You know who this is really hurting? The people who are trying to come legally, by the millions, around the world. Whose relatives call my office and say, "You know, my uncle has paid $5,000 to lawyers and has waited 12 years. How is it fair that he's not going to be able to come in, and a person who came illegally is going to get to come illegally and stay? How is that fair?" There are millions of people around the world that are waiting to come here legally that are being disadvantaged by all of this. No one ever talks about that, and that's a legitimate part of this as well. It's not fair to them.

On the 10th Amendment

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  Good answer. Now we're going to talk about the proper role of the state and the federal government, as they relate to one another. This is basically federalism and the 10th Amendment. I'll just take one second, put on my law school professor hat. When I talk to young children about the Constitution, this is what I say. "So, you've got the Constitution. It's the handbook of how we do business. How we govern ourselves in this country. You've got Article 1 that says, 'Okay executive branch, these are the rules that you have to follow, these are your rules and duties, this is what you can do.' Legislative branch, Article 2, this is your power, this is what you're allowed to do, under the rule book. Then, Article 3, judges, judicial branch, this is what you're allowed to do. Flip to the back of the book, the amendments. Go to Amendment number 10. Amendment 10 says, 'Anything not listed in the handbook, nor prohibited by the handbook, is left to the states.' It's very simple." My question, for you, Senator, how do your interpretations of the 10th Amendment shape your policy views and plans, as President of the United States?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: I think one of the things this country's in desperate need of is, a President that explains to the American people, look, every issue before our country, does not have a federal government solution. I get asked a lot, "What are you going to do about K-12 education? Our education system is not very good." My answer is, "Trust me, you don't want the federal government running your K-12 system." You want the states in charge of that, you want the school boards in charge of that. Because, if you have a problem, you can go to your school board and complain, you can go to your state legislator and complain. I promise you, you do not want to have to go to the Department of Education, in Washington, and complain. That's an example. The federal government is a very limited government. We need a President that's willing to say, "American people, look, the federal government is not supposed to be involved in everything." There are some issues that don't even have a government solution. The ones that do, most of the government solutions lie at the local and state level, where you can make decisions as a community, and you can vote people out and they're closer to you. The federal government is supposed to do a few things and do them well, like keep our country safe. That, the federal government must do. That's why defense spending and defense issues are so important to me. It is a fundamental obligation of the federal government. We can't have 50 separate Armies. We have 1 Army, 1 Air force, 1 Marine Corp, and their job is to protect our country. 1 Navy, I don't want to leave the Navy out. Coast Guard. National Guard. Air National Guard. My point is, we only have one armed forces in this country. That's a fundamental obligation of the federal government. Foreign relations, dealing with neighbors in other countries, that's a fundamental obligation of the federal government. The majority of governmental functions belong at the state and local level.  That's why I've argued that energy regulations, many of them should be at the state and local level. K-12, at the state and local level. All sorts of policies belong there, because you get better policy ... I'm biased, right. I was a state legislator, Speaker of the House in Florida for a couple years. I have that to compare to 4 years in the Senate. The state is a lot more responsive, and a lot more innovative than the federal government could ever be. My notion is, the federal government is supposed to be the most limited form of government. I think today, we've got it backwards in both parties, not just the Democratic Party. That's seeped into the Republican Party too. We don't have to have a federal response for everything.

On the Federal Gov’t and the States

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  I heard Governor Haley say that the biggest problem she has as governor is the relationship she has with the federal government. As Attorney General, I'll go ahead and echo that. I work great with both parties of the state, law enforcement, a lot of the issues we're dealing with, here in South Carolina. It's that state, federal dynamic that we really struggle with, because we do feel like they are constantly running over into our back yard, when we fell they should stay in their yard. As President, how do you improve the federal government's working relationship with the states? What can you do?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: First, that's one of the advantages that I think I would bring to the office, is that I have deep respect for the state level, because I served in it for almost 8 years, or over 8 years, as the Speaker of the House, as a state legislator. I have that to compare. We had an idea, at the local level, you know where it came from? More often than not, it came from somebody that called us on the phone or walked into our district office and said, "I've got this issue and I want you to help us solve it." From a person, real, we did a lot of that. At the federal level, you get very little of it. It's largely driven by the party narrative or the national media narrative. I also believe that local and state level is a lot more innovative. Let me give you a great example of one of the things I've proposed. We have anti-poverty programs in this country, we spend a lot of money on them. They do not cure poverty. Our anti-poverty programs, to me, would be like breaking your leg and going to the doctor, and being told, "Here's a lifetime supply of pain killers." You're like, "Whoa, you're not going to fix my leg?" "No, we're just going to make you more comfortable with your broken leg." That's what our anti-poverty programs are. They don't cure poverty. My approach is, let's take the anti-poverty money and let's turn it over to the states, and let the states design, in conjunction with the local communities, design creative ways to help people stuck in poverty, to emerge from that poverty. Every community has different details about it that might be causing the poverty. One community, it might be, the town manufacturing plant, that's been around for 30 years, closed down, and that's what's causing the poverty. Another community, it might be, people trapped in generational poverty. Another community it might be transportation or it might be housing. We have a one size fits all model that doesn't work. When you propose that, people say, "We can't trust the states, because some states might not care about poor people." Well, if they don't, then they people can vote them out of office. That's what we need, to have more of that creativity given back to the states, so that they can design programs. Whether it's Medicaid, whether it's an anti-poverty program, whether it's in education, empower the states to find innovative solutions to the real world problems, the real people, in the 21st century.

On the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  I want to go to a specific agency, one that I've had a lot of opportunity to work, I won't say work with, but work on, and that's the EPA. Some of my AG colleagues refer to that as the Eliminate Prosperity Agency, because they really seek to rule through administrative fiat.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: The Employment Prevention Agency.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  The Employment Prevention, Eliminate Prosperity, I like them both. 111D, is a regulation that's currently being batted around out there. Its greenhouse gas emission reduction standards that they're basically doing through regulatory fiat, as opposed to, through the congressional processes, the legislative branch. Another is Waters of the US. I don't know how many ... Well, we all know something about water here in South Carolina. The waterways. In all seriousness, you know, the federal government's trying to pass a regulation right now, that would expand the scope of what the federal government can regulate, when it comes to the water of the US. Water of the US, its definition is an amicable water. I think, the Mississippi River, intercostal waterways, things like that.

            This would expand the definition of Waters of the US to include ditches, ditches that are filled with water a couple of months out of the year, a couple weeks out of the year, during the rainy season. Even if they're dry the other 11 months out of the year, if they're filled with water, even for that small period of time, that is a Waters of the US. If you have a business or a piece of private property that you want to build on, if this is implemented, and currently it has been stayed by the 6th Circuit, if you want to build on it, you would have to get federal permits, not state permits, but federal permits. It really is a grab of private ownership of your property. My question, basically is, how would you balance the need to protect a livable environment, which we all care about, how would you balance that with the realty of the cost of regulations that come out of the federal government?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: That's a great question. I take it, by how you described it, you're not for it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  I'm just a moderator.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: That's a great question. I don't know any of us who wants to live in a country where the water is poison or the air is unbreathable. There is a role for government regulation. For example, landing gear on a plane, and that the person flying it has a license. But, what happens when it goes too far? What happens when they just start making it up? For example, in this instance, this is a law they can't get passed. They can't get it passed through Congress, so they figured out a innovative way to use the agency and an implementation of an existing law, or in rule making authority, to instead, implement it in a different way. That's what this is an example of. One of the things I've called for is a regulatory budget, because regulations cost money. They impose, they cost on economy. You're in an industry, you name the industry, and I regulate you. It will cost you money to comply. You either have to buy a new piece of equipment, you have to hire lawyers, you have to do both. I propose a regulatory budget, which would cap, it would lower the amount regulations can cost on our economy and it would cap how much regulations, at the federal level, could cost our economy. That's your budget. Next year, the EPA tries to write a new rule that costs a billion dollars to implement and comply, they're going to have to cut a billion dollars of regulations somewhere else, to get under that capped amount. What that would do, it would force the cost/benefit analysis. Because they're capped, they can't just keep writing regulations without limit. They're budgeted. They would now be forced to undertake a cost/benefit analysis. They would have to weigh the benefit of the new regulation with the cost associated with it. It's not perfect, but it would help limit a lot of this growth and regulation. In fact, it would reduce a lot of existing regulations and limit its future growth. The second thing is, you do have to have a President that will appoint people to the EPA or to other agencies, that don't view it as their mission to do this sort of thing. They're an executive branch agency. What you need is a Chief Executive and a President that sets the tone. Our job in our agencies is to keep the American people safe, but not to create barriers, not to create obstacles to prosperity. Don't make businesses feel like we don't want you to be in America, unless you can overcome all these hurdles and hoops. Here's the last point I would make about how crazy this has gotten. We have now reached the point, where there are now instances, where you cannot get a permit. In order to comply with the regulations of this agency, you have to violate the regulations of another agency. They're in conflict with each other and they ... They're trying to build a natural gas pipeline in Florida, 6 separate agencies have to review that. There is a very real possibility, in order to comply with permits from 3 of them, they're going to have to violate the requirements of the other three. This is how crazy it's gotten. I think the regulatory budget, in combination with the right executive leadership, brings a lot of this under control.

On ObamaCare

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  Twice, I was part of 2 different lawsuits to stop the unconstitutional implementation of Obamacare. With 26 other states were one of those. The second one was that the Supreme Court just handed down this past year. I'm going to ask you a very hard question. One I've thought a lot about. As President, do you repeal Obamacare, and if so, what do you replace it with?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: We do repeal Obamacare, and one of the concerns I have is that there's an effort underway now, in Congress, by good people, and they're doing what is best, but they're trying to repeal Obamacare through reconciliation, but only portions of it, not the entirety of it. I think that's a mistake. I don't think there's any piece of Obamacare ... I think it needs to be repealed and replaced, and here's what you replace it with. You replace it with a law that empowers people to make healthcare decisions. Here's how. You say to every American, "From now on, you control your own pre-tax healthcare money." If your employer gives you $600 a month to buy health insurance, you don't pay taxes on that money. You control how you spend it. If you’re self-employed and you want to give yourself the money, you don't make a lot of money on the tax credit, but now every American would have access to pre-tax insurance, health plan. You can use it for a combination of different ways. You can use it to fund a health savings account, to pay out of pocket. If you're young, and then buy a catastrophic, hospitalization plan, or you can use it to buy health insurance, and you can buy it from any company in America, in any state in American, across state lines, that will sell you a plan that you like. What's going to be the impact of that? Here's going to be the impact of that. The impact of that is going to be what you see now, to some respect, in the auto insurance industry. Turn on the television, every ad is for Liberty Mutual, Geico, State Farm, Allstate, The General, Prudential, Progressive, who am I missing, Aflac. Why are there so many auto insurance companies, and why are they all advertising to you? Because, you control your auto insurance. They're competing against each other, so you will buy their product instead of someone else's product. How do they compete? By offering you what? Better quality at a lower price. If we can create a vibrant, private insurance market, in American, where instead of trying to impress a big company or trying to impress the government, they're trying to get you to decide to buy them, they're going to lower prices and their going to improve quality to try and get your business. That's what we need, a vibrant, private insurance market, where every American has access to pre-tax health insurance money that they can use to buy the kind of insurance they want, from any company they want, from any state in the country. That's a lot better than what we have right now with Obamacare.

On Dodd-Frank

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  Another major law that you may of heard about. A lot of people don't think about this, probably the way I do, but it's Dodd-Frank. Anybody ever heard of that one? Dodd-Frank, basically is to the financial industry, what Obamacare was to the health care and health insurance industry. It basically centralized the regulation of the financial industry in Washington DC, by unelected bureaucrats. The problem with this is, it's a 2300 page bill that I cannot find a mention or a regulatory prohibition on Fanny or Freddie, which were the 2 primary entities that caused the meltdown in 2008, which led to the creation of Dodd-Frank. Another problem with Dodd-Frank is that it basically created another federal government agency, called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but basically regulates all financial goods and services. The intent of this, by those who created it, is to protect you, the consumer. The thing is, they gave the executive branch limited authority to remove the people in there, and they cut off the purse strings from Congress. Also, what it does, is it creates regulatory burdens on small banks, because for every 10 dollars that they give you, they have to keep a dollar in reserves. For every dollar that they have to spend on a regulation, compliance, pay a lawyer, or regulatory compliance officer, that's 10 less dollars they can give a young couple for a home loan, or student loan, or small business loan. I was against Dodd-Frank, not because of what people intended it to do, but because of what it actually does. My question to you, Senator, is, how would you work to ensure lines of credit remain on Main Street, to real hardworking Americans?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: First of all, Dodd-Frank is still, it's a massive piece of legislation. In essence, it authorizes regulatory agencies to write a bunch of rules, that even, to this day, some of the experts in America don't fully understand how they're going to work, and they're still writing on some of these rules. This complexity alone is a problem, and here's why. First of all, there's a reason why, today, the big banks are bigger than they've ever been. The big banks are bigger than they've ever been, and here's the reason why. They can afford to deal with all this complexity. If you're a big company or a big bank, and they hit you with 1000, 2000 pages of new regulations, you have the lawyers on staff, and if not, you'll hire them to help you navigate all this, to your advantage. In essence, helps you, because you're the only ones who can. Here's who can't navigate all this, the community bank, the local community bank, the local bank, the small scale development bank, in essence the banks that lend money to small business. The banks that say, "Look, I lend you money, because while you might not be able to get this kind of loan from a big bank, I know this community, I know you, I know your business model, and we're going to take a risk. We think it's a risk that makes sense, because that's what we do. Our job as a community bank is to help finance the community." Those banks are scared to death, because they're getting hit with a lot of the same regulations, but they don't have 1000 people in their compliance department. They may have 1 or 2, and now they may have to hire 4 or 5. They get scared and they hold back. For that reason alone, just the complexity of it, is enough reason to repeal it. The second reason is, the rules are so unclear and so nebulous, that once again, the small entities are scared of them. They're afraid to violate it, to be fined, or put in jail, or put out of business if they violate it. The big banks have no such concern. We could go on and on. One more thing about Dodd-Frank that's very concerning. For the first time ever, it actually creates a category of banks that are basically too big to fail. It is now a seal that you get from the government that defines you as a too big to fail bank. Some people say, "Well that's good, because now we know who they are." Let me tell you why that's bad. After TARP was passed, the message that was sent out is, "If you're too small to matter, you're on your own, but if you're too big to fail, if things really go wrong, at the end of the day, government's going to bail you out. We can't let you fail. You're too big to fail." Believe it or not, these banks, this is a huge strategic advantage for them, because their argument is, we're too big to fail. That's not a slight for us that is sending a message to America and the world, that these banks, if they ever get in trouble, the government's going to bail them out. It basically creates a permanent TARP fund, as a part of it. For all these reasons, this law has done nothing to deal with the causes of the debt. I'm sorry, the causes of the meltdown. The causes of the meltdown were the monetary policy of the Fed, the regulators that had no idea what's going on and laws that required banks to make bad loans, beginning in 1999 and 2000. They were basically told, you must lend money, even if the people who are borrowing can't pay it back, because we want to see a certain number of people own homes. These are the causes of the housing meltdown, especially the Fed. This law does nothing about any of that.

On the NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD (NLRB)

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  Now, let's talk about National Labor Relations Board and Right to Work. South Carolina's a very pro Right to Work state. I got to become a subject matter expert, my first year in office, with the LRB. For those of you, for a lot of young people, for some high schoolers in here, you probably already know this, but basically, with South Carolina, you can go to work and you don't have to join a union to go to work. In other states, where they don't have Right to Work laws, the only way you can have a job is if you join a membership of a union. Some are for that and some are against that. The whole point of Right to Work is, you should not be compelled to join something you don't believe in, in order to go to work, to make a living to support your family. We're the 2nd least unionized state in the country. I'm giving you that as a heads up for your answer. What are your views on Right to Work? How would those views impact your appointments to the NLRB? No pressure.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Yeah. First of all, Florida is also a Right to Work state, and it's obviously worked well for Florida. That's exactly right, and the point you make is exactly right. If someone works at a firm and they like the work conditions at this place, and they're paid well and they're compensated well, and the benefits are good, and they don't want a union, why should they be forced, by law, to have to join. In fact, in many cases it's a pay cut, because now you to getting those union dues, are automatically deducted from your paycheck. In essence, you're paying someone to join an organization that you see no need for. That's the first part of it. The second part of it, is the NLRB, today, acts basically, as an impediment for America, because labor costs, that are added to some of the conditions that they impose on employers, has forced many employers to look overseas, to move operations overseas. You know, we have a chance to have a manufacturing renaissance in this country. In many ways, South Carolina's leading the way. We want to be an economy. We don't just want to be an economy that invents things, we do want to be an economy that invents things, but we want to be an economy that does things. We also want to be an economy that builds things. One of the real impediments of having a manufacturing renaissance in this country, is some of the things that the NLRB is [different 00:36:44], across the nation. We will have appointees that understand this reality. We certainly want to protect workers, and one of the best way to protect workers, is to have a competitive and vibrant, private economy, where they have choices about where they go to work. Where, they don't like the way they're being treated when they are working over here, there are 5 other firms that would love to have them, that would pay them more and treat them better. That is the best way to help workers, is to provide them skills and the vibrant economy, the options to go work wherever it is they feel best for them. That's the best way to help them, not joining the NLRB, that is hyperactive.

On the Second Amendment

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  The Second Amendment reads, "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." In your view, is the Second amendment bestow individual rights or the rights of the militia?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: It's an individual right. There's no doubt about that in my mind. Here's the other point that I make. Not just are these laws that they often propose for gun control, not only do these laws violate the Constitution, they actually don't work. If you look in this country at the jurisdictions, and across the land, with the strictest gun laws, some of them happen to have the worst gun violence. One of the reasons is, because criminals don't care what the law is. By definition, they violate the law. That's why they are a criminal. If you pass a gun law that says, you cannot do this. I'm a law abiding citizen, I'm going to follow the law, but a criminal does not. Gun laws almost guarantee that criminals will have guns, but law abiding people will not. If you look at some of the recent and horrifying tragedies that have been in the news, this state has been impacted by it, and other places as well, some of these laws that they propose, that spend all their time talking about, would have done nothing to prevent them. I think we need to spend more time talking about why our people committing acts of violence, not what they're using to commit it. There was a horrifying incident in California Tuesday. One of the young men that carried out that heroic act in Paris, that saved lives on that train, was almost stabbed to death in a bar fight afterwards. I don't hear anybody calling for knife control. The reason is, we spend all this time talking about the instrument being used, and not what's behind it. What's behind it is a combination of things. One is a mental health issue, in this country, that needs to be confronted. The other is, maybe culture that somehow is leading to violence. It goes back to the basic point, that I've made repeatedly, there is no more important organization in society that the family and community. If that breaks down, this country. In this nation, we are facing the consequences of mental illness, but we're also facing the consequences of the degradation of the American family and of the institutions that support the American family, instilling values like, hard work, self-respect, respect for others, common decency. These are values that no one is born with. No one is born with values, they have to be taught to you and they have to be reinforced. If you undermine the family and the institutions that teach and reinforce those values, you're going to have a country that suffers for it.

On Religious Liberty

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  I'd like to move to religious liberty. We are, after all, are right next door to a church, it's appropriate that we venture into those waters. There was no pun intended there by the way.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Be careful, the reference to waters, you're going to get regulated by the EPA.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  I know. I'm now a Water of the US. Kind of like downtown Columbia, right, what we've been through. This summer's Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage has created many more questions regarding the role of government, in whether or not a person can exercise their personal, religious convictions in the workplace. Everyone that I speak to believes that gay couples should be treated fairly, under the law and with dignity. There is a great deal of concern, that the government, in effort to protect our gay citizens, will overstep and punish people, with personal, religious convictions in the workplace. As President, what would you do to protect religious liberties?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: We need to start reminding people of this. Religious liberty in American is not just the right to believe whatever you want. You have a right, it is true. In America, you have people who worship trees, people who worship themselves, basically. You have the right to believe anything you want or nothing at all. You have that right. This is not just a right to believe, that's what they get wrong sometimes. It's not just the right to believe anything, it's the right to exercise your faith. In the exercise of your faith, for example, those who share the Christian faith, the exercise of our faith calls us to live our faith in every aspect of our life. It doesn't call us to be just a Christian on Sunday, but on Monday and through Friday and Saturday, boy, you can go out and do whatever you want. It doesn't say that. It says, you're called to live out your faith in every aspect of your life. You're basically taught, no matter what your job is, you are in essence, doing it for God. You're told, if you're President of the United States or janitor at the local elementary school, all that you do, do it for the glory of God, do it to honor him. You're called for your faith to influence every aspect of your life. That, obviously, carries over into the private sector. You do have individuals, for example, that run a business model, let's say it's a private, Christian school, that tries to instill values into their children, and they have a right to insist that the people that work at the school, live by those values. Otherwise, it undermines what they're trying to teach. The concern is that, at some point, a government authority can say, "You can't do that. You must hire people, even if they're in violation of what you're teaching. You must hire them. Otherwise, you're going to be fined, sued, and you're going to be labelled discriminators."That is a legitimate concern. You can see that trend line, where it's moving. It is a legitimate concern, that we should be concerned about [inaudible 00:42:55]. As a society, we need to talk about it, but as President, I will have the Department of Justice and a Attorney General, that will be vigilant about the religious liberties of every single American, not to just believe what they want, but to exercise their faith in every aspect of their lives.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  Senator, a hypothetical. Do you believe that churches should be able to maintain their tax exempt status, if they refuse to hold a same sex wedding?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Absolutely. In fact, what you're basically arguing at that point is, you actually are now dealing with the theology of the church. You're basically telling them, if you don't teach what we want you to teach, we consider it hate speech. I've actually said this before. There are those, I'm not saying this is a mainstream thought process here, but there are those that basically define some of the basic tenets of Christianity as hate speech. If you extrapolate what they're saying and continue to expand it, in their mind, that's the argument they can make, and some actually openly make it, in other countries around the world. It is a deep concern. No religious institution should be losing their exemption to the IRS code because of their theology, which has been around for 2000 years, in the case of Christianity.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  You would work to accommodate those people in the private sector, to the degree that you could, public sector, if you have a religious conviction, you would seek to accommodate those convictions.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: The laws of the United States should never be used to force someone to violate their conscience.

On GITMO

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  This should be a quick question, because I think you addressed it towards the beginning, but I at least make sure I check the box. This relates to terrorism and GITMO, to could be terrorists at GITMO, or in Charleston, South Carolina. Well, just go ahead and say what you think about that.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: On my first day in office, I will put a stop to any effort, not just to close GITMO, but to continue to transfer prisoners here or anywhere else in the world. We need to have a place in the world, where we can take dangerous terrorists and interrogate them, and capture from them, information that we can use to capture other terrorists and to prevent terrorist attacks from happening. We also need to take them off the battlefield. Many of these individuals that have been released from GITMO to other countries, have rejoined the fight against the United States of America and against the peace of the world. We cannot continue to do this. Not only will we leave GITMO open and not transfer people here, but we need to be capturing more terrorists, so we can gather actual intelligence on what they plan to.

On Law Enforcement

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  All right, I want to talk about law enforcement. There's been a lot in the media this year, and as the Chief Prosecutor in South Carolina, as Attorney General, I have the privilege of working with some of the finest men and women you will ever encounter. Those men and women who, basically with no personal regard to their safety, they run towards the bullets, not away from them. They put their community and the citizens of that community above their very own safety. In the last few years we've seen some horrific examples of police brutality in the African-American community, some have held up, Fort Charleston as an example. That community did question whether or not they are being treated fairly in the criminal justice system. We have also seen many heroic examples of law enforcement sacrifice. I personally attended a funeral 2 weeks ago of a slain officer, here in Columbia. I know firsthand that the actions of a few bad actors can tarnish the badges of countless men and women that selflessly place themselves in harm’s way every day to protect their communities. As President of the United States, what could you do to help increase public confidence in law enforcement, in all communities?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Let me first say, this is one of those issues that, primarily, is being resolved at the local and state level, because these police departments don't work for the federal government. Your own home state senator, Tim Scott, has proposed funding, so that global jurisdictions that are interested in doing it buy body cameras. I'm not against that, because that actually helps prosecute people too, because it will capture some of this and can prove things in court, and it protects the officers from unfair accusations as well. I want to acknowledge two, and these are both important, let me acknowledge the first one. It is a fact, that in this country, in minority communities, in primarily the African-American community, in some parts of this country, there is not a good relationship between the community and law enforcement, for a variety of reasons. That is a fact. There are communities in this country where that exists. We cannot ignore it, it is a reality. I know people who feel this way. The fact that so many of our citizens feel this way makes it an issue that we need to talk about. There are reasons for it. A young male gets in trouble with the law at 18 years of age, he's arrested, he's assigned a public defender, a public defender who has a thousand other cases says, "Just plead guilty. Get this out of the way, you get six months probation, you're all free and clear." They don't tell them, this is on your record for the rest of your life, now no one is going to hire you. Now you're going to be stigmatized and so forth. Suddenly, people begin to become stigmatized, they fall into this trap, it goes from there. I know people who feel like they've been targeted. They've been pulled over numerous times in a given year, for no reason. It undermines confidence and credibility. That is a legitimate issue, we cannot ignore it. Here's what I also know. I also know that every single day, while my kids are asleep at home, and I'm traveling the country running for President, there are men and women in uniform, patrolling the streets that are the last things standing between my family and a dangerous criminal. If my family gets into a problem or something goes wrong, the first thing we're going to do is call them. They are willing to come to my house and potentially die, to prevent my family from being harmed. We can't forget that either. We can't forget that yes, we've had some horrible tragedies in this country, and they need to be confronted, and those underlying issues that exist between law enforcement and local communities has to be addressed. We can't have such a large segment of our population feeling as if they're being locked out or left behind. This is a legitimate issue. It robs us of its human capitalism, the talents of these individuals. We also cannot forget that every single day that there are mothers, and fathers, and husbands and wives, that put on that uniform and that badge, and they are the thin blue line that stands between us and really dangerous people, who don't just seek to steal our property, but who are willing to kill us and harm us and do terrible things. They have a right to go home to their families as well. They have a right to have our support and our safety. As President, when there are horrible tragedies around this country, and someone is treated unfairly by law enforcement, or something happens, we're going to acknowledge that, but you're also going to see a President that's going to be showing up at the funerals of men and women that lose their lives in protection of our communities. You're also going to have a President that acknowledges that every single day and night our men and women that are serving us in law enforcement in this country are interacting with some of the most dangerous people imaginable, so that you and I don't have to. We're not going to put them in a position where they're being singled out or stigmatized or disrespected. The overwhelming majority of people in law enforcement, I mean, the overwhelming majority, are people that care about their community and care about the service they provide, and I said, their lives are valuable and their service to our country is valuable too.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: We're in the last few moment of this forum, I've covered all the topical areas, but I want to just take a moment. I have a few closing remarks and Senator, I want to give you the final word for people out here in the audience and for those watching. First, I want to say that this event was originally planned for 2 weeks ago, when we had a horrible flooding in Columbia and throughout the state, and I want to thank your campaign, because we had to cancel that and because your campaign as well as the folks at the Conservative Leadership Project, and I want to take focus off of the people who were suffering and are still suffering, and many who will be suffering for a long time to come. Let's keep those out there, who are less fortunate, in our thoughts and our prayers. I know we will do, South Carolina is so good at embracing people in hard times. We've done that so much this year. I want to thank your campaign personally, for being able to come back and reschedule this event. I don't personally know who grueling it is to run for President, but I imagine it's pretty grueling.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: You may now know this, but we're going to be in South Carolina.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  That's right.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  Senator, I do have one follow up question. This is off script, but it's one of probably of greatest importance. The people out here are going to really going to hang on every word. I know you're from Florida, you're a Florida Gator, so I think we sort of know your thoughts on Steve Spurrier, was it right or wrong? I'm kidding you don't have to answer that question. You are welcome to comment on Spurrier if you want.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: He was a great Gator coach and a great Gator player.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  Well I got him speechless ladies and gentlemen.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: We're going to beat Georgia in 2 weeks, does that one count?

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON:  Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank each and every one of you for being here this evening. I want to thank Brookland Baptist Church, Pastor Jackson, your folks. I want to thank the staff at the Conservative Leadership Project, who's back in the doorway, for all of this, putting it together. Senator Rubio, I want to thank you and your staff for doing what I just said you did, for rescheduling, coming back here to talk with these people, at length, about issues that are so important to all of us, and are going to be important for a generation. We really appreciate you. We know you will come back a lot. We look forward to that and we welcome you to South Carolina as often as possible. I would encourage you to look around ... Welcome, Marco Rubio. My little name is up there too. If you want to follow on Twitter or social media, CLPforums, is our website for this project. We film these forums. We want you to be educated and if the Senator said something and you want to go back later, it's going to be posted on the website, so you can watch this event in its entirety. Also, register for the CLP updates, so you know when we're going to other events. We certainly want to keep you educated and informed. I also want to thank the CLP staff. You see a lot of red shirts running around here. When this event closes, I want you all to come up to the stage to get your picture with Senator Rubio. That's very important. I was a young person volunteering once and these young people done a wonderful job supporting.