January 21, 2013

What Obama's inaugural address reveals about his second term

Guests: Karl Rove

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 21, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Just moments ago, President Barack Obama spokes to troops at the Commander-in-Chief Ball where he address our service men and women serving at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan, followed as you can see on the screen by the traditional dance between the president and the first lady which you are now watching live.

Now, the celebrations in D.C. for this Inauguration Day will continue all throughout the night. Now, we'll also be hearing later on this hour from Vice President Joe Biden in just a few minutes. He will also be addressing our troops tonight. So, stay with us for that.

But as the long day of festivities continue, I want to begin with an analysis of the president's inaugural address from earlier today. Because this speech in particular was very indicative of who this president is and where he wants to steer America as he now today begin his second term.

Now, I think several things can be said in regards with the address. First, it was the most partisan and divisive inaugural address in living memory. Now, there was the veneer of unity and common purpose, but it's always unity and common purpose as a means to an end. And in the end, what Obama defines is advancing his own left-wing agenda.

Now, time and time again in the speech, there were always jabs, not always direct, but always obvious, aimed at Republicans and conservatives in America. And at one point in the speech today, Obama said, quote, "We cannot make absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics or treat name-calling as reason debate."

Let me say, was he referring to name calling like Republicans are social Darwinists or members of the Flat Earth Society? You know, those guys who want the dirty air, dirty water and want kids with autism, Down syndrome, the elderly, all fending for themselves, not wanting to feed hungry children, is that the kind of name calling that he's talking about? One that charges his opponent in the 2012 election, Mitt Romney, of being responsible for the cancer death of a steelworker's wife? Is that the kind of name calling?

Well, of course not. Obama was saying that his opponents, conservatives, not him, who has destroyed civil discourse in America and who are rigid ideologues that of course in this case has things exactly backward.

And that kind of thing that has become almost second nature to this president, and that is to portray his opponents as malicious, inflexible, dogmatic. Now, there's never such a thing as an honest disagreement with Barack Obama. His opponents always need to be portrayed as evil forces in American life.

Now, one other observation from today's inaugural address, how extraordinarily liberal the speech was. More than any other inaugural address in memory, he used to speech to advance his agenda, an agenda that was addressing global warming, championing gay rights, gun control, he also wants to protect Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security from any reform even though they're going bankrupt, no matter how urgent and necessary those reforms are.

So what Obama was saying with the speech is this -- I am going to protect all the liberal beings of the last century in terms of not doing anything to deal with entitlement programs, and I'm going to try to break new ground whole new in areas, global warming, gay rights, gun control.

Now, make no mistake about it, the president was signaling to liberal supporters to prepare for the battles ahead. That means for conservatives, you got to be prepared to do so as well in order to block as best you can Obama's efforts to transform America.

And while Americans all across the country grapple with a country that's $16 trillion in debt, do you think the president today talked about generational theft, balanced budgets, living within our means, making tough decisions so America does not become Greece? Well, that's not part of transforming America.

Anyway, here with reaction is our very own Fox News contributor, the architect Karl Rove. Sir, I like the music, I like the dancing. What did you think of the speech?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Not impressed. You know, I agree with your comments in the lead-in. There was one other thing, the president kept falling back on this habit of straw man arguments of suggesting that somebody is arguing something that nobody is really arguing. For example, "No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores."

Who is suggesting one person can do this? What he's trying to say there is, you can't do it. Communities can't do it. Businesses can't do it. Groups of private individuals, private sector can't do it. We've got it give it all to Washington to do. But no one is making the argument that he was suggesting.

Here is another one. "We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing the generation that will built its future." Well, who is suggesting that? Who is saying, let's take everybody on Social Security, Medicare today, and roll them over the cliff? Now, you know, once again, a complete straw man argument.

But I'll tell you, the thing that got me most about this, Sean, was the focus, the focus, what are the issues facing America today? On this day, fewer Americans are working than were working in this country four years ago and unemployment is higher.

HANNITY: Eight point three million.

ROVE: Yes, and at the current rate of job creation, it's going to take us 26 more months just to get back to that point in 2007 when we went into the recession. And in the meantime, between 2007 and 20-- nearly 2016, or excuse me, 2015 we will have 8.6 million more Americans enter the workforce without a job to find them. We have for the first time in the history of a recovery, a decline in the amount and in the amount of the median family income.

We've had anemic growth the last four years, 0.4 percent on average over the last three years, that compares since World War II, average growth at 3.2 percent. And yet, the president could barely bring himself. All he said is we've got an economic recovery underway. And what are the great challenges facing our generation? Is to start the economy to make sure that every American has a prosperous life, a prosperous future?

No, our president said here are our generation tasks, equal pay for equal work. I thought we got that done with that, you know, Ledbetter law. You know, gay marriage, which he was against in his first campaign and during three of his first four years in office. Voting protections, you know, I think this was a veiled attack at voter ID laws. Immigration reform, which he had a chance to do when he had complete control of the Congress in 2009 and '10 and didn't bother to do, and gun control.

Now, are all of these things only going to pass only with Democrat votes in 2013 and 2014? No. He's got to get the kind of gun control legislation he's talking about or is the Congress going to validate gay marriage? I don't think so. He couldn't get climate control when he had complete control of Congress, do we now think it's going to be passed with Republicans in control of the House? No. And as a result, I think this was completely political and not focused on the big challenge the country faces, which is getting our economy going.

HANNITY: I like what our colleague Charles Krauthammer said, that this an ode to big government and that he was declaring and end Reaganism, which by the way, you pointed out in that list there. I mean, between gun control, gay marriage, global warming, it's like he not only wants to lock in every liberal agenda item, but now advance it even further.

Will he be successful? Second term is notoriously not successful.

ROVE: Yes. Look, let's add global climate warming on here, climate change. I mean, we've already passed this through the Congress. It's done. Is Congress going to pass this? Is Congress going to tell the states, no, you can't put that past voter ID laws? It might pass immigration reform but only if its bipartisan and doesn't require immediate amnesty and citizenship. Gun control going to pass? No.

I think the president was basically declaring his administration is no longer about substantive achievements. It's about positioning, about making the Democratic Party be more popular with his coalition, and try and win the 2014 elections by making the Republicans look extreme. And the Republicans had got to respond not simply by blocking the bad stuff, but by taking their strength in the House to pass positive items that pile up over in the Senate, never to be really considered, but give them an agenda, a view that says to the American people, he's over there worried about gun control. We're worried about getting jobs. He's over there worried about trying to get gay marriage, we want prosperity for your family.

HANNITY: Eight point three million Americans out of the labor force, a big number, and none of these things, debt, deficits, generational thief, not mentioned as I said. It's interesting, you had some people on the Left today comparing the speech to the Gettysburg address. Which I found it somewhat amusing. And you know, the references to the messiah, Jesus. I can't believe how caught up the media gets in these moments. it's actually comical.

But I wanted to ask you for the speech itself, I felt it was a hodgepodge of -- written by people that wanted to come up with their, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" moment. And when you write a speech that way, isn't it likely to fail?

ROVE: Well, you have to use your own words. And what they did was cribbed a lot from Abraham Lincoln. I saw at least three Lincoln speeches in there. They had -- draw from the House divided speech when they said, nation based on liberty and equality could not realize it couldn't be remain half free and half slave. That's almost cribbed word for word from the House divided speech.

The Gettysburg address showed up word for word. We have a republic, government of the people, by the people and for the people. And we had Lincoln's famous message to Congress in 1862 before the Emancipation Proclamation where he said as we think anew we must, as our case is new so must we think and act anew.

But, look, you don't become, you know, big rhetoric by simply copying the words of somebody else, you have to have a big original thought. Charles was right. This was a declaration of liberalism is back in all its glory but he couldn't bring himself to say the era of big government is over or find a memorable phrase that introduces the idea that this is all about expanding government and giving Washington more power.

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