July 29, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul fires back at Gov. Chris Christie

Guests: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 29, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight, the battle to defund the president's health care overhaul is getting ugly. And in a moment, Senator Rand Paul will be here to take us behind the scenes of that fight that is even dividing some Republicans.

But first, late last week the chief outspoken executive of New Jersey Chris Christie put himself back in the limelight by criticizing libertarians, including one of his GOP colleagues. Let's take a look.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: This strain of libertarianism that is going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought.

And as the governor now of a state that lost the second most people on 9/11 behind the state in New York, and still seeing those families, John -- I love all of these esoteric debates that people are getting in.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Senator Rand Paul, for example?

CHRISTIE: Listen, you can name any number of people who have engaged in it. He's one of them. I mean, these esoteric intellectual debates -- I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won't.


HANNITY: And joining me now with his response to this and much more, the man himself, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Senator, welcome back. Good to see you.

SEN. RAND PAUL , R-KY.: Good evening.

HANNITY: All right. Your reaction to that?

PAUL: Well, you know, I think it's not very smart. He may have heard that, you know, the Republican Party is on life support in the Northeast. Republicans are in danger of becoming an endangered species. So, it's not real smart for Republicans to be attacking Republicans.

But I would remind him that I think what is dangerous in our country is to forget that we have a Bill of Rights, to forget about privacy, to give up on all of our liberty to say, we're going to catch terrorism but you have to live in a police state.

And it's really, I think, kind of sad and cheap that he would use the cloak of 9/11 victims and say, oh, I'm the only one who cares about these victims. Hogwash. If he cared about protecting this country, maybe he wouldn't be in this give me, give me, give me all of the money you have in Washington or don't have, and he would be a little more fiscally responsive and know that the way we defend our country, the way we have enough money for national defense, is by being frugal and not by saying give me, give me, give me all the time.

HANNITY: All right. I think you just ratcheted up the battle among libertarians in the New Jersey governor.

Let me go -- I think specifically, what he was referring to is your criticism of the NSA. Now, I support the Patriot Act and data mining, but the Patriot Act Jim Sensenbrenner who wrote that bill did not include what happened with the NSA. So, there is a distinction, is there not?

PAUL: Well, you're exactly right. And we fought the American Revolution over the fact that we didn't want a warrant to apply to millions of people. The Fourth Amendment says it has to be a specific person, a place, and you have to name the items and you have to go to a judge and you'd have to say there's probable cause.

And here's the thing. I'm all for getting terrorists. I'm all for -- if I were the judge, absolutely, say yes. Get the records. But I'm for spying on terrorists. I'm not for spying on every American.

And so people like the governor who are, I guess, flippant about privacy, flippant about the fourth amendment and flippant about the Bill of Rights, they do an injustice to our soldiers. Our soldiers are laying their lives on the line for the Bill of Rights. So, if we're not going to stand up for the Bill of Rights, we're going to say at all costs, we don't care about liberty, then I think it's really a mistake and we've gone too far.

HANNITY: Does the Patriot Act, as Jim Sensenbrenner, the author, says, prohibit exactly what was going on with the NSA? Doesn't it specifically prohibit what they were caught doing?

PAUL: Yes. Senator Wyden has been saying this for three years. They are secretly interpreting the Patriot Act to mean something that even the authors of the Patriot Act said it did not intend to do. The Patriot Act does allow them to look at some records but it still is supposed to be individualized. It's not supposed to be millions of Americans with one warrant. That is not what the Fourth Amendment intended. It's also not even what the Patriot Act intended.

HANNITY: All right. Let's go to the issue that you, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, I think, have come up with a great idea. Instead of symbolic votes, repealing ObamaCare, you are suggesting? Explain.

PAUL: Everywhere I go, people say, defund ObamaCare and so that's where I am. Let's don't spend money on something that's going to be a failure. That's going to bankrupt state governments, that's going to cause people's insurance premiums to rise and really I think could destroy one of the great valuable things we have in our country, which is modern health care in our country that's been better than anyplace in the world. I'm afraid of destroying that.

Even the president now says he's not going to institute half of it, the employer mandate. Let's delay all of it until these people figure out what they are doing.

HANNITY: OK. But the point is, why are some, I guess, establishment guys saying, oh, this is terrible, you can't win this debate, not a great idea politically. What is your response to that?

PAUL: It's sort of like announcing preemptive surrender. We don't have control the government, we don't control the Senate and the presidency, but we do control the House. We should utilize the leverage of the house to pass things we think are good and we should stay the course until the Democrats and the president compromise. We won't get everything we want, but if we announce from the beginning, oh, we're afraid of our shadow and we're never going to, you know, push Democrats to try to come to the table, then I think, in essence, we announce our surrender.

So by all of these Republicans coming out and criticizing Mike Lee and others, they have sort of announced surrender so they have defeated the strategy of using the leverage to try to get rid of some of the funding for some of the most egregious parts of ObamaCare.

HANNITY: OK. Let's say you fund the rest of the government and the House funds the rest of the government except for ObamaCare. And then the president, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, shut the government down but every other part of the government that you fund. What should the reaction -- how should -- politically, how should the Republicans position that considering they are going to be blamed?

PAUL: Well, the thing is, the Republicans have already announced there's going to be a shutdown of government. Myself, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, we're not arguing to shut down the government, we're arguing to defund ObamaCare. But the Republicans that are announcing surrender, they have already taken the next leap. They are saying, oh, you want to shut down government. No, we don't.

We want to defund ObamaCare. We want to defund a disastrous program that is going to bankrupt state governments, is going to bankrupt the individuals, is going to cause them to lose insurance and is going to really hurt precisely the people you want to help, the working class people who are working hourly jobs at McDonald's or Burger King or doing the service industry, we are afraid they are going to loss hours and become part-time workers as people discover how expensive insurance is going to be.

We are standing up for what we believe in, and we want to use the leverage of the people who voted for us to try to get reform in government. I don't see how anybody could criticize that.

HANNITY: I would argue that, didn't most Republicans run on repealing ObamaCare? Isn't this really the only chance you have to do so? And what do you say to those Republicans who don't -- who are afraid to do it?

PAUL: Well, that's what I get when I go home. People say, well, aren't you going to at least try? I can't guarantee victory. I can't guarantee that the Democrats would accept this. They probably won't. But why don't we push back and say what we want? We were elected to represent the people who said defund ObamaCare. So, I think we should represent them.

HANNITY: All right. Senator, good to see you. Appreciate you being with us.

PAUL: Thank you.

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